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Copyright, 1898, by Harper & Brothers. 


The measure is English heroic verse without rime, as that of 
Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin — rime 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 lame metre; graced indeed since by the use of some 
famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their 
own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things 
otherwise, and for the most part worse, than else they would have 
expressed them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian 
and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rime both in longer 
and shorter works, as have also long since our best English trage- 
dies, 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 rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it 
may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be 
esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty re- 
covered to herblc poem from the troublesome and modern bondage 
of rimine. 


I HAVE believed it worth while to take time and pains 
to understand Milton. Not that his natural science, his 
political theories, or his theological ideas are always to be 
accepted ; in the case of so ardent a controversialist this 
would be too much to demand. The asperities that grew 
out of the intense convictions of an age of contest are 
scarcely proper subjects for review in an age of laxity and 
tolerance. I have not usually thought it important to 
brmg his ideas before the bar of orthodoxy, or to say 
whether I agree with them or not. To subject the poet of 
the seventeenth century to a test of the knowledge and 
belief of the nineteenth would be neither profitable nor fair. 

But Milton is one of the world's great minds. It is ele- 
vating to have intercourse with him and to follow his 
thought. Even in his partisanship — if to such indepen- 
dent and positive convictions as his that term can be ap- 
plied — he is great. In carefulness and self-consistency he 
can give lessons to every living writer. He appears to 
best advantage when compared with other men of admit- 
ted power. Alongside of Homer he seems a kindred spirit. 
Bacon's interpretation of the ancient myths are puerile in 
comparison with his. His insight into the Sacred Script- 
ures often shames trained theologians. That his cele- 
brated epic, the Paradise Lost, is even now but poorly un- 
derstood is evidence of his superiority. 

The views here presented are not the outcome of any 
preconceived theory. The poem is far other than I sup- 
posed at the beginning. The interpretations of parts of 
t'le Bible and of Homer would never have occurred to me 
^^ithout the poet's guidance ; they were outside of my 
fringe of thought. For ordinary allegory, like the rest of 
tliis generation, I have little taste; but the forms of 


thought into which the greatest minds have agreed to cast 
the world's highest wisdom have more permanency than 
the phantasmagoria of the common allegorist, and the 
development of these forms has been a constant delight. 
Starting with phrases, comparisons, characters, and othe. 
hints, by-and-by I found the limits and meaning of inde 
pendent scenes. The task, at first doubtful and difficult 
grew in ease and certainty with the progress of the work. 
The larger conclusions, especially the largest, though 
placed as if they preceded their proof, are the last re- 
sults of my study. This inductive process from the par- 
ticular to the general, led me to many a genuine surprise. 

For the sake of clearness and an easier grasp of points 
that are novel, I have sometimes divided into severa' 
notes what might otherwise have been condensed into one. 
The same reason will account for a few repetitions. Not^s 
of no great intrinsic value are often useful to show hou 
closely Milton imitated particular biblical or classical pas- 
sages. The present state of Miltonic criticism makes ii 
proper not to overlook such indications. 

Apart from this I have endeavored to avoid diffuseness 
especially the temptation to quote parallel passages fron 
authors who could have had little or no influence upo) 
Milton. To reduce my work to a reasonable bulk and t* 
keep the progress of the thought unencumbered, I hav< 
purposely omitted grammatical and philological discus 
sions, as well as that information which is easily accessibl 
in concordance or dictionary. I hav^e also thought it un 
necessary to add another to the many brief biographies C' 
the poet. 

By the kind permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin < 
Co. I am able to present quotations from Homer's Ilia- 
and Odyssey '\\\\.\it. translation of William Cullen Bryan 
whose interpretation of those ancient epics seems to m 
more profound and accurate than any other. To Messn 
Sheldon & Co. I am indebted for the privilege of copyin 
several constellations with their figures from Burritt's Stc^ 
Atlas. ]. A. H. 

Gettysburg, Pa., April, 1898. 




A General Survey ix 




MAN xxii 



The Verse < . . . . i 

Book I .... 3 

Book II 22 

Book III 46 

Book IV 64 

Book V 88 

Book VI 109 

Book VII 130 

Book VIII 145 

Book IX 160- 

Book X T ... 187 

Book XI 213 

Book XII 234 

Notes 251 








VIRGO (ASTR^a) 347 


The use of knowing the origin of a poem like the Paradise Lost 
is more than the gratification of an idle curiosity. The appearance 
of a plan outside of the poet himself enables the interpreter in 
many cases to pass from subjective probability to objective demon- 
stration. It further gives him the benefit of two points of view, an 
advantage whose importance may be compared to that of the par- 
allaxes in astronomical science. 

To the poet the chief advantage of finding his plan ready-made 
is not, as may be ignorantly supposed, to save labor and trouble, 
but to keep him from wandering too far from the travelled thor- 
oughfares of thought, and so bewildering his readers, even if he 
does not lose himself. The more original his mind, the more 
necessary it is for him not only to have a simple and obvious 
plan, but also, in the main, to deal with the thoughts of his age. 
To seek for originality, according to the popular acceptation of 
the term, would, for a vigorous thinker, be to make himself unin- 

The plot of Paradise Lost is taken from the best known book in 
the world. In the development of that plot the poet has been 
guided by writings that have survived all changes of fashion, and 
have held their supremacy, even amid the enormous increase of lit- 
erary production, in modern times. The biblical passage from 
which Paradise Lost is expanded contains the germ not only of the 
main story but also of its much criticised episodes, together with its 
classical and mythological element. The soundness of its views 
and method is proved by their conformity to that authority which 
has the greatest scientific and literary weight. As preliminary to a 
minuter analysis, it will be profitable to look at the poem as a whole, 
and to consider comprehensively the plan, the scene of action, the 
characters, and the style. 



To discover the unity of Fai'adise Lost we must dismiss the 
commonly accepted idea of Lamartine, that it is the "dream of a 
Puritan fallen asleep over the first pages of his Bible." Not the 
first book, but the last, of the sacred volume contains the frame- 
work of the poem. Here, in the vision of the seven trumpets of 
the Apocalypse, we find the germ of the story with plentiful suggest- 
ions for its characters and imagery. 

Long before Milton had decided upon the form of his work, and 
while he was yet considering the fitness of various subjects for 
a dramatic composition, he published his opinion that " the Apoca- 
lypse of St. John is the majestic image of a high and stately tragedy 
shutting up and intermingling her solemn scenes and acts with a 
sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies." Know- 
ing, then, that the attention of the poet was early directed to this 
part of the Scriptures for a subject, we should not be surprised to 
find the events, the characters, and the coloring of the whole poem 
here shadowed forth. 

The designated passage contains a vision of the judgments 
attending the entire course of angelic and human transgression. 
It is a view of the origin, the history, and the final overthrow 
of evil. Its action begins before the Creation, takes in the whole 
reach of time, and ends with the disposition of things for eternity. 
The scope and purpose of Paradise Lost are the same ; the seven- 
fold division of the conflict between good and evil is the same ; 
the separate stages are distinguished by the same features, rapidly 
sketched by St. John, more minutely drawn and filled up from 
other portions of Scripture by Milton. 

Compare, first, the general features of the prophet's vision and 
the poet's. In the former a part of the action is extra-mundane 
and a part intra-mundane, and the transition from the one to the 
other is marked by the warning cry between the fourth and the 
fifth trumpet: " Woe to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of 
the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to 
sound !" What a magnificent opening " into the midst oi things" 
does this present to the poet ! Milton was not slow to see and 
take advantage of it. At this point oF duration, near the sounding 
of the fifth trumpet, he enters upon the narrative, and from this 
looks before and after. Raphael is brought from Heaven to nar- 
rate the past ; Michael to foretell the future. Two angels, un- 
named, likewise appeared to St. John, The first, seen "flying 


through the midst of Heaven," is identical with Raphael, who, 
charged with a warning to man, similarly "flew through the midst 
of Heaven " (v. 251) ; the second is Michael, having the same 
radiant form as he, and clothed, like him, with a cloud and a 
rainbow (xi. 229, 244). 

It will be observed that the angels who sound the trumpets are 
stationed in Heaven, while the judgments that follow are executed 
in some other place. The last three are distinguished from the 
rest as executed upon the earth ; and the other four must be referred 
to Hell, the place of punishment, which is unmistakably prominent 
in the passage. The soundings of the trumpet are reproduced 
in Paradise Lost — the first two on the first day of the war in 
Heaven (vi. 60, 202), the third at the dawn of the second day (vi. 
526), and the fourth in the " whirlwind sound" of the Almighty 
chariot on the morning of the third day (vi, 749). The fifth, sixth, 
and seventh are in one sentence assigned their places in the history 
of the world — at the expulsion from Eden, the giving of the Law 
on Sinai, and the final judgment (xi. 73-76). Milton gives to each 
sounding its own significance, drawn with marvellous insight from 
the symbolism of the vision. The first sounding introduces the 
conflict between Faith and Doubt ; the second, the conflict between 
Right (Law) and Wrong ; the third, the conflict between Innocence 
and Guilt ; the fourth announces the separation of the Evil from 
the Good ; the fifth opens the contest on earth between Death and 
Life ; the sixth, the contest between Sin and Grace ; the seventh 
proclaims the final Judgment. 

Whenever St. John speaks of one-third of any class of things 
Milton understands him to refer to the evil spirits. There are 
jndgr'-'.ents upon the third part of the trees, of the creatures in the 
sea, of the ships, of the rivers, of the waters, and of the stars. St. 
Jude and St. Peter distinctly mention the fallen spirits under such 
figures, and Milton uses them all, making out of them some of his 
most celebrated and powerful similes. The *' hail and fire mingled 
with blood " become the " sulphurous hail " and the " red light- 
. „• of an infernal storm; the sea of blood is Milton's lake of 

lijiadfire" compared to the Red Sea; the "great mountain 
I ivring with fire " is represented by the hill torn from " the shat- 

:< ' ie of thundering Etna" ; the star whose name is Worm- 
' personified into Sin. 

levouring locusts from the Pit, with the face of a man, the 

r a woman, the body of a war-horse, and the sting of a scor- 

\))i-'i. . are to Milton emblematic of the union of lust and discord 


and death {James i. 15.) Their operation is illustrated in the 
history of the world before the Flood, when the sons of God were 
joined to the daughters of men and begat those giants and men of 
renown who filled the earth with violence and provoked the wrath 
that brought the Deluge. Under their king the destroyers have 
" power to hurt men five months," while the waters of the Deluge 
are rising {Gen. vii. 24) ; but they do not annihilate the race, for 
Noah and his family, with the seal of God upon their foreheads, 
give it a new lease of life. 

In the statement that the king of the destroying hosts " in the 
Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon," Milton finds entire justi- 
fication for all the mythology, far more than even Patrick Hume 
suspected, which is woven into the poem. Satan is identified with 
Apollo ; and the presence of Apollo draws with it that of the other 
divinities with whom he is associated. 

With the giving of the Law after the sixth trumpet, "the four 
angels " bound in the Euphrates (Lethe, the river of Oblivion, ii. 
582-603) are let loose upon the world. Curses for disobedience, 
an enormous host, breathe their fury, their terror, and their noxious 
fumes upon violators of the Law, The little book of the Word is 
given to purge men of this poison and enable them once more to 
see clearly. The Christian Church is established ; its boundaries 
are defined ; God's two Witnesses, Truth and Freedom, prophesy 
therein until they are slain. Their dead bodies are exposed to 
insult; "outward rites and specious forms" in religion mock the 
lifeless corpses ; and the corrupt hierarchy with its seat at Rome 
(the Sodom and Egypt of the Reformers) is glad that the disquiet- 
ing and tormenting spirits are gone. The two Witnesses revive in 
the day "of respiration to the just and vengeance to the w'c^:'='d " 
and the story of the world ends with the Judgment, 

With this interpretation Milton used the vision of the trumpets 
as the framework of his poem, and thus proved himself no excep- 
tion Lo the rule that great poets find rather than create their plots. 
The importance of the fact here demonstrated in forming an esti- 
mate of Paradise Lost will be easily recognized. 


A clear idea of the theatre in which the actors move and play 
their parts — if that is obtainable — is an important requisite for the 
understanding of this poem, John Ruskin {Mod. Paint, iii. 215, 
216) decides vagueness and indefiniteness to be characteristic of 


Milton's conceptions of the grand divisions of space. A little sys- 
tematic study of the subject, however, will dispel much of this 
vagueness and exhibit the conceptions as not only clear in them- 
selves but as illuminating other important writings. 

With strict consistency Milton assumes two primal infinities, an 
upper and a lower, which he calls the Empyrean and Chaos. 
These two are divided by a horizontal plane of separation called 
the "empyreal bounds" (x. 380). To the right on this plane is a 
hemisphere shutting in a portion of the Empyrean occupied by the 
angels as their permanent home. To one standing on the plane 
the enclosed portion has the appearance of the moon at its quadra- 
tures, when half the disc is illuminated. Milton elsewhere, speak- 
ing of the "Heaven above the heavens," distinctly says that " in 
this highest Heaven seems to be situated the Heaven of the blessed, 
where God permits himself to be seen by the angels and saints " 
{Christian Doctrine v\\?). When a Heaven with walls and gates 
is mentioned in the poem, it is this habitation of the just and not 
the whole Empyrean that is meant. Heaven is luminous ; it fills 
with its light the whole cloudless, infinite space around and above, 
and even sends its rays in a sort of twilight far into the turbulent 
Chaos beneath. God is also present with the light in benediction 
throughout the clear upper infinitude, though his throne and visible 
presence are set on the Mount of God in the zenith of the heavenly 
dome, like the sun at its meridian heij^ht. 

Now with a radius much smaller than that used in describing 
Heaven we draw in Chaos a circle just touching the "empyreal 
bounds " where the left wall of Heaven meets them. The circle 
represents our World and embraces all the range of planets, suns 
and systems of our visible material universe. The orderly Cosmo;^ 
within is divided from the disorderly Chaos without by a rigic 
Avail of matter against which the dark surge of the Deep breaks 

Near the beginning of the poem the site of Hell is fixed, 

"As far removed from God and light of Heaven 
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole." 

From the centre to the pole is the radius of the small circle repre- 
senting our World. Taking this as a measuring line, lay it oflF 
^hree times downward into Chaos ; then through the point reached a line parallel to that marking the upper limit of Chaos. 
Som-where on the plane indicated by this line is the 1' cation of 


Hell. Verses 320-323 of the tenth book put it far off to the left 
of the Cosmos and all considerations of poetic fitness give it the 
same sinister relation to the abode of the blest. The accompany- 
ing diagram will set forth with sufficient clearness these leading 
facts of Milton's idea of the universe. 


After this general view an inspection of details is in order. Hell 
is the part that is first presented ; and of Hell the lake of Fire, 
which is called its " heart," or centre, is the first distinct division. 
About the central lake and back from its shore is a dry, parched 
desert region, through which four rivers run, disgorging from four 
directions their baleful waves into the lake's fiery billows. This is 
the second circle, and it is in turn surrounded by " a slow and 
>ilent stream," like the Ocean us of ancient fable, called Lethe. 
Its " watery labyrinth" borders upon the fourth and last circle of 
Milton's Inferno, a frozen continent "beat with perpetual storms 
of whirlwind and dire hail." A concave roof or wall reaching to 
the ground forms the sky o^ the whole vast dismal realm. 

These features may be expressed in a diagram which will be 
i:)und of service in clearing up the topography of the second book. 
1 1 will be noticed that the four circles are designated respectively 
by the nam#s of the four elemental properties of ancient physics — 
Hoi,^ Dry, Moist, and Cold. The simplicity of ihe plan adds 
greatly to its acceptibility and to its fitness for poetic use. 

1 he plan of the heavenly territory, which the blessed angeb 
possess, is somewhat less obvious ; but there are indications of *ne 
same rel. tive arrangement of the elemental properties as in Hell, 


with Heat at the centre and Cold on the circumference as extremes. 
But the central heat comes from the bright Mountain of Divinity 
instead of a fiery Fit, and is life-giving instead of life-consuming. 
The contiguous land produces fruits of the tree of Life instead of 
apples of Sodom, such as the desert land of Hell affords its deni- 
zens. Rolling over Elysian flowers and encircling the spacious 
land of light and fruitfulness is the river of Bliss instead of that 
sluggish and forgetful Lethe of the Underworld. From the outer 
circle come those cool winds that fan the angels in their slumbers. 




■How hemisphere constituting both roof and walls extends 

• heavenly territory, just as our sky extends over the land- 

the midst of which we dwell. This shape enables us to 

e value to such expressions as the " Heaven of heavens " 


and to St. Paul's " the third Heaven." The first is the ethereal or 
visible heaven within this lower world ; the second, that flat sur- 
face, diversified with streams and vales and mountains, where the 
angels dwell ; the third, or Heaven of heavens, that which forms a 
sky over the second and contains high above all height, the throne 
of God, approached by a road as glorious with radiance as the 
Milky Way (vii. 576-581). 

Masson speaks of Chaos as " a vast pulp or welter of unformed 
matter," where earth, water, air, and fire are tempestuously inter- 
mixed. Though this description is not altogether inaccurate, yet 
the elements tend to arrange themselves, according to their weight, 
into recognizable strata, the heavier below, the lighter above. 
Earth, the heaviest of the four elements, is the lowest ; but its pos- 
session is disputed along the upper surface by water forming bogs 
and syrtes in some localities, while allowing the earth to rise in 
steeps of sand or rock in others. This stratum forms the " crude 
consistence " by which Satan is supported during a great part of his 
earthward journey. The poet evidently meant that the surface of 
this stratum should just touch the foot of that little circle repre- 
senting the Cosmos in our diagram. On this stratum, near the 
World, Satan found the pavilion of Chaos. Near Hell the stratum 
is broken off, leaving l)efore the gates, except for sulphurous clouds, 
an absolute vacuum. The next stratum above properly belongs to 
Water, though its dominion is disputed by earth in the condition of 
sand and mud raised from below and by air descending in furious 
tempest from above. Into the third stratum, "resembling Air," 
water in the form of clouds rises from below, while light encroaches 
from above. Over this is the serene Empyrean sejiarated from 
Chaos by such a boundary as divides air from sea or light from 

The little circle of the Cosmos is in some respects the most im- 
portant division of all, because from his treatment of it we may 
determine whether the most profound of English poets was narrow 
and slow to accept the teachings of science, or liberal and open to 
the approach of truth from every quarter. Professor Huxley holds 
Milton responsible for present erroneous views about Creation. A 
man so familiar with Milton's life as Professor Masson concludes 
that the poet certainly adopted the old Ptolemaic, or Alphonsine, 
idea of ten revolving spheres with the Earth at the centre, as the 
basis of his cosmogony in Paradise Lost, and that in all probability 
he was in suspense between the two rival systems, the Ptolemaic 
and the Copernican, to the day of his death. This op -hvu -eem.<» 


to me unjustified and erroneous, Milton was abreast of the 
most advanced natural science of his day, and the apparent in- 
consistencies in his representations of the Cosmos are easily rec- 

Some of the language, of course, is that of daily life and not to be 
considered as a basis for a theory of philosophical views. Besides 
this, prior to instruction Adam and Eve speak of the stars as ' ' gems 
of heaven," "soft fires," etc.; and are undisturbed in their belief 
that the Earth is stationary and the heavens revolve. After they 
are permitted to look upon Creation, as it were with Raphael's 
eyes, which have more than telescopic power (v, 261-263), Adam 
abandons as ro longer credible the notion of a stationary Earth. 
Milton, speaking in his own person, uses the phraseology of the 
Ptolemaic system on two occasions, once (iv. 592-597) in order dis- 
tinctly to discredit that system, and again (iii. 481-483) to satirize 
the " Franciscan and Dominican licensers" in astronomy, who had 
caused the imprisonment of Galileo. He lays down th^ canon 
{Fro Pop. Ang. Def. v.) that '' Poets generally put their own 
sense into the mouths of their best characters." In accordance 
with this canon Raphael is made to criticise the complexity and 
awkwardness of the Ptolemaic system and to suggest approvingly 
the chief points of the Copernican (viii. 75-140). Thomas N. 
Orchard, M.D., in a recent exhaustive treatise on ''The As- 
tronomy of Miltotis Paradise Lost'' (1896), though embarrassed 
by conventional interpretations of the poem, credits the poet 
with a minute and accurate knowledge of the astronomy of his 
day and presents additional facts strongly confirmatory of our 
general conclusion that Milton accepted the Copernican theory 
as a true explanation, so far as it goes, of the phenomena of the 

To test the correctness of the whole scheme thus outlined, open 
the poem at the second book, where Satan sets out on his journey 
from Hell to the World, and note the various hints of the direction 
taken and the kind of accidents and adventures met with. Be- 
ginning at line 632, see how he moves in a crooked course towards 
■ Lethe, and having reached it '" shaves with level wing the deep." 
Having crossed the watery expanse by flying over it, he traverses 
the " frozen continent" and nears the gates of Hell, where Death, 
that spirit of the cold and dark, resists him until pacified with large 
promises. He is next seen standing on the brink of Hell (918) 
pondering how to reach, far above and beyond him, the ledge sudden precipitous termination leaves a wide and bottomless 


chasm in front of Hell-gates. He is carried upward in the sipoke 
issuing from Hell, until tliat fails ; then he drops 

" Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour 
Down had been falling, had not by ill chance 
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud 
Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him 
As many miles aloft." 

The propulsion seems to have been enough to place him on the 
wished-for point, for immediately the words describing his progress 
imply horizontal and no longer vertical motion ; 

"Eagerly the Fiend 
O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare, 
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way. 
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies." 

After indefinite progress in a horizontal coui"se, he is attracted by 
the tumult in that direction to the pavilion of Chaos. Acting upon 
information there received he "springs upward," until he reaches 
the upper stratum through M'hich light penetrates. Here he ' ' weighs 
his spread wings " and moves once more in a horizontal direction, 
until he touches the nearest point of the spherical shell of our Cosmos. 
On its desolate outside he wanders up and down, but eventually 
towards the top of the sphere, where an orifice opens downward into 
the interior. Through this orifice he goes, directs his course by 
the Milky Way, touches at the Sun and finally arrives at the Earth. 
It is possible, moreover, to determine the point of the compass 
towards which Satan moves in his adventurous journey. The seat 
of his prior dominion in Heaven was " within the limits of the 
North" (v. 755); hence the first hostile movement must have been 
southward, the course of retreat northward, and the point of expul- 
sion on the north side of Heaven. The World is therefore attached 
to the northern wall (ii. 1006), and Hell is farther off in the same 
direction. Satan going on his mission to work the ruin of man 
must, then, have taken a southerly course. This idea is confirmed 
by every comparison applied to Satan in which direction is sug- 
gested ; the march of the Barbarians (i. 351-355), the fleet of mer- 
chantmen (ii. 636-642), the comet in Ophiuchus (ii. 708-710), the 
Griffin pursuing the Arimaspian (ii. 943-945), and the vulture from 
Imaus (iii. 431-436). 


Sacred Scriptures themselves is evident from Gen. v. 2. Eve bears 
the same relation to her sex as Adam does to the race. 

Adam and Eve as individuals appear in two states ; the state of 
innocence and the state of guilt. Reason and poetry are united in 
their portrayal. They are brought to view first in their upright 
posture in which their supremacy over the animal life about them 
is most manifest to the outer sense. A few touches bring out dis- 
tinctly the intellectual, masculine, and ruling qualities of Adam, 
the perfect man, and the soft, feminine, and loving traits in Eve, 
the perfect woman. Nothing provincial, nothing local, nothing 
personal is forced into the description. Whatever flippancy and 
prejudice may say, it is the symmetry and proportion of ancient 
Greece, whence the whole world draws its models of strength and 
beauty, reproduced in this English poem. 

Dr. Johnson thinks that we can have little sympathy with Adam 
and Eve in their innocence, because we find them in a state of 
which we have had no experience. I am inclined to believe that 
more importance is attached to this than it deserves ; for in a large 
number of our experiences all consciousness of guilt and suffering 
is absent and into many of the emotions and joys of innocence we 
can partially, if not perfectly, enter. Especially is this true of us 
during childhood and youth, when the "celestial light" and the 
glory of an immortal day, so charmingly depicted by Wordsworth, 
still linger upon our world. If sorrows and cares in later years 
mix themselves too much with our thoughts and the heavenly vision 
gradually fades away, still the memory of it remains almost as of 
some Paradise from which we also have been driven out. The 
beauty of the stars, the rainbow, the rose, and every common sight 
is not exhausted before we are old enough to appreciate it. There 
is a time when waters on a starry night, the voices of the groves 
and the gladness of the May have not yet ceased to charm. Our 
emotions at the contemplation of such objects are often, even in 
maturer years, fine enough to compare with the feelings of our first 
parents in their primitive innocence. 

Sexual distinctions appear in the minds no less than in the bodies 
of Adam and Eve. In Adam the reasoning faculties are strong, in 
Eve the sensuous or perceptive faculties. In the evening twilight 
Adam is found somewhat prosaically reflecting upon his duties, 
while Eve, dreamy and imaginative, is wrp.pped up in the poetic 
fancies and meditations stimulated by her surroundings. Her sen- 
tences have the sweetest lyric cadence, and her thoughts prove the 
quickest and tenderest sensibility to whatever is fair or harmonious 


in external nature. Adam waked to life in the sunshine, Eve in 
the shade ; he found himself reposing on the flowery herb, she 
came to consciousness on a bed of flowers ; he was born outside of 
Paradise, she was a native of the Garden itself ; his earliest specu- 
lations as to his origin led him to the Deity, hers did not reach so 
high, but ceased, though they were not satisfied, at the sight of her 
own beautiful image reflected in a lake. All this must not be tort- 
ured into the doctrine that Adam was incapable of sentiment, or 
Eve of high reasoning, for in their joint evening adoration and 
morning hymn high thoughts and poetic feeling are exquisitely 
blended. Eve hears and is instructed by Raphael's eloquent dis- 
course on ethical and physical science ; Adam warms into tenderest 
and purest sentiment in telling the angel of his first meeting with 

The relation of Eve to Adam before the Fall was one of depend- 
ence but not of subjection. No self-assertion or exercise of au- 
thority on his part was needed to secure her reverence ; of govern- 
ment, so far as it involves the idea of compulsion, there was nothing. 
The free motions of their own minds, the pursuit of their highest 
enjoyment, secured perfect harmony of action. But the Fall intro- 
duced discord ; after that no two souls ever so entirely accorded 
upon all subjects as to make the existence of authority in the family, 
where the wjll of one must rule, superfluous. Thus the subjection 
of the woman to the will of her husband was not only a portion of 
her punishment for leading the way in disobedience, but was neces- 
sary to the very existence of future society. It must be observed, 
however, that this does not involve a general subjection of the 
weaker to the stronger sex, but only in the family relation of the 
wife to the husband. 

It would be instructive to consider the stages of change from in- 
nocence to guilt and back to penitence — the tainting of Eve's fancy 
in a dream, the outcome a week later in the whim that led her away 
from Adam, her being deceived by the Serpent, Adam's volun- 
tary and intelligent resolution to share her lot, the physical exhilara- 
tion and moral insensibility attendant upon the transgression, the 
subsequent anguish and despair, and then the birth of Hope ; but 
I must trust to the notes to set forth what is essential on these 

While it may be difficult to draw a line through the experiences 
of Adam, putting on one side what belongs to him as an indi- 
vidual and on the other what belongs to him as a representative 
of the race, it is clear that certain qualities and kinds of knowl- 


edge are attributed to him mainly, if not wholly, on the latter 
basis. The old myth of Prometheus, Epimetheus and Pandora, as 
Milton himself saw (iv. 714), expresses pretty accurately the gen- 
eral relations of the body of demons, mankind and womankind, 
Satan as Prometheus represents the devils who with malicious fore- 
thought rebelled against the Almighty ; Adam as Epimetheus repre- 
sents the human race, in whom hostility was an afterthought fol- 
lowing the act of transgression ; Eve, the all-endowed, is a type of 
v.^omankind through whom, as through Pandora, all evils escaped 
upon man and through whom also the hope of recovery was made 

Adam is shown to us as in possession of at least an abstract of 
all the philosophy, science, geography, and history since mastered 
and made by the human race. Almost from the moment of his 
creation he speculates about himself, his relations to the world about 
him and to the Unseen One who, he reasons, must have brought him 
into existence. The search after God is thus begun in a state of in- 
nocence. There is the same intellectual unrest, the same vain grop- 
ing of human reason, the same deep-felt want of the human heart, 
afterwards so affecting to Paul on Mars Hill, when he prepared to 
enlighten those who had reared an altar to the Unknown God. 
The discovery of the earth's motion around the sun is perhaps the 
most stupendous achievement of the human mind in the field of 
natural science. When, after listening to the angel's description 
of the Creation, the idea began to dawn upon Adam, he was mute 
with wonder at the magnitude and grandeur of the universe. It 
would seem altogether unreasonable to attribute to him a contem- 
plation of this late and magnificent discovery except as a represent- 
ative of the race. 

On the same principle, under the direction of Michael, Adam is 
favored with a vision of the future. From a mountain, after his 
eyesight had been purged, he saw all parts of the earth whither his 
descendants have since penetrated. Even the antipodes were in 
spirit spread before him. The whole course of human history was 
also displayed, with its thread of Divine revelation connecting and 
unifying the whole. With the eye of humanity he looked at the 
various scenes that were presented, being shocked at spectacles of 
violence, disease, and war, and pleased at the view of external 
gayety and material prosperity, though hiding moral decay. His 
discovery of fire as the central agent and symbol of Art also proves 
him to be intended for an embodiment of general humanity. 

In the old epics Revenge has sway of the hero at the catastrophe. 


but here, in Adam, the perfect embodiment of humanity, it is Love 
that triumphs at the fatal moment and thus proves its claim to be 
distinguished as the ruling passion. 

Milton assumes that when a creature has been endowed with 
reason he is subject under God, to that reason alone. It is reason 
which subjects him even to God. Worship is rendered, not for 
form or because it is exacted, but because the spirit's impulse and 
need are to worship. The angels who rest not day or night singing 
about the eternal Throne are held to their duties by no other pre- 
script than their own exalted thoughts and glowing hearts. If 
there is law in Heaven, the inhabitants feel its pressure no more 
than the purest patriots feel that of the statutes of their native land. 
The law is at once their safety and their glory. But the poet sees 
that when Reason abdicates her throne, either among angels or 
among men, and Passion usurps sway, this highest liberty can no 
longer exist. The freedom of the will to do evil must be abridged ; 
the wife must be subjected to her husband ; tlie family must be 
governed by its head ; the nation must be ruled, if it has not the 
capacity for self-government, by a despot ; lawless and degraded 
tribes may even be enslaved by their stronger neighbors. The 
truth which Adam regarded as a fundamental political axiom, that 
man was never made lord over man, is disguised and almost lost 
sight of in the tyrannies established over the earth. It is clear, 
also, that as man is recovered by Divine grace from his degrada- 
tion he must cast off these tyrannies and be subject, as at first, to 
the Higher Law alone. 

The poet demands for men not only civil but intellectual and 
religious freedom. The secrets of nature are not guarded by a 
jealous power that stands ready to slay men, if they pry too curi- 
ously. God has set no bounds to human investigation reverently 
pursued. Milton was not superstitious. Men need no " licensers " 
in astronomy or any other branch of knowledge ; Truth needs 
only freedom of speech and of the press, and in any grapple with 
Falsehood is sure to prove the stronger. Enemies to liberty above 
all are they who in the name of religion try to force conscience, 
who assume to rule the church through the imposition of useless 
forms and heartless ritual, who use God's holy ordinances estab- 
lished for the salvation of men as means to gain for themselves 
worldly titles, wealth, and power. 

These are some of the things that impressed the poet and must 
impress any one in a survey of human history. Freedom of action, 
of wjorship, and of thought, and the proper means of securing it 


against the civil power, priestcraft, and the mob, have been the great 
matters that have agitated the race. The consideration of these 
things by Adam as an individual before he left the Garden of 
Eden would be forced in the extreme, but Adam in his representa- 
tive capacity may fitly decide upon them all. 


A glance at the first drafts of Paradise Lost, when the subject 
was still under consideration for dramatic treatment, will reveal 
among the dramatis persona a large preponderance of what are 
known as allegorical characters, such as Conscience, Death, Igno- 
rance, Justice, Faith, Hope, and Wisdom, There is a noticeable 
tendency, as the work progresses, towards a substitution of real for 
allegorical characters— a translation of the abstract into the con- 
crete. The substitution is not complete even in the finished epic, 
as we see in the presence of such characters as Sin, Death, Chaos, 
and Night. Hence have arisen the criticisms of Addison, Landor 
and others condemning the mixture of allegory and plain fact. 

The original abstractions, however, do not disappear from the 
stage, but remain under the names and forms of the pagan Gods 
of v/estern Asia and southern Europe. The spirits who meet and 
contend in battle are the virtues and vices "that wage perpetual 
"warTn'man^s" nioral nature and by sympathy cause disorder and 
riiin even in the external world. The gods of the heathen had 
their origin in ideas. Men did not grossly worship the rudely 
carved or moulded masses of wood, stone, and metal, but they 
offered devotion to an idea which the image merely brought to 
mind. Mars was honored in nations addicted to war ; Minerva 
in cities devoted to philosophy. The ceremonies with which at 
special times the divinity was worshipped were mere external signs 
of the inward life of the people. Starting with this spiritual con- 
ception of the gods of old— gods still at the present day, though not 
openly confessed — Milton was able to describe them with a confi- 
dence and positiveness which come only from a consciousness of 
stating unassailable truth. 

The moral quality which each of Milton's characters is intended 
to embody may in nearly all cases be determined with certainty. 
The form, stature, attire, words, and actions of each assist in the 
determination. Each is also associated with some force, agent, or 
phenomenon in the material world which suggests and illustrates 


it. Besides, the identity of the gods of the Orient with those of 
the Occident enabled the poet to use the Biblical names and descrip- 
tions for divinities that are also active in the stories of Homer and 
Virgil. This union of the Classical with the Biblical, instead of 
perplexing, aids interpretation by allowing a wider comparison in 
doubtful cases. Even in the case of spirits whose part in the action 
is least and who are barely named there are means of discovering 
their significance and appropriateness in their respective places. 

Illustrations of the allegorical significance of the spirits are not 
here needed ; the notes will supply them in abundance ; but as fur- 
nishing, perhaps, tl^most compact and convenient body of exam- 
ples I may refer the reader to the comments on i. 376-521. 
-'The angels, however, have a material as well as a spiritual ex- 
istence. Satan is not only " the spirit that now works in the chil- 
dren of disobedience ;" he is also " the prince of the power of the 
air." There are spirits of Water, Fire, and Air in the celestial 
economy (see notes on ii. 528-628), as there were among the gods 
of old. With great propriety, therefore, is the imagery used in de- 
scribing the battles of the sixth book drawn from storms of wind 
and hail. Almost every display of elemental power or splendor, 
every kind of phenomena in the heavens, is utilized by the poet in 
shadowing forth angelic activity. Whether the movements are 
those of individuals or of masses, the same rule is observed ; the 
spiritual forces are described to the imagination as well as to the 
understanding. Where the images seem gross we must remember 
their ethereal texture ; when cannon are introduced in celestial 
warfare we dare not forget our familiar conception of the artillery 
of the heavens. After understanding the poet critics will find far 
less reason to complain that in these supernal contests " immortals 
smite immortals mortal-wise." 

Milton adopted no novel theory of spiritual activity. The gods 
of the ancients have the same dual nature as Milton's angels — a 
moral quality or essence and its ethereal envelope or symbol. 
There are indeed differences such as subsist between Christian and 
pagan ethics ; Milton often boldly criticises the morality of his 
predecessors while he respects and follows their methods in the 
poetic art. Nor should it be a matter of surprise that the two have 
so much in common, for human nature is everywhere the same ; 
the chief wonder is that the ancients under their disadvantages 
should possess such a profound knowledge of the human soul. 
For the human soul, after all, is the chief thing to the great epic 
poets. It seems the only subject worthy the effort of transcendent 


1 he nni verse of Milton is by no means an irresponsible evolution 
of his own fancy. Every point is set down by authority. For in- 
stance, the idea of four planes in the universe, one above another 
and separated by the constant interval, the distance from Heaven 
to Earth, is very old. Homer, Hesiod, and Virgil all state it more 
or less distinctly and use it as the foundation of their cosmogony. 
Moses seems to be in harmony with them in the first of Genesis. 
Before the six days' Creation "the earth was without form and 
void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." Here is the 
threefold division of Chaos— the earth, the deep, and the darkness 
over it. St. Luke mentions " a great gulf" or chasm as an im- 
passable obstacle between the saved and the lost {Ltike xvi. 26). 
Hesiod, using the same word, fixes just outside of Hell-gates the 
place of this great chasm, into which having fallen, "no one would 
in all time reach a footing, unless he were first within the gates." 
Here is the origin of Milton's " void profound of unessential night." 
Scripture and fable are constantly blended, and the product Js a. 
sort of resultant of the world's best ideas on the subject. "Sc 
largely is the scheme of Milton derived from his poetic prede- 
cessors that it might with considerable propriety be called The poets 

Was this scheme intended to describe a material reality ? 
allegorical element is very conspicuous. To all men Heaver 
above and Hell beneath ; the one is to the right hand, the othe 
the left. Good is dextral and exalted ; evil sinister and degraded 
The rivers of Hell, the regencies of Heaven, the pavilion of Cha*. , 
the glories of the Sun, the mount of Paradise, have all a moral con- 
tent. Milton treats the universe as a symbolical fact ; every part 
of it is significant, and the material structure is intended to set fort>> 
spiritual truth for the instruction of men. 


Milton is often called an Arian in religion. While the poV 
could not, perhaps, be conclusively established from Paradise ± 
alone, it is put beyond controversy in a posthumous work of 
poet on Christian Doctrine, where a kind of Arianism is fra 
avowed and ably defended. Consequently there can be nc c 
as to how certain passages in his poems are to be understood 

A being who i^ infinite, eternal, and omnipresent, Milton d 
is but one, and cannot have at the same time the attril-u 


unity and plurality. The infinite and eternal Being is God the 
Feather, and of his essential nature there is no sharer. All things, 
even the matter of which all things are made, are produced from 
God and not from nothing. The Son of God is a distinct person, 
inferior to God, but the first and highest of creation, by whom all 
other things were afterwards created. The Holy Spirit is likewise 
a creature, later than the Son and inferior to him. Divine honors 
are paid to both by the Father's decree and appointment and not 
because they are of the same infinite nature. The attributes of the 
Father are believed, so far as they pertain to the Son, to belong to 
him, because they are conferred, not because he is coequal with 
God. Yet the relation of the Son to the Father is most intimate, 
so that the Son is said to be the image of the invisible God, the 
brightness of his glory, and the one to whom all government is 
committed. To establish these points Milton cites many texts of 
Scripture, most of which are again woven in with the poetical con- 
'•.eptions of Paradise Lost. 

The poet admits a kind of anthropomorphis7n in his representa- 
tion of the Deity, and offers the defence that he has followed the 
example of Scripture, in which it is to be supposed that there are 
:uch conceptions of God as are best suited to our capacities. " In 
•guing thus, we do not say that God is in fashion like unto man 
all his parts and members, but that so far as we are concerned 
know, he is of the form which he attributes to himself in the 
sarred writings " {Christ. Doct. ii.). But while Milton thus applies 
lo God that which when applied to ourselves supposes weakness 
and limitation, he athrms strongly the infinity and consequent in- 
comprehensibility of the Divine Essence. God the P'ather is in his 
own nature invisible and unknoM'able by any creature. To the 
very angels in Heaven, in the lofty symbolism of the poet, the 
F'ather n nains invisible ; he interferes in the doings of the celestial 
world no more obtrusively than in the doings of this, so that it is 
possible for intelligent beings to argue atheism even amid the glories 
of the Empyrean. 

The poet provides himself a defence against another objection 

lich may be, and has been, brouglit against his writings. This 

•"cct, which is allied to the preceding, has received the name of 

'hropopathy and consists in representing the Divine Being as 

■ect to human passions and making use of language implying 

same. The defence of the poet again is the example of the 

'd Record, in which it is to be presumed that God would cause 

J written nothing derogatory to himself. There he is repre- 



This First Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject— Man's disobedi- 
ence, and the loss thereupon of Parndise, wherein he was placed: then touches 
the prime cause of his fall — the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who, 
revolting from Ciod, and drawing to his side many legious of Angels, was, by tiie 
command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great Deep. 
Which action passed over, the Poem hastens into the midst of things; presenting 
Satan, with his Angels, now fallen into Hell — described here not in the Centre 
(for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet ac- 
cursed), but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos. Here Satan, 
with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a 
certain space recovers, as from confusion; calls up him who, next in order and 
dignity, lay by him: they confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his 
legions, wno lay till then in the same manner confounded. They : 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 yet of regaining Heaven: but tells them, 
lastly, of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an 
ancient prophecy, or repon, in Heaveni — for th:it Angels were long before this 
visible creation was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To tind out the truth 
of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. 
What his associates th;nc? attempt. Pandemonium, the palace ot Satan, rises, 
suddenly built out of the Deep: the in'ernal Poc-s there sit in council. 

OF Man's iirst /i i.'-'obc "i ■ ncv .iikI the fruit 
Of that forbid icn ,.ui^ w osc mortal taste 
Brought de;»th .he WotJd, and all our woe, 
With, loss ol Ldeti till one greater Man 
Restore a<, and n-gain the blissful seat, 
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top 
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed 
In the beginning how the heavens and earth 
Rose out of Chaos : or, if Sion hill ^ 

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed 
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence 
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song. 
That with no middle flight intends to soar 
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues 
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.X 
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer 


Pefore all temples the upright heart and pure, 
Instruct me, for Thou know'st ; Thou from the first 
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, 20 

Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss, 
And mad'st it pregnant : what in me is dark 
Illumine, what is low raise and support ; 
That, to the highth of this great argument, 
I may assert Eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to men. 

Say first — for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, 
Nor the deep tract of Hell — say first what cause 
Moved our grand Parents, in that happy state, 
Favored of Heaven so highly, to fall of? 30 

From their Creator, and transgress his will 
For one restraint, lords of the World besides. 
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? 

The infernal Serpent ; he it was whose guile, 
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived 
The mother of mankind, what time his pride 
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host 
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring 
To set himself in glory above his peers, 
He trusted to have equalled the Most High, 40 

If he opposed, and, with ambitious aim 
Against the throne and monarchy of God, 
Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud, 
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power 
Hurled headlong liaraing from the ethereal sky, 
With hideous ruin and combu ition, down 
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell 
In adamantine chains and penal fire, 
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms. 

Nine times the space that measures day and night 50 
To mortal men. he, with his horrid crew, 
Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf, 
Confounded, though immortal. But his doom 
Reserved him to more wrath ; for now the thought 
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain 
Torments him : round he throws his baleful eyes, 
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay, 
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate. 
At once, as far as Angel's ken, he views 
The dismal situation waste and wild. 60 

A dungeon horrible, on all sides round. 
As one great furnace flamed ; yet from those fiames 


No light ; but rather darkness visible 

Served only to discover sights of woe, 

Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 

And rest can never dwell, hope never comes 

That comes to all, but torture without end 

Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed 

With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed. 

Such place Eternal Justice had prepared 70 

For those rebellious; here their prison ordained 

In utter darkness, and their portion set,} 

As far removed from God and light of Heaven 

As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole. 

Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell ! 

There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed 

With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, 

He soon discerns; and, weltering by his side, 

One next himself in power, and next in crime. 

Long after known in Palestine, and named ^o 

Beelzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy, 

And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words 

Breaking the horrid silence, thus began :— 

" If thou beest he— but Oh how fallen ! how changed 
From him !— who, in the happy realms of light, 
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine 
Myriads, though bright— if he whom mutual league. 
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope 
And hazard in the glorious enterprise. 
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined 90 

In equal ruin ; into what pit thou seest 
From what highth fallen: so much the stronger proved 
He with his thunder : and till then who knew 
The force of those dire arms.? Yet not for those. 
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage 
Can else inflict, do I repent, or change. 
Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind, 
And high disdain from sense of injured merit. 
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend, 
And to the fierce contention brought along ^^ 

Innumerable force of Spirits armed, 
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring, 
His utmost power with adverse power opposed 
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven, 
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost.? 
All is not lost — the unconquerable will. 
And study of revenge, immortal hate, 


And courage never to submit or yield : 
And what is else not to be overcome. 

That glory never shall his wrath or might no 

Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace 
With suppliant knee, and deify his power 
Who, from the terror of this arm, so late 
Doubted his empire — that were low indeed ; 
That were an ignominy and shame beneath 
This downfall ; since, by fate, the strength of Gods, 
And this empyreal substance, cannot fail ; 
Since, through experience of this great event. 
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced, 
We may with more successful hope resolve ,20 

To wage by force or guile eternal war, 
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe, 
Who now triumphs, and in the excess of joy 
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven." 
'^ So spake the apostate Angel, though in pain, 
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair ; 
And him thus answered soon his bold compeer: — 

"O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers 
That led the embattled Seraphim to war 
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds ,30 

Fearless, endangered Heaven's perpetual King, 
And put to proof his high supremacy. 
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate ! 
Too well 1 see and rue the dire event 
That, with sad overthrow and foul defeat, 
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host 
In horrible destruction laid thus low, 
As far as Gods and Heavenly Essences 
Can perish : for the mind and spirit remains 
Invincible, and vigor soon returns, ,40 

Though all our glory extinct, and happy state 
Here swallowed up in endless misery. 
But what if He our Conqueror (whom I now 
Of force believe almighty, since no less 
Than such could have o'erpowered such force as ours) 
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire, 
Strongly to suffer and support our pains, 
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire 
Or do him mightier service as his thralls 
By right of war, whate'er his business be, 150 

Fiere in the heart of Hell to work in fire, 
Or do his errands in the gloomy Deep? 


What can it then avail though yet we feel 
Strength undiminished, or eternal^ being 
To undergo eternal punishment?" 

Whereto with speedy words the Arch-Fiend replied :— 
•' Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable, 
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure — 
To do aught good never will be our task, 
But ever to do ill our sole delight, i6o 

As being the contrary to His high will 
Whom we resist. If then his providence 
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, 
Our labor must be to pervert that end, 
And out of good still to find means of evil ; 
Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps 
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb 
His inmost counsels from their destined aim. 
But see ! the angry Victor hath recalled 
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit 17° 

Back to the gates of Heaven : the sulphurous hail, 
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid 
The fiery surge that from the precipice 
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder, 
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage, 
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now 
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep. 
Let us not slip the occasion, whether scorn 
Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe. 

Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, '80 

The seat of desolation, void of light, 
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames 
Casts pale and dreadful.? Thither let us tend 
From off the tossing of these fiery waves; 
There rest, if any rest can harbor there ; 
And, re-assembling our afflicted powers. 
Consult how we may henceforth most offend 
Our enemy, our own loss how repair. 
How overcome this dire calamity, 

What reinforcement we may gain from hope, 190 

If not what resolution from despair." 

Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate, 
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes 
That sparkling blazed ; his other parts besides 
Prone on the flood, extended long and large, 
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge 
As whom the fables name of monstrous size, 


Titanian or Earth-born, that warred on Jove, 

Briareos or Typhon, whom the den 

By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-bea«!t 

Leviathan, which God of all his works 

Created hugest that swim the ocean-stream. 

Him, haply slumbering on the Norway foam. 

The pilot of some small night-ioundered skiff, 

Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 

With fixed anchor in his scaly rind. 

Moors by his side under the lee, while night 

Invests the sea, and wished morn delays. 

So stretched out hijip-e in length the Arch-Fiend lay, 

Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence 

Had risen, or heaved his head, but that the will 

And high permission of all-ruling Heaven 

Left him at large to his own dark designs, 

That with reiterated crimes he might 

Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 

Evil to others, and enraged might see 

How all his malice served but to bring forth 

Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shewn 

On Man by him seduced, but on himself 

Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured. 

Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool 
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames 
Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and, rolled 
In billows, leave i' the midst a horrid vale. 
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air, 
That felt unusual weight ; till on dry land 
He lights — if it were land that ever burned 
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire. 
And such appeared in hue as when the force 
Of subterranean wind transports a hill 
Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side 
Of thundering ^tna, whose combustible 
And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire. 
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds. 
And leave a singed bottom all involved 
With stench and smoke. Such resting found the sole 
Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate; 
Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood 
As gods, and by their own recovered strength, 
Not by the sufferance of supernal power. 

" Is this the region, this the soil, the clime," 


Said then the lost Archangel, " this the seat 
That we must change for Heaven? — this mournful gloom 
For that celestial light? Be it so, since He 
Who now is sovran can dispose and bid 
What shall be right : farthest from Him is best, 
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme 
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields, 
Where joy for ever dwells ! Hail, horrors ! hail, 250 

Infernal World! and thou, profoundest Hell, 
Receive thy new possessor — one who brings 
A mind not to be changed by place or time. 
/The mind is its own place, and in itself x 

I Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.; 
What matter where, if I be still the same. 
And what I should be, all but less than he 
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least 
We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built 
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence : 260 

Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice. 
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell; 
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. 
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends. 
The associates and co-partners of our loss. 
Lie thus astonished on the oblivious pool, 
And call them not to share with us their part 
In this unhappy mansion, or once more 
With rallied arms to try what may be yet 
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?" 270 

So Satan spoke ; and him Beelzebub 
Thus answered : — " Leader of those armies bright 
Which, but the Omnipotent, none could have foiled ! 
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge 
Of hope in fears and dangers — heard so oft 
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge 
Of battle, when it raged, in all assaults 
Their surest signal — they will soon resume 
New courage and revive, though now they lie 
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, 280 

As we erewhile, astounded and amazed ; 
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious highth !" 

He scarce had ceased when the superior Fiend 
Was moving toward the shore ; his ponderous shield. 
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, 
Behind him cast. The broad circumference 
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb 


Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views 

At evening, from the top of Fesole, 

Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, 290 

Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe. 

His spear— to equal which the tallest pine 

Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast 

Of some great ammiral, were but a wand — 

He walked with, to support uneasy steps 

Over the burning marie, not like those steps 

On Heaven's azure ; and the torrid clime 

Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire. 

Nathless he so endured, till on the beach 

Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called 300 

His legions — Angel Forms, who lay entranced 

Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks 

In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades 

High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge 

Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed 

Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew 

Busiris and his Memphian chivalry. 

While with perfidious hatred they pursued 

The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld 

From the safe shore their floating carcases 310 

And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown, 

Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, 

Under amazement of their hideous change. 

He called so loud that all the hollow deep 

Of Hell resounded : — " Princes, Potentates, 

Warriors, the Flower of Heaven — once yours ; now lost. 

If such astonishment as this can seize 

Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place 

After the toil of battle to repose 

Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find 320 

To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven ? 

Or in this abject posture have ye sworn 

To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds 

Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood 

With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon 

His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern 

The advantage, and, descending, tread us down 

Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts 

Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf.? — 

Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen !" ^'^ 330 

They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung 
Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch. 


On duty sleeping found by whom they dread, 

Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. 

Nor did they not perceive the evil plight 

In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel ; 

Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed 

Innumerable. As when the potent rod 

Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day, 

Waved round the coast, up-called a pitchy cloud 340 

Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind. 

That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung 

Like Night, and darkened all the land of Nile ; 

So numberless were those bad Angels seen 

Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell, 

'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding tires; 

Till, as a signal given, the uplifted spear 

Of their great Sultan waving to direct 

Their course, in even balance down they light 

On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain : 350 

A multitude like which the populous North 

Poured never from her frozen loins to pass 

Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons 

Came like a deluge on the South, and spread 

Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands. 

Forthwith, from every squadron and each band. 

The heads and leaders thither haste where stood 

Their great Commander— godlike Shapes, and Forms 

Excelling human ; princely Dignities ; 

And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones, 360 

Though of their names in Heavenly records now 

Be no memorial, blotted out and rased 

By their rebellion from the Books of Life. 

Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve 

Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the earth, 

Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man, 

By falsities and lies the greatest part 

Of mankind they corrupted to forsake 

God their Creator, and the invisible 

Glory of Him that made them to transform 370 

Oft to the image of a brute, adorned 

With gay religions full of pomp and gold. 

And devils to adore for deities : 

Then were they known to men by various names. 

And various idols through the Heathen World. 

Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last, 
Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch, 


At their great Emperor's call, as next in \v'orth 

Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, 

While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof. 380 

The chief were those who, from the pit of Hell 
Roaming to vSeek their prey on Earth, durst fix 
Their seats, long after, next the seat of God, 
Their altars by His altar, gods adored 
Among the nations round, and durst abide 
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned 
Between the Cherubim ; yea, often placed 
Within His sanctuary itself their shrines. 
Abominations ; and with cursed things 

His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned, 390 

And with their darkness durst affront His light. 
First. Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood 
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears ; 
Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud, 
Their children's cries unheard that passed through fire 
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite 
Worshiped in Rabba and her watery plain, 
In Argob and in Basan, to the stream 
Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such 
Audacious neighborhood, the wisest heart 400 

Of Solomon be led by fraud to build 
His temple right against the temple of God 
On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove 
The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence 
And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell. 
Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab's sons. 
From Aroar to Nebo and the wild 
Of southmost Abarim ; in Hesebon 
And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond 

The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines, 410 

And Eleale to the Asphaltic Pool : 
Peor his other name, when he enticed 
Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile, 
To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. 
Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged 
Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove 
Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate, 
Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell. 
With these came they who. from the bordering flood 
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts 420 

Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names 
Of Baali7)i and Ashta^-oth — those male. 


These feminine. For Spirits, when they please. 

Can either sex assume, or both ; so soft 

And uncompounded is their essence pure, 

Not tied or manacled with joint or limb. 

Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones, 

Like cumbrous flesh ; but, in what shape they choose, 

Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure. 

Can execute their aery purposes, ^ 430 

And works of love or enmity fulfil.^^ 

For those the race of Israel oft forsook 

Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left 

His righteous altar, bowing lowly down 

To bestial gods ; for which their heads, as low 

Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear 

Of despicable foes. With these in troop 

Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called 

Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns ; 

To whose bright image nightly by the moon 440 

Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs ; 

In Sion also not unsung, where stood 

Her temple on the offensive mountain, built 

By that uxorious king whose heart, though large, 

Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell 

To idols foul. Tham/nuz came next behind, 

Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured 

The Syrian damsels to lament his fate 

In amorous ditties all a summer's day, 

While smooth Adonis from his native rock 450 

Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood 

Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale 

Infected Sion's daughters with like heat. 

Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch 

Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led. 

His eye surveyed the dark idolatries 

Of alienated Judah. Next came one 

Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark 

Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off. 

In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge. 460 

Where he fell flat and shamed his worshipers : 

Dagon his name, sea-monster, upTward man 

And downward fish ; yet had his temple high 

Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast 

Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon, 

And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds. 

Him follov/ed Rimmon, whose delightful seat 


Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks 

Of Abbana and Pharphar. lucid streams. 

He also against the house of God was bold : 470 

A leper once he lost, and gained a king — 

Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drew 

God's altar to disparage and displace 

For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn 

His odious offerings, and adore the gods* 

Whom he had vanquished. After these appeared 

A crew who, under names of old renown — 

Osiris, Isis, Oriis, and their train — 

With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused 

Fanatic Egypt and her priests to seek 480 

Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms 

Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape 

The infection, when their borrowed gold composed 

The calf in Oreb ; and the rebel king 

Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan, 

Likening his Maker to the grazed ox — 

Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed 

From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke 

Both her first-born and all her bleating gods. 

Belial came last ; than whom a spirit more lewd 490 

Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love 

Vice for itself. To him no temple stood 

Or altar smoked ; yet who more oft than he 

In temples and at altars, when the priest 

Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled 

With lust and violence the house of God } 

In courts and palaces he also reigns, 

And in luxurious cities, where the noise 

Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers. 

And injury and outrage ; and, when night 500 

Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons 

Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. 

Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night 

In Gibeah, when the hospitable door 

Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape. 

These were the prime in order and in might: 
The rest were long to tell ; though far renowned 
The Ionian gods — of Javan's issue held 
Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth, 
Their boasted parents; — Titan, Heaven's first-born, 510 

With his enormous brood, and birthright seized 
By younger Saturn: he from mightier Jove, 


His "a's son, like measure found ; 

So J reigned. These, first in Crete 

And tiience on the snowy top 

Of c ruled the middle air, 

Thei iven ; or on the Delphian cliff, 

Or i id through all the bounds 

Of I )!' who with Saturn old 

Fled to the Hesperian fields, 520 

And tic roamed the utmost Isles. 

Ah taese aim more came flocking ; but with looks 
Downcast and damp ; yet such wherein appeared 
Obscure some glimpse of joy to have found their Chief 
Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 
In loss itself; which on his countenance cast 
Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride 
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore 
Semblance of worth, not s\ibstance, gently raised 
Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears: 530 

Then straight commands that, at the warlike sound 
Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared 
His mighty standard. That proud honor claimed 
Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall : 
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled 
The imperial ensign; which, full high advanced. 
Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind, 
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed. 
Seraphic arms and trophies ; all the while 
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds : 540 

At which the universal host up-sent 
A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond 
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. 
All in a moment through the gloom were seen 
Ten thousand banners rise into the air. 
With orient colors waving : with them rose 
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms 
Appeared, and serried shields in thick array 
Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move 
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood 55° 

Of flutes and soft recorders — such as raised 
To highth of noblest temper heroes old 
Arming to battle, and instead of rage 
Deliberate valor breathed, firm, and unmoved 
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat; 
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage 
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase 


Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain 
From mortal or inxmortal minds. Thus they, 
'Breathing united force with fixed thought, 560 

Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed 
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil. And row 
Advanced in view they stand — a horrid front 
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise 
Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield, 
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief 
Had to impose. He through the armed files 
Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse 
The whole battalion views — their order due. 
Their visages and stature as of gods ; 570 

Their number last he sums. And now his heart 
Distends with pride, and, hardening in his strength, 
Glories : for never, since created Man, 
Met such embodied force as, named with these, 
Could merit more than that small infantry 
Warred on by cranes — though all the giant brood 
Of Phlegra with the heroic race were joined 
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side 
Mixed with auxiliar gods ; and what resounds 
In fable or romance of Uther's son, 580 

Begirt with British and Armoric knights; 
And all who since, baptized or infidel, 
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban, 
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond, 
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore 
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell 
By Fuenterrabia. Thus far these beyond 
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed 
Their dread Commander. He, above the rest 
In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 590 

Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lost 
All her original brightness, nor appeared 
Less than Archangel ruined, and the excess 
Of glory obscured : as when the sun new-risen 
Looks through the horizontal 4nisty air 
Shorn of his beams, or, from behind the moon, 
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds 
On half the nations, and with fear of change 
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone 
Above them all the Archangel : but his face 600 

Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care 
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows 


Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride 

Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast 

Signs of remorse and passion, to behold 

The fellows of his crime, the followers rather 

(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned 

For ever now to have their lot in pain — 

Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced 

Of Heaven, and from eternal splendors flung 610 

For his revolt — yet faithful how they stood, 

Their glory withered ; as, when heaven's fire 

Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines, 

With singed top their stately growth, though bare, 

Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared 

To speak ; whereat their doubled ranks they bend 

From wing to wing, and half enclose him round 

With all his peers: Attention held them mute. 

Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn, 

Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth : at last 620 

Words interwove with sighs found out their way : — 

'• O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers 
Matchless, but with the Almighty !— and that strife 
Was not inglorious, though the event was dire, 
As this place testifies, and this dire change, 
Hateful to utter. But what power of mind. 
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth 
Of knowledge past or present, could have feared 
How such united force of gods, how such ^ 

As stood like these, could ever know repulse.^ 630 

For who can yet believe, though after loss. 
That all these puissant legions, whose exile 
Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend, 
Self-raised, and re-possess their native seat } 
For me, be witness all the host of Heaven, 
If counsels different, or danger shunned 
By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns 
Monarch in Heaven till then as one secure 
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute, 
Consent or custom, and his regal state 640 

Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed — 
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall. 
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own, 
So as not either to provoke, or dread 
New war provoked : our better part remains 
To work in close design, by fraud or guile. 
What force effected not ; that he no less 

1 8 PARADISE LOST [Uook 1. 

At length from us may find, Who overcomes 

By force hath overcome but half his foe. 

Space may produce new Worlds ; whereof so rife 650 

There went a fame in Heaven that He ere long 

Intended to create, and therein plant 

A generation whom his choice regard 

Should favor equal to the Sons of Heaven. 

Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps 

Our first eruption — thither, or elsewhere ; 

For this infernal pit shall never hold 

Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor the Abyss 

Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts 

Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired ; 660 

For who can think submission } War, then, war 

Open or understood, must be resolved." 

He spake ; and, to confirm his words, out-flew 
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs 
Of mighty Cherubim ; the sudden blaze 
Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged 
Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms 
Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war. 
Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven. 

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 670 

Belched fire and rolling smoke ; the rest entire 
Shone with a glossy scurf — undoubted sign 
That in his womb was hid metallic ore, 
The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed, 
A numerous brigad hastened : as when bands 
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed, 
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field. 
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on— 
Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell 
From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts 680 
Were always downward bent, admiring more 
The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold, 
Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed 
In vision beatific. By^ him first 
Men also, and by his suggestion taught, 
Ransacked the Centre, and with impious han4s ^ ,im,r 
Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth 
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew 
Opened into the hill a spacious wound, 
And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire 690 

That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best 
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those 


Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell 

Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, 

Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, 

And strength, and art, are easily outdone 

By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour 

What in an age they, with incessant toil 

And hands innumerable, scarce perform. 

Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared, 700 

That underneath had veins of liquid fire 

Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude 

With wondrous art founded the massy ore. 

Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross. 

A third as soon had formed within the ground 

A various mould, and from the boiling cells 

By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook ; 

As in an organ, from one blast of wind, 

To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes, 

A-non out of the earth a fabric huge 710 

Rose like an exhalation, with the sound 

Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet — 

Built like a temple, where pilasters round 

Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid 

With golden architrave ; nor did there want 

Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven: 

The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon 

Nor great Alcairo such magnificence 

Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine 

Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat 720 

Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove 

In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile 

Stood fixed her stately highth ; and straight the doors, 

Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide 

Within, her ample spaces o'er the smooth 

And level pavement : from the arched roof, 

Pendent by subtle magic, many a row 

Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed 

With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light 

As from a sky. The hasty multitude 730 

Admiring entered ; and the work some praise, 

And some the architect. His hand was known 

In Heaven by many a towered structure high, 

Where sceptred Angels held their residence, 

And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King 

Exalted to such power, and gave to rule, 

Each in his hierarchy, the Orders bright. 


Nor was his name unheard or unadored 

In ancient Greece ; and in Ausonian land 

Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell 740 

From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove 

Sheer o'er the crystal battlements : from morn 

To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, 

A summer's day, and with the setting sun 

Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star. 

On Lemnos, the yEgcean isle. Thus they relate, 

Erring; for he with this rebellious rout 

Fell long before ; nor aught availed him now 

To have built in Heaven high towers ; nor did he scape 

By all his engines, but was headlong sent, 750 

With his industrious crew, to build in Hell. " 

Meanwhile the winged Haralds, by command 
Of sovran power, with awful ceremony 
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim 
A solemn council forthwith to be held 
At Pandemonium, the high capital 
Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called 
From every band and squared regiment 
By place or choice the worthiest : they anon 
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came 760 

Attended. All access was thronged ; the gates 
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall 
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold 
Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair 
Defied the best of Panim chivalry 
To mortal combat, or career with lance). 
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air, 
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees 
In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides, 
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive 770 

In clusters ; they among fresh dews and flowers 
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank. 
The suburb of their straw-built citadel, 
New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer 
Their state affairs : so thick the aery crowd 
Swarmed and were straitened ; till, the signal given, 
Behold a wonder ! They but now who seemed 
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons, 
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room 
Throng numberless — like that pygmean race 780 

Beyond the Indian mount ; or faery elves, 
Whose midnight revels, by a forest- side 


Or fountain, some belated peasant sees, 

Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon 

Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth 

Wheels her pale course : they, on their mirth and dance 

Intent, with jocund music charm his ear; 

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. 

Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms 

Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, 

Though without number still, amidst the hail 

Of that infernal court. But far within, 

And in their own dimensions like themselves, 

The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim 

In close recess and secret conclave sat, 

A thousand demi-gods on golden seats, 

Frequent and full. After short silence then, 

And summons read, the great cousult- began. 


The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be haz- 
arded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third 
proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan — to search the truth of that 
prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of 
creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created. 
Their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search : Satan, their chief, under- 
takes alone the voyage; is honored and applauded. The council, thus ended, 
the rest betake them several ways and to several employments, as their inclina- 
tions lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his 
journey to Hell-gates ; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them ; by 
whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell 
and Heaven. With what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the 
Power of that place, to the sight of this new World which he sought. 

HIGH on a throne of royal state, which far 
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, 
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand 
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold, 
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised 
To that bad eminence; and, from despair 
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires 
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue 
Vain war with Heaven ; and, by success untaught. 
His proud imaginations thus displayed : — i 

" Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven ! — 
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold 
Immortal vigor, though oppressed and fallen, 
I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent 
Celestial Virtues rising will appear 
More glorious and more dread than from no fall, 
And trust themselves to fear no second fate !— 
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven, 
Did first create your leader — next, free choice. 
With what besides in council or in fight ■. 

Hath been achieved of merit — yet this loss, 


Thus far at least recovered, hath much more 
Estabhshed in a safe, unenvied throne. 
Yielded with full consent. The happier state 
In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw 
Envy from each inferior; but who here 
Will envy whom the highest place exposes 
Foremost to stand against the Thunderer s aim 
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share 
Of endless pain ? Where there is, then, no good 
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there 
From faction : for none sure will claim in Hell 
Precedence ; none whose portion is so small 
Of present pain that with ambitious mind 
Will covet more ! With this advantage, then, 
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord. 
More than can be in Heaven, we now return 
To claim our just inheritance of old, U jAjutA^^" 
Surer to prosper than prosperity , [ » <^ 
Could have assured us; and by what best way. 40 

Whether of open war or covert guile, ^^ 

We now debate. Who can advise may speak. /^ 
/ He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king, 
/ Stood up— the strongest and the fiercest Spirit 
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair. 
\ His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed 
I .Equal in strength, and rather than be less 
! Cared not to be at all; with that care lost 
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse, 
'He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:— 50 

" My sentence is for open war. Of wiles. 
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those 
Contrive who need, or when they need ; not now. 
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest- 
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 
The signal to ascend— sit lingering here. 
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place 
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame. 
The prison of His tyranny who reigns 
By our delay ? No ! let us rather choose, 
Arried with Hell-flames and fury, all at once 
O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way 
Turning our tortures into horrid arms 
Against the Torturer ; when, to meet the noise 
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear 
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see 



Black fire and horror shot with equal rage 

Among his Angels, and his throne itself 

Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire, 

His own invented torments. But perhaps 70 

The way seems difficult, and steep to scale 

With upright wing against a higher foe ! 

Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench 

Of that forgetful lake benumb not still. 

That in our proper motion we ascend 

Up to our native seat ; descent and fall 

To us is adverse. Who but felt of late, 

When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear 

Insulting, and pursued us through the Deep, 

With what compulsion and laborious flight 80 

We sunk thus low } The ascent is easy, then ; 

The event is feared ! Should we again provoke 

Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find 

To our destruction, if there be in Hell 

Fear to be worse destroyed ! What can be worse 

Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned 

In this abhorred deep to utter woe; 

Where pain of unextinguishable fire 

Must exercise us without hope of end 

The vassals of his anger, when the scourge 90 

Inexorably, and the torturing hour. 

Calls us to penance .'* More destroyed than thus, 

We should be quite abolished, and expire. 

What fear we then } what doubt we to incense 

His utmost ire.^ which, to the highth enraged, 

Will either quite consume us, and reduce 

To nothing this essential — happier far 

Than miserable to have eternal being! — 

Or, if our substance be indeed divine. 

And cannot cease to be, we are at worst loc 

On this side nothing; and by proof we feel 

Our power sufficieni: to disturb his Heaven, 

And with perpetual inroads to alarm. 

Though inaccessible, his fatal throne : 

Which, if not victory, is yet revenge." 

He ended frowning, and his look denounced 
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous 
To less than gods. On the other side up rose 
Belial, in act more graceful and humane. 
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed "« 

For dignity composed, and high exploit. 


But all was false and hollow; thouo;h his tongue 
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear 
The better reason, to perplex and dash 
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low — 
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds 
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear, 
And with persuasive accent thus began: — .. , 

" I should be much for open war, O Peers, 
As not behind in hate, if what was urged 120 

Main reason to persuade immediate war 
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast 
Ominous conjecture on the whole success ; 
When he who most excels in fact of arms, 
In what he counsels and in what excels 
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair 
And utter dissolution, as the scope 
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. 
First, what revenge } The towers of Heaven are filled 
With armed watch, that render all access 130 

Impregnable: oft on the bordering Deep 
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing 
Scout far and wide into the realm of Night, 
Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way 
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise 
With blackest insurrection to confound 
Heaven's purest light, yet our gt'eat Enemy, 
All incorruptible, would on his throne 
Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould. 
Incapable of stain, would soon expel 140 

Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire. 
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope 
Is flat despair: we must exasperate 
The Almighty Victor to spend all his rage; 
And that must end us ; that must be our cure — 
To be no more. Sad cure ! for who would lose. 
Though full of pain, this intellectual being, 
Those thoughts that wander through eternity. 
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost 
In the wide womb of uncreated Night, 150 

Devoid of sense and motion } And who knows, 
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe 
Can give it, or will ever.? How he can 
Is doubtful ; that he never will is sure. 
Will He, so wise, let loose at once his ire, 
Belike through impotence or unaware. 


To give his enemies their wish, and end 

Them in his anger whom his anger saves 

To punish endless? 'Wherefore cease we then?' 

Say they who counsel war ; ' we are decreed, i6o 

Reserved, and destined to eternal woe ; 

Whatever doing, what can we suffer more. 

What can we suffer worse?' Is this, then, worst — 

Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms ? 

What when we fled amain, pursued and strook 

With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought 

The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed 

A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay 

Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse. 

What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, 170 

Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, 

And plunge us in the flames ; or from above 

Should intermitted vengeance arm again 

His red right hand to plague us? What if all 

Her stores were opened, and this firmament 

Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire. 

Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall 

One day upon our heads ; while we perhaps, 

Designing or exhorting glorious war. 

Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled, 180 

Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey 

Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk 

Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains, 

There to converse with everlasting groans, 

Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved, 

Ages of hopeless end ? This would be worse. 

War, therefore, open or concealed, alike 

My voice dissuades ; for what can force or guile 

With Him, or who deceive His mind, whose eye 

Vi^ws all things at one view? He from Heaven's highth igo 

All these our motions vain sees and derides, 

Not more almighty to resist our might 

Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. 

Shall we, then, live thus vile — the race of Heaven 

Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here 

Chains and these torments? Better these than worse. 

By my advice; since fate inevitable 

Subdues us, and omnipotent decree. 

The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do, 

Our strength is equal ; nor the law unjust 200 

That so ordains. This was at first resolved. 


If we were wise, against so great a foe 

Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. 

I laugh when those who at the spear are bold 

And venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear 

What yet they know must follow — to endure 

Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain, 

The sentence of their conqueror. This is now 

Our doom ; which if we can sustain and bear. 

Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit : 

His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed, 

Not mind us not offending, satisfied 

With what is punished ; whence these raging fires 

Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. 

Our purer essence then will overcome 

Their noxious vapor ; or, inured, not feel ; 

Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed 

In temper and in nature, will receive 

Familiar the fierce heat ; and, void of pain, 

This horror will grow mild, this darkness light : : 

Besides what hope the never-ending flight 

Of future days may bring, what chance, what change 

Worth waiting — since our present lot appears 

For happy though but ill, for ill not worst. 

If we procure not to ourselves more woe." 

Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb, 
Counselled ignoole ease and peaceful sloth, 
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake: — 

" Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven 
We war, if war be best, or to regain 230 

Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then 
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield 
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife. 
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain 
The latter; for what place can be for us 
Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord Supreme 
\Vc overpower? Suppose he should relent, 
Ar.(i publish grace to all, on promise made 
<-.'* new subjection; with what eyes could we 
Stand in his presence humble, and receive 240 

Srrict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne 
H'ith warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing 
forced Halleluiahs, while he lordly sits 
Our envied sovran, and his altar breathes 
Ambrosial odors and ambrosial flowers, 
)ur servile offerings? This must be our task 



In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome 

Eternity so spent in worship paid 

To whom we hate ! Let us not then pursue, 

By force impossible, by leave obtained 250 

Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state 

Of splendid vassalage ; but rather seek 

Our own good from ourselves, and from our own 

Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess, 

Free and to none accountable, preferring 

Hard liberty before the easy yoke 

Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear 

Then most conspicuous when great things of small, 

Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse, 

We can create, and in what place soe'er 260 

Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain 

Through labor and endurance. This deep world 

Of darkness do we dread .^ How oft amidst 

Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Sire 

Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, 

And with the majesty of darkness round 

Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar. 

Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell ! 

As He our darkness, cannot we His light 

Imitate when we please? This desert soil 270 

Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; 

Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise 

Magnificence ; and what can Heaven show more ? 

Our torments also may, in length of time, 

Become our elements, these piercing fires 

As soft as now severe, our temper changed 

Into their temper; which must needs remove 

The sensible of pain. All things invite 

To peaceful counsels, and the settled state 

Of order, how in safety best we may 280 

Compose our present evils, with regard 

Of what we are and where, dismissing quite 

All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise." 

He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled 
The assembly as when hollow rocks retain 
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long 
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull 
Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance. 
Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay 

After the tempest. Such applause was heard 290 

As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased, 


Advising peace : for such another field 

They dreaded worse than Hell ; so much the fear 

Of thunder and the sword of Michael 

Wrought still within them ; and no less desire 

To found this nether empire, which might rise, 

By policy and long process of time, 

In emulation opposite to Heaven. 

Which when Beelzebub perceived — than whom, 

Satan except, none higher sat — with grave 300 

Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed 

A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven 

Deliberation sat, and public care ; 

And princely counsel jn his face yet shore, 

Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood. 

With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear 

The weight of mightiest monarchies ; his look 

Drew audience and attention still as night 

Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake : — 

" Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven, 31° 
Ethereal Virtues ! or these titles now 
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called 
Princes of Hell ? for so the popular vote 
Inclines — here to continue, and build up here 
A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream. 
And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed 
This place our dungeon — not our safe retreat 
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt 
From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league 
Banded against his throne, but to remain 320 

In strictest bondage, though thus far removed. 
Under the inevitable curb, reserved 
His captive multitude. For He, be sure, 
In highth or depth, still first and last will reign 
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part 
By our revolt, but over Hell extend 
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule 
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. 
What sit we then projecting peace and war? 
War hath determined us and foiled with loss 33° 

Irreparable ; terms of peace yet none 
Voutsafed or sought ; for what peace will be given 
To us enslaved, but custody severe, 
And stripes and arbitrary punishment 
Inflicted } and what peace can we return, 
But, to our power, hostility and hate, 


Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow, 

Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least 

May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice 

In doing what we most in suffering feel? 340 

Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need 

With dangerous expedition to invade 

Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, 

Or ambush from the Deep, What if we find 

Some easier enterprise ? There is a place 

(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven- 

Err not)— another World, the happy seat 

Of some new race, called Man, about this time 

To be created like to us, though less 

In power and excellence, but favored more 350 

Of Him who rules above; so was His will 

Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath 

That shook Heaven's whole circumference confirmed. 

Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn 

What creatures there inhabit, of what mould 

Or substance, how endued, and what their power 

And where their weakness : how attempted best. 

By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, 

And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure 

In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, 360 

The utmost border of his kingdom, left 

To their defence who hold it : here, perhaps, 

Some advantageous act may be achieved 

By sudden onset— either with Hell-fire 

To waste his whole creation, or possess 

All as our own, and drive, as we are driven. 

The puny habitants; or, if not drive. 

Seduce them to our party, that their God 

May prove their foe, and with repenting hand 

Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370 

Common revenge, and interrupt His joy 

In our confusion, and our joy upraise 

In His disturbance; when his darling sons, 

Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse 

Their frail original, and faded bliss — 

Faded so soon ! Advise if this be worth 

Attempting, or to sit in darkness here 

Hatching vain empires." Thus Beelzebub 

Pleaded his devilish counsel — first devised 

By Satan, and in part proposed : for whence, 380 

But from the author of all ill, could spring 


So deep a malice, to confound the race 

Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell 

To mingle and involve, done all to spite 

The great Creator? But their spite still serves 

His glory to augment. The bold design 

Pleased highly those Infernal States, and joy 

Sparkled in all their eyes: with full assent 

They vote : whereat his speech he thus renews : — 

" Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, 390 

Synod of Gods, and, like to what ye are, 

Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep 

Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, 

Nearer our ancient seat — perhaps in view 

Of those bright confines, whence, with neighboring arms, 

And opportune excursion, we may chance 

Re-enter Heaven ; or else in some mild zone 

Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light, 

Secure, and at the brightening orient beam 

Purge off this gloom : the soft delicious air, 400 

To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, 

Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we send 

In search of this new World.'' whom shall we find 

Sufficient.? who shall tempt with wandering feet 

The dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss, 

And through the palpable obscure find out 

His uncouth way, or spread his aery flight, 

Upborne with indefatigable wings 

Over the vast Abrupt, ere he arrive 

The happy Isle.? What strength, what art, can then 410 

Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe 

Through the strict senteries and stations thick 

Of Angels watching round } Here he had need 

All circumspection : and we now no less 

Choice in our suffrage ; for on whom we send 

The weight of all, and our last hope, relies." 

This said, he sat ; and expectation held 
His look suspense, awaiting who appeared 
To second, or oppose, or undertake 

The perilous atte»mpt. But all sat mute, 420 

Pondering the danger with deep thoughts ; and each 
In other's countenance read his own dismay. 
Astonished. None among the choice and prime 
Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found 
So hardy as to proffer or accept, 
Alone, the dreadful voyage ; till, at last. 


Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised 

Above his fellows, with monarchal pride 

Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake: — 

"O Progeny of Heaven! Empyreal Thrones! 430 

With reason hath deep silence and demur 
Seized us, though undismayed. Long is the way 
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light. 
Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire. 
Outrageous to devour, immures us round 
Ninefold ; and gates of burning adamant, 
Barred over us, prohibit all egress. 
These passed, if any pass, the void profound 
Of unessential Night receives him next. 
Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of being 440 

Threatens him. plunged in that abortive gulf. 
If thence he scape, into whatever world, 
Or unknown region, what remains him less 
Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape? 
But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, 
And this imperial sovranty, adorned 
With splendor, armed with power, if aught proposed 
And judged of public moment in the shape 
Of difficulty or danger, could deter 

Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume 450 

These royalties, and not refuse to reign. 
Refusing to accept as great a share 
Of hazard as of honor, due alike « 

To him who reigns, and so much to him due 
Of hazard more as he above the rest 
High honored sits? Go, therefore, mighty Powers, 
Terror of Heaven, though fallen ; intend at home, 
While here shall be our home, what best may ease 
The present misery, and render Hell 

More tolerable ; if there be cure or charm 460 

To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain 
Of this ill mansion : intermit no watch 
Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad 
Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek 
Deliverance for us all. This enterprise 
None shall partake with me." Thus saying, rose 
The Monarch, and prevented all reply ; 
Prudent lest, from his resolution raised, 
Others among the chief might offer now, 
Certain to be refused, what erst they feared, 470 

And, so refused, might in opinion stand 


His rivals, winning cheap the high repute 

Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they 

Dreaded not more the adventure than his voice 

Forbidding ; and at once with him they rose. 

Their rising all at once was as the sound 

Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend 

With awful reverence prone, and as a God 

Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven. 

Nor failed they to express how much they praised 480 

That for the general safety he despised 

His own : for neither do the Spirits damned 

Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast 

Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, 

Or close ambition varnished o'er with zeal. 

Thus they their doubtful consultations dark 
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief : 
As, when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds 
Ascending, w^hile the North-wind sleeps, o'erspread 
Heaven's cheerful face, the louring element 490 

Scowls o'er the darkened landskip snow or shower. 
If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet, 
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive. 
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds 
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. 
O shame to men ! Devil with devil damned 
Firm concord hoMs ; men only disagree 
Of creatures rational, though under hope 
Of heavenly grace, and, God proclaiming peace. 
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife 500 

Among themselves, and levy cruel wars 
Wasting the earth, each other to destroy : 
As if (which might induce us to accord) 
Man had not hellish foes enow besides, 
That day and night for his destruction wait! 

The Stygian council thus dissolved ; and forth 
In order came the grand Infernal Peers : 
Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed 
Alone the antagonist of Heaven, nor less 
Than Hell's dread Emperor, with pomp supreme, 510 

And god-like imitated state : him round 
A globe of fiery Seraphim enclosed 
With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms. 
Then of their session ended they bid cry 
With trumpet's regal sound the great result: v 
Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim 



Put to their mouths the sounding alchymy, 
By haralds voice explained ; the hollow Abyss 
Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell 
With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim. 520 

Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised 
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers 
Disband ; and, wandering, each his several way 
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice 
Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find 
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain 
The irksome hours, till his great Chief return. 
Part on the plain, or in the air sublime, 
Upon the wing or in swift race contend. 
As at the Olympian games or Pythian fields; 53° 

Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal 
With rapid wheels, or fronted brigads form : 
As when, to warn proud cities, war appears 
Waged in the troubled sky. and armies rush 
To battle in the clouds ; before each van 
Prick forth the aery knights, and couch their spears, 
Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms 
From either end of heaven the welkin burns. 
Others, with vast Typhoean rage, more fell, 
Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 540 

In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar:— 
As when Alcides, from GEchalia crowned 
With conquest, felt the envenomed robe, and tore 
Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines. 
And Lichas from the top of GEta threw 
Into the Euboic sea. Others, more mild, 
Retreated in a silent valley, sing 
With notes angelical to many a harp 
Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall 
By doom of battle, and complain that Fate 350 

Free Virtue should enthrall to Force or Chance. 
Their song was partial ; but the harmony 
(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing.^) 
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment 
The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet 
(For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense) 
Others apart sat on a hill retired. 
In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high 
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate- 
Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute — 560 
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost. 


Of good and evil much they argued then, 

Of happiness and final misery, 

Passion and apathy, and glory and shame : 

Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy ! — 

Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charm 

Pain for a while or anguish, and excite 

Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured breast 

With stubborn patience as with triple steel. 

Another part, in squadrons and gross bands, 570 

On bold adventure to discover wide 

That dismal world, if any clime perhaps 

Might yield them easier habitation, bend 

Four ways their flying march, along the banks 

Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge 

Into the burning lake their baleful streams — 

Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate ; 

Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep ; 

Cocytus, named of lamentation loud 

Heard on the rueful stream ; fierce Phlegeton, 580 

Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. 

F'ar off from these, a slow and silent stream, 

Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls 

Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks 

Forthwith his former state and being forgets — 

Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. 

Beyond this flood a frozen continent 

Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms 

Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land 

Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems 59° 

Of ancient pile ; all else deep snow and ice, 

A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog 

Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old. 

Where armies whole have sunk : the parching air 

Burns frore, and cold performs the effect of fire. 

Thither, by harpj'-- footed Furies haled, 

At certain revolutions all the damned 

Are brought ; and feel by turns the bitter change 

Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce, 

From beds of raging fire to starve in ice 600 

Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine 

Immovable, infixed, and frozen round 

Periods of time, — thence hurried back to fire. 

They ferry over this Lethean sound 

Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment, 

And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach 


The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose 

In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, 

All in one moment, and so near the brink ; 

But Fate withstands, and, to oppose the attempt, 6io 

Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards 

The ford, and of itself the water fiies 

All taste of living wight, as once it fled 

The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on 

In confused march forlorn, the adventurous bands, 

With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast. 

Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found 

No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale 

They passed, and many a region dolorous, 

O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp, 620 

Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death — 

A universe of death, which God by curse 

Created evil, for evil only good; 

Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds, 

Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, 

Abominable, inutterable, and worse 

Than fables yet have feigned or fear conceived, 

Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimaeras dire. 

Meanwhile the Adversary of God and Man, 
Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design, 630 

Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates of Hell 
Explores his solitary flight: sometimes 
He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left ; 
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars 
Up to the fiery concave towering high. 
As when far off at sea a fleet descried 
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds 
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles 
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring 
Their spicy drugs ; they on the trading flood, 640 

Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape, 
Ply stemming nightly toward the pole: so seemed 
Far off the flying Fiend. At last appear 
Hell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof. 
And thrice threefold the gates ; three folds were brass. 
Three iron, three of adamantine rock, 
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire. 
Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat 
On either side a formidable Shape. 

The one seemed woman to the waist, and fair, 650 

But ended foul in many a scaly fold, 


Voluminous and vast — a serpent armed 

With mortal sting. About her middle round 

A cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barked 

With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung 

A hideous peal ; yet, when they list, would creep, 

If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb. 

And kennel there; yet there still barked and howled 

Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these 

Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts 660 

Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore ; 

Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called 

In secret, riding through the air she comes, 

Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance 

With Lapland witches, while the laboring moon 

Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape — 

If shape it might be called that shape had none 

Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb; 

Or substance might be called that shadow seemed, 

For each seemed either — black it stood as Night, 670 

Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell, 

And shook a dreadful dart : what seemed his head 

The likeness of a kingly crown had on. 

Satan was now at hand, and from his seat 

The monster moving onward came as fast 

With horrid strides ; Hell trembled as he strode. 

The undaunted Fiend what this might be admired — 

Admired, not feared (God and his Son except. 

Created thing naught valued he nor shunned), 

And with disdainful look thus first began : — 6So 

" Whence and what art thou, execrable Shape, 
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance 
Thy miscreated front athwart my way 
To yonder gates? Throtigh them I mean to pass, 
That be assured, without leave asked of thee. 
Retire ; or taste thy folly, and learn by proof. 
Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heaven." 

To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied : — 
" Art thou that Traitor-Angel, art thou he. 
Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, till then 690 
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms 
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons, 
Conjured against the Highest— for which both thou 
And they, outcast from God, are here condemned 
To waste eternal days in woe and pain } 
And reckon'st thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven, 


Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here and scorn. 

Where I reign kin":, and, to enrage thee more, 

Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment, 

F'alse fugitive ; and to thy speed add wings, 700 

Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue 

Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart 

Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." 

So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape, 
So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold 
More dreadful and deform. On the other side. 
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood 
Unterrified, and like a comet burned. 
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge 
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair 7J0 

Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head 
Levelled his deadly aim ; their fatal hands 
No second stroke intend ; and such a frown 
Each cast at the other as when two black clouds, 
With heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on 
Over the Caspian, — then stand front to front 
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow 
To join their dark encounter in mid-air. 
So frowned the mighty combatants that Hell 
Grew darker at their frown ; so matched they stood ; 720 
For never but once more was either like 
To meet so great a foe. And now great deeds 
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung. 
Had not the snaky Sorceress, that sat 
Fas^- by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key, ^ 

Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between. 

"O father, what intends thy hand," she cried, 
" Against thy only son ? What fury, O son, 
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart 
Against thv father's head? And know'st for whom? 730 
For Him who sits above, and laughs the while 
At thee, ordained his drudge to execute 
Whate'er his wrath, which He calls justice, bids— 
His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both ! ' 

She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest 
Forbore: then these to her Satan returned:— 

" So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange 
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand, 
Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds 
What it intends, till first I know of thee 740 

What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why, 


In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st 
Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son. 
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now 
Sight more detestable than him and thee." 

To whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate replied: — 
" Hast thou forgot me, then ; and do I seem 
Now in thine eye so foul ? — once deemed so fair 
In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight 
Of all the Seraphim with thee combined 750 

In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King, 
All on a sudden miserable pain 

Surprised thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum v 

In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast 
Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, 
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright, 
Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed, 
Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seized 
All the host of Heaven ; back they recoiled afraid 
At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign 760 

Portentous held me; but, familiar grown, 
I pleased, and with attractive graces won 
The most averse— thee chiefly, who, full oft 
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing, 
Becam'st enamoured ; and such joy thou took'st 
With me in secret that my womb conceived 
A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, 
And fields were fought in Heaven : wherein remained 
(For what could else.^) to our Almighty Foe 
Clear victory; to our part loss andVout 770 

Through all the Empyrean. Down they fell. 
Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down 
Into this Deep ; and in the general fall 
I also: at which time this powerful key 
Into my hands was given, with charge to keep 
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass 
Without my opening. Pensiv.e here I sat 
Alone ; but long I sat not, till my womb, 
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, 
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes. 780 

At last this odious offspring, whom thou seest, 
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way, 
Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain 
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew 
Transformed ; but he my inbred enemy 
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart, 


Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death! 

Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed 

From all her caves, and back resounded Death ! 

I fled ; but he pursued (though more, it seems, 790 

Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far. 

Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed, 

And, in embraces forcible and foul 

Engendering with me, of that rape begot 

These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry 

Surround me, as thou saw'st — hourly conceived 

And hourly born, with sorrow infinite 

To me : for, when they list, into the womb 

That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw 

My bowels, their repast ; then, bursting forth 800 

Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round, 

That rest or intermission none I find. 

Before mine eyes in opposition sits 

Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets them on, 

And me, his parent, would full soon devour 

For want of other prey, but that he knows 

His end with mine involved, and knows that I 

Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane, 

Whenever that shall be : so Fate pronounced. 

But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shun 810 

His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope 

To be invulnerable in those bright arms. 

Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint. 

Save He who reigns above, none can resist.'^ 

She finished ; and the subtle Fiend his lore 
Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered smooth : — 

" Dear daughter — since thou claim'st me for thy sire. 
And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge 
Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys 
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change 820 
Befallen us unforeseen, unthought-of — know, 
I come no enemy, but to set free 
From out this dark and dismal house of pain 
Both him and thee, and all the Heavenly host 
Of Spirits that, in our just pretences armed, 
Fell with us from on high. From them I go 
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all 
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread 
The unfounded Deep, and through the void immense 
To search, with wandering quest, a place foretold 830 

Should be — and, by concurring signs, ere now 


Created vast and round — a place of bliss 

In the purlieus of Heaven ; and therein placed 

A race of upstart creatures, to supply 

Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed, 

Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude. 

Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught 

Than this more secret, now designed, I haste 

To know; and, this once known, shall soon return. 

And bring ye to the place where thou and Death 840 

Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen 

Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed 

With odors.' There ye shall be fed and filled 

Immeasurablv; all things shall be your prey." 

He ceased ; for both seemed highly pleased, and Death 
Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear 
His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw 
Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced 
His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire :— 

" The key of this infernal Pit, by due 850 

And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King. 
I keep, by Him forbidden to unlock 
These adamantine gates; against all force 
Death ready stands to interpose his dart, 
Fearless to be o'ermatched by living might. 
But what owe I to His commands above, 
Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down 
Into this gloom of Tartarus profound. 
To sit in hateful office here confined, 

Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly-born — 860 

Here in perpetual agony and pain, 
With terrors and with clamors compassed round 
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed ? 
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou 
My being gav'st me ; whom should 1 obey 
But thee? whom follow.? Thou wilt bring me soon 
To that new world of light and bliss, among 
The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign 
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems 
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end." 870 

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, 
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took ; 
And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train, 
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew. 
Which, but herself, not all the Stygian Powers 
Could once have moved ; then in the key-hole turns 


"Irhe intricate wards, and every bolt and bar 
Of massy iron or solid rock with ease 
Unfastens. On a sudden open fly, 

With impetuous recoil and jarring sound, 880 

The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate 
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook 
Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut 
Excelled her power: the gates wide open stood, 
That with extended wings a bannered host. 
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through 
With horse and chariots ranked in loose array; 
So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth 
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy fiame. 
Before their eyes in sudden view appear 890 

The secrets of the hoary Deep— a dark 
Illimitable ocean, without bound, 

Without dimension ; where length, breadth, and highth, 
And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night 
And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold 
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise 
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand. 
For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions fierce, 
Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring 
Their embryon atoms : they around the flag 900 

Of each his faction, in their several clans. 
Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow, 
Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands 
Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil, 
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise 
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere 
He rules a moment : Chaos umpire sits. 
And by decision more embroils the fray 
By which he reigns : next him, high arbiter. 
Chance governs all. Into this wild Abyss, 910 

The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave, 
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire, 
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed 
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight, 
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain 
His dark materials to create more worlds — 
Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend 
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while, 
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith 
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed 920 

With noises loud and ruinous (to compare 


Great things with small) than when Bellona storms 

With all her battering engines, bent to rase 

Some capital city ; or less than if this frame 

Of heaven were falling, and these elements 

In mutiny had from her axle torn 

The steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans 

He spreads for flight, and, in the surging smoke 

Uplifted, spurns the ground ; thence many a league. 

As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides 930 

Audacious ; but, that seat soon failing, meets 

A vast vacuity. All unawares. 

Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb-down he drops 

Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour 

Down had been falling, had not, by ill chance, 

The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud, 

Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him 

As many miles aloft. That fury stayed — 

Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea, 

Nor good dry land — nigh foundered, on he fares, 940 

Treading the crude consistence, half on foot. 

Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail. 

As when a gryphon through the wilderness 

With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale, 

Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth 

Had from his wakeful custody purloined 

The guarded gold ; so eagerly the Fiend 

O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare. 

With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, 

And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies. 950 

At length a universal hubbub wild 

Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused, 

Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear 

With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies 

Undaunted, to meet there whatever Power 

Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss 

Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask 

Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies 

Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne 

Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread 960 

Wide on the wasteful Deep ! With him enthroned 

Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things. 

The consort of his reign ; and by them stood 

Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name 

Of Demogorgon ; Rumor next, and Chance, 

And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled. 


And Discord, with a thousand various mouths. 

To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus :— " Ye Powers 
And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss, 

Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy 970 

With purpose to explore or to disturb ' J 

The secrets of your realm ; but, by constraint |l| 

Wandering this darksome desert, as my way- 
Lies through your spacious empire up to light, 
Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek. 
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds 
Confine with Heaven; or, if some other place, , . 

From your dominion won, the Ethereal King 11 

Possesses lately, thither to arrive 1 

I travel this profound. Direct my course: 980 

Directed, no mean recompense it brings 
To your behoof, if I that region lost, 
All usurpation thence expelled, reduce 
To her original darkness and your sway 
(Which is my present journey), and once more 
Erect the standard there of ancient Night. 
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge !" 

Thus Satan ; and him thus the Anarch old. 
With faltering speech and visage incomposed. 
Answered : — " I know thee, stranger, who thou art — 990 
That mighty leading Angel, who of late 
Made head against Heaven's King, though overthrown. 
I saw and heard ; for such a numerous host 
Fled not in silence through the frighted Deep, 
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout. 
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates 
Poured out by millions her victorious bands. 
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here 
Keep residence ; if all I can will serve 

That little which is left so to defend, 1000 

Encroached on still through our intestine broils 
Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first. Hell. 
Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath ; 
Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world 
Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain 
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell I 
If that way be your walk, you have not far; 
So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed ; 
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain." 

He ceased ; and Satan staid not to reply, loio 

But, glad that now his sea should find a shore. 


With fresh alacrity and force renewed 

Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, 

Into the wild expanse, and through the shock 

Of fighting elements, on all sides round 

Environed, wins his way; harder beset 

And more endangered than when Argo passed 

Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks, 

Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned 

Charybdis, and by the other Whirlpool steered. 1020 

So he with difficulty and labor hard 

Moved on. With difficulty and labor he; 

But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell, 

Strange alteration ! Sin and Death amain. 

Following his track (such was the will of Heaven) 

Paved after him a broad and beaten way 

Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulf 

Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length. 

From Hell continued, reaching the utmost Orb 

Of this frail World ; by which the Spirits perverse 1030 

With eas}?- intercourse pass to and fro 

To tempt or punish mortals, except whom 

God and good Angels guard by special grace. 

But now at last the sacred influence 
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven 
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night 
A glimmering dawn. Here Nature first begins 
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire, 
As from her outmost works, a broken foe, 
With tumult less and with less hostile din ; 1040 

That Satan, with less toil, and now with ease, 
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, 
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds 
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn ; 
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, 
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold 
Far ofif the empyreal Heaven, extended wide 
In circuit, undetermined square or round. 
With opal towers and battlements adorned 
Of living sapphire, once his native seat, 1050 

And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain, 
This pendent World, in bigness as a star 
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. 
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, 
Accurst, and in a cursed hour, he hies. , 

:©ooft -ffiiii 


God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this World, then newly 
created; shows 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 seduced. 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 rMan hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring 
to Godhead, and therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must die, un- 
lessVome one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his 
punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom 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 their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father and the Son4 Mean- 
while Satan alights upon the bare convex of this World's outermost orb; where 
wandering he first finds a place since called the Limbo of Vanity ; what persons 
and things fly up thither: thence comes to the gate of Heaven, described ascend- 
ing by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it. His passage 
thence to the orb of the Sun: he finds there Uri el, the reg ent of that orb ^ but 
first changes himself into the shape of a meaner A-ngel,and, pret^'IKURg h. zealous 
desire to behold the new Creation, and Man whom God had placed here, in- 
quires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed : Alights first on Mount 

HAIL, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born ! 
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam 
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light, 
And never but in unapproached light 
Dwelt from eternity— dwelt then in thee, 
Bright effluence of bright essence increate ! 
Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream. 
Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the Sun, 
Before the Heavens, thou wert, and at the voice 
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest 
The rising World of waters dark and deep. 
Won from the void and formless Infinite! 
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing. 
Escaped the Stygian Pool, though long detained 
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight. 
Through utter and through middle Darkness borne, 
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre 



I sung of Chaos and eternal Night, 

Taught by the Heavenly Muse to venture down 

The^dark descent, and up to re-ascend, 

Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe, 

And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou 

Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain 

To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn ; 

So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs, 

Or dim suftusion veiled. Yet not the more 

Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt 

Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, 

Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief 

Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, 

That'wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow, 

Nicrhtly I visit: nor sometimes forget 

Tliose other two equalled with me in fate, 

So were I equalled with them in renown, 

Blind Thamyris and blind Maeonides, 

And Tiresias and Phineus. prophets old : 

Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move 

Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird 

Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid. 

Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year 40 

Seasons return ; but not to me returns 

Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn 

Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, 

Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; 

But cloud instead and ever-during dark 

Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men 

Cut off. and, for the book of knowledge fair. 

Presented with a universal blank 

Of Nature's works, to me expunged and rased. 

And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. 50 

So much the rather thou, Celestial Light, 

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers 

Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence 

Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell 

Of things invisible to mortal sight. 

Now had the Almighty Father from above, 
From the pure Empyrean v/here He sits 
High throned above all highth, bent down his eye. 
His own works and their works at' once to view : 
About him all tli^ Sanctities of Heaven 6c 

Stood thick a3i««jyj|||^ and from his sight received 
Beatitude past uWpince ; on his right 


The radiant image of his glory sat, 

His only Son. On Earth he first beheld 

Our two first parents, yet the only two 

Of mankind, in the Happy Garden placed, 

Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, 

Uninterrupted joy, unrivalled love, 

In blissful solitude. He then surveyed 

Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there 70 

Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night, 

In the dun air sublime, and ready now 

To stoop, with wearied wings and willing feet, 

On the bare outside of this World, that seemed 

Firm land imbosomed without firmament. 

Uncertain w^hich, in ocean or in air. 

Him God beholding from his prospect high, 

Wherein past, present, future, he beholds. 

Thus to His only Son foreseeing spake : — 

" Only-begotten Son, seest thou what rage 80 

Transports our Adversary.^ whom no bounds 
Prescribed, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains 
Heaped on him there, nor yet the main Abyss 
Wide interrupt, can hold ; so bent he seems 
On desperate revenge, that shall redound 
Upon his own rebellious head. And now. 
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way 
Not far off Heaven, in the precincts of light, 
Directly towards the new-created World, 
And Man there placed, with purpose to assay 90 

If him by force, he can destroy, or, worse. 
By some false guile pervert: And shall pervert; 
For Man will hearken to his glozing lies, 
And easily transgress the sole command. 
Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall 
He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault.? 
Whose but his own } Ingrate, he had of me 
All he could have ; I made him just and right, 
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. 
Such I created all the Ethereal Powers loc 

And Spirits, both them who stood and them who failed; 
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. 
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere 
Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love, 
Where only what they needs must do appeared, 
Not what they would ? What praise could they receive, 
What pleasure I, from such obedience paid, 


When Will and Reason (Reason also is Choice), 

Useless and vain, of freedom both despoiled, 

Made passive both, had served Necessity, no 

Not Me ? They, therefore, as to right belonged 

So were created, nor can justly accuse 

Their Maker, or their making, or their fate. 

As if Predestination overruled 

Their will, disposed by absolute decree 

Or high foreknowledge. They themselves decreed 

Their own revolt, not I. If I foreknew, 

Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault. 

Which had no less proved certain unforeknown. 

So without least impulse or shadow of fate, 120 

Or aught by me immutably foreseen, 

They trespass, authors to themselves in all. 

Both what they judge and what they choose ; for so 

I formed them free, and free they must remain 

Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change 

Their nature, and revoke the high decree 

Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained 

Their freedom ; they themselves ordained their fall. 

The first sort by their own suggestion fell. 

Self-tempted, self-depraved ; Man falls, deceived 130 

By the other first : Ma-n, therefore, shall find grace ; 

The other, none. In mercy and justice both, 

Through Heaven ard Earth, so shall my glory excel ; 

But mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine." 

Thus while God spake ambrosial fragrance filled 
All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect 
Sense of new joy ineffable diffused. 
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen 
Most glorious ; in him all his Father shone 
Substantially expressed ; and in his face 140 

Divine compassion visibly appeared, 
Love without end, and without measure grace; 
Which uttering, thus He to His father spake : — 

" O Father, gracious was that word which closed 
Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace ; 
For which both Heaven and Earth shall high extol 
Thy praises, with the innumerable sound 
Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne 
Encompassed shall resound thee ever blest. 
For, should Man finally be lost — should Man, 150 

Thy creature late so loved, thy youngest son, 
Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joined 


With his own folly — ! That be from thee far. 

That far be from thee, Father, who art judge 

Of all things made, and judgest only right! 

Or shall the Adversary thus obtain 

His end, and frustrate thine? shall he fulfil 

His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught 

Or proud return, though to his heavier doom 

Yet with revenge accomplished, and to Hell i6o 

Draw after him the whole race of mankind, 

By him corrupted ? Or wilt thou thyself 

Abolish thy creation, and unmake. 

For him. what for thy glory thou hast made? — 

So should thy goodness and thy greatness both 

Be questioned and blasphemed without defence." 

To whom the great Creator thus replied : — 
"O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, 
Son of my bosom, Son who art alone 

My word, my wisdom, and effectual might, 170 

All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all 
As my eternal purpose hath decreed. 
Man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will ; 
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me 
Freely voutsafed. Once more I will renew 
His lapsed powers, though forfeit, and enthralled 
By sin to foul exorbitant desires : 
Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand 
On even ground against his mortal foe — 
By me upheld, that he may know how frail 180 

His fallen condition is, and to me owe 
All his deliverance, and to none but me. 
Some I have chosen of peculiar grace, 
Elect above the rest ; so is my will : 
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warned 
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes 
The incensed Deity, while offered grace 
Invites; for I will clear their senses dark 
What may suffice, and soften stony hearts 
To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. 190 

To prayer, repentance, and obedience due, 
Though but endeavored with sincere intent, 
Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. 
And I will place within them as a guide 
My umpire Conscience ; whom if they will hear. 
Light after light well used they shall attain, 
And to the end persisting safe arrive. 


This my long sufferance, and my day of grace, 

They who neglect and scorn shall never taste; 

But hard be hardened, blind be blinded more, 

That they may stumble on, and deeper fall; 

And none but such from mercy I exclude. — 

But yet all is not done. Man disobeying, 

Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins 

Against the high supremacy of Heaven, 

Affecting Godhead, and, so losing all. 

To expiate his treason hath naught left, 

But, to destruction sacred and devote. 

He with his whole posterity must die; — 

Die he or Justice must ; unless for him 

Some other, able, and as willing, pay 

The rigid satisfaction, death for death. 

Say, Heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love } 

Which of ye will be mortal, to redeem 

Man's mortal crime, and just, the unjust to save .^ 

Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear.^" 

He asked, but all the Heavenly Quire stood mute. 
And silence was in Heaven : on Man's behalf 
Patron or intercessor none appeared — 
Much less that durst upon his own head draw : 

The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set. 
And now without redemption all mank'nd 
Must have been lost, adjudged to Death and Hell 
By doom severe, had not the Son of God, 
In whom the fulness dwells of love divine. 
His dearest mediation thus renewed : — 

" Father, thy word is passed, Man shall find grace; 
And shall Grace not find means, that finds her way, 
The speediest of thy winged messengers. 
To visit all thy creatures, and to all 
Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought? 
Happy for Man, so coming I He her aid 
Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost — 
Atonement for himself, or offering meet. 
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring. 
Behold me, then: me for him, life for life. 
I offer; on me let thine anger fall; 
Account me Man : I for his sake will leave 
Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee 
Freely put off", and for him lastly die 
Well pleased ; on me let Death wreak all his rage. 
Under his gloomy power I shall not long 


Lie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possess 

Life in myself for ever; by thee I live; 

Though now to Death I yield, and am his due, 

All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid. 

Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave 

His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul 

For ever with corruption there to dwell ; 

But I shall rise victorious, and subdue 250 

My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil. 

iDeath his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop 

Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed ; 

I through the ample air in triumph high 

Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show 

The powers of Darkness bound. Thou, at the sight 

Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile, 

While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes — 

Death last, and with his carcase glut the grave; 

Then, with the multitude of my redeemed, 2f>o 

Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return. 

Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud 

Of anger shall remain, but peace assured 

And reconcilement : wrath shall be no more 

Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire." 

His words here ended; but his meek aspect 
Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love 
To mortal men, above which only shone 
Filial obedience: as a sacrifice 

Glad to be offered, he attends the will 270 

Of his great Father. Admiration seized 
All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend, 
Wondering; but soon the Almighty thus replied: — 

" O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace 
Found out for mankind under wrath, O thou 
My sole complacence I well thou know'st how dear 
To me are all my works ; nor Man the least, 
Though last created, that for him I spare 
Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, 
By losing thee a while, the whole race lost I 280 

Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem, 
Their nature also to thy nature join ; 
And be thyself Man among men on Earth, 
Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed. 
By wondrous birth ; be thou in Adam's room 
The head of all mankind, though Adam's son. 
As in him perish all men, so in thee. 


As from a second root, shall be restored 

As many as are restored ; without thee, none. 

His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit, 290 

Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce 

Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, 

And live in thee transplanted, and from thee 

Receive new life. So Man, as is most just, 

Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die. 

And dying rise, and, rising, with him. raise 

His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life. 

So Heavenly love shall outdo Hellish hate. 

Giving to death, and dying to redeem, 

So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate 300 

So easily destroyed, and still destroys 

In those who, when they may, accept not grace. 

Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume 

Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own. 

Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss 

Equal to God, and equally enjoying 

God-like fruition, quitted all to save 

A world from utter loss, and hast been found 

By merit more than birthright Son of God, — 

Found worthiest to be so by being good, 310 

Far more than great or high ; because in thee 

Love hath abounded more than glory abounds; 

Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt 

With thee thy manhood also to this throne : 

Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign 

Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man, 

Anointed universal King. All power 

I give thee ; reign for ever, and assume 

Thy merits; under thee, as Head Supreme, 

Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce: 320 

All knees to thee shall bow of them that bide 

In Heaven, or Earth, or, under Earth, in Hell. 

When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven, 

Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send 

The summoning Archangels to proclaim 

Thy dread tribunal, forthwith from all winds 

The living, and forthwith the cited dead 

Of all past ages, to the general doom 

Shall hasten ; such a peal shall rouse their sleep. 

Then, all thy Saints assembled, thou shalt judge 330 

Bad men and Angels ; they arraigned shall sink 

Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full, 


Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Meanwhile 

The World shall burn, and from her ashes spring 

New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell, 

And, after all their tribulations long, 

See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds, 

With Joy and Lov^e triumphing, and fair Truth. 

Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by ; 

For regal sceptre then no more shall need ; 340 

God shall be all in all. But all ye Gods, 

Adore him who, to compass all this, dies; 

Adore the Son, and honor him as me." 

No sooner had the Almighty ceased but — all 
The multitude of Angels, with a shout 
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet 
As from blest voices, uttering joy — Heaven rung 
With jubilee, and loud hosannas filled 
The eternal regions. Lowly reverent 

Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground 350 
With solemn adoration down they cast 
Their crowns, inwove with amarant and gold, — 
Immortal amarant, a flower which once 
In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life, 
Began to bloom, but, soon for Man's offence 
To Heaven removed where first it grew, there grows 
And flowers aloft, shading the Fount of Life, 
And where the River of Bliss through midst of Heaven 
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream ! 
With these, that never fade, the Spirits elect 360 

Bind their resplendent locks, inwreathed with beams. 
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright 
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone, 
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled. 
Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took — 
Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side 
Like quivers hung ; and with preamble sweet 
Of charming symphony they introduce 
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high : 
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join 370 

Melodious part; such concord is in Heaven. 

Thee, Father, first they sung, Omnipotent, 
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite, 
Eternal King; thee. Author of all being, 
Fountain of light,, thyself invisible 
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st 
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shad'st 


The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud 

Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine 

Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear, 380 

Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest Seraphim 

Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes. 

Thee next they sang, of all creation first. 

Begotten Son, Divine Similitude, 

In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud 

Made visible, the Almighty Father shines, 

Whom else no creature can behold : on thee 

Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides; 

Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests. 

He Heaven of Heavens, and all the Powers therein, 390 

By thee created ; and by thee threw down 

The aspiring Dominations. Thou that day 

Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare, 

Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook 

Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks 

Thou drov'st of warring Angels disarrayed. 

Back from pursuit, thy Powers with loud acclaim 

Thee only extolled. Son of thy Father's might, 

To execute fierce vengeance on his foes. 

Not so on Man : him, through their malice fallen, 400 

Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom 

So strictly, but much more to pity incline. 

No sooner did thy dear and only Son 

Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man 

So strictly, but much more to pity inclined. 

He, to appease thy wrath, and end the strife 

Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned. 

Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat 

Second to thee, ofifered himself to die 

For Man's offence. O unexampled love ! 410 

Love nowhere to be found less than Divine ! 

Hail, Son of God, Saviour of men ! Thy name 

Shall be the copious matter of my song 

Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise 

Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin ! 

Thus they in Heaven, above the Starry Sphere, 
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent. 
Meanwhile, upon the firm opacous globe 
Of this round World, whose first convex divides 
The luminous inferior Orbs, enclosed 420 

From Chaos and the inroad of Darkness old, 
Satan alighted walks. A globe far off 


It seemed; now seems a boundless continent, 

Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night 

Starless exposed, and ever- threatening storms 

Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky, 

Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, 

Though distant far, some small reflection gains 

Of glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud. 

Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field. 430 

As when a vulture, on Imaus bred. 

Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, 

Dislodging from a region scarce of prey. 

To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids 

On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs 

Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams. 

But in his way lights on the barren plains 

Of Sericana, where Chineses drive 

With sails and wind their cany waggons light; 

So, on this windy sea of land, the Fiend 440 

Walked up and down alone, bent on his prey : 

Alone, for other creature in this place, 

Living or lifeless, to be found was none ; — 

None yet ; but store hereafter from the Earth 

Up hither like aerial vapors flew 

Of all things transitory and vain, when sin 

With vanity had filled the works of men — 

Both all things vain, and all who in vain things 

Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame, 

Or happiness in this or the other life. 450 

All who have their reward on earth, the fruits 

Of painful superstition and blind zeal. 

Naught seeking but the praise of men, here find 

Fit retribution, empty as their deeds ; 

All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand, 

Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed. 

Dissolved on Earth, fleet hither, and in vain. 

Till final dissolution, wander here — 

Not in the neighboring Moon, as some have dreamed : 

Those argent fields more likely habitants. 460 

Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold, 

Betwixt the angelical and human kind. 

Hither, of ill-joined sons and daughters born. 

First from the ancient world those Giants came. 

With many a vain exploit, though then renowned : 

The builders next of Babel on the plain 

Of Sennaar, and still with vain design 


New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build : 
Others came single ; he who, to be deemed 
A god, leaped fondly into ^tna flames, 470 

Empedocles ; and he who, to enjoy 
Plato's Elysium, leaped into the sea, 
Cleombrotus ; and many more, too long, 
^Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars. 
White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery. 
Here pilgrims roam, that strayed so far to seek 
In Golgotha him dead who lives in Heaven ; 
And they who, to be sure of Paradise, 
Dying put on the weeds of Dominic, 

Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised. X C^^^^^^-t^ 480 

They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed. 
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs 
The trepidation talked, and that first moved ; 

And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems 

To wait them with his keys, and now at foot 

Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when, lo ! 

A violent cross wind from either coast 

Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry. 

Into the devious air. Then might ye see 

Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost 490 

And fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads, 

Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, 

The sport of winds : all these, upwhirled aloft. 

Fly o'er the backside of the World far off 

Into a Limbo large and broad, since called 

The Paradise of Fools; to few unknown 

Long after, now unpeopled and untrod. 

All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed ; 

And long he wandered, till at last a gleam 

Of dawning light turned thitherward in haste 500 

His travelled steps. Far distant he descries, 

Ascending by degrees magnificent 

Up to the wall of Heaven, a structure high; 

At top whereof, but far more rich, appeared 

The work as of a kingly palace-gate, 

With frontispiece of diamond and gold 

Embellished ; thick with sparkling orient gems 

The portal shone, inimitable on Earth 

By model, or by shading pencil drawn. 

The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw 5^0 

Angels ascending and descending, bands 

Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled 

58 PARADISE LOST [Book 111. 

To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz 

Dreaming by night under the open sky, 

And waking cried, This is the gate of Heaven. 

Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood 

There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes 

Viewless ; and underneath a bright sea flowed 

Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon 

Who after came from Earth sailing arrived 520 

Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake 

Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. 

The stairs were then let down, whether to dare 

The Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate 

His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss: 

Direct against which opened from beneath. 

Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise, 

A passage down to the Earth — a passage wide ; 

Wider by far than that of after-times 

Over Mount Sion, and, though that were large, ' 530 

Over the Promised Land to God so dear. 

By which, to visit oft those happy tribes. 

On high behests his Angels to and fro 

Passed frequent, and his eye with choice regard 

From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood, 

To Beersaba, where the Holy Land 

Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore. 

So wide the opening seemed, where bounds were set 

To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave. 

Satan from hence, now on the lower stair, 540 

That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate, 

Looks down with wonder at the sudden view 

Of all this world at once. As when a scout. 

Through dark and desert ways with peril gone 

All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn 

Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill. 

Which to his eye discovers unaware 

The goodly prospect of some foreign land 

First seen, or some renowned metropolis 

With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned, 550 

Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams ; 

Such wonder seized, though after Heaven seen. 

The Spirit malign, but much more envy seized. 

At sight of all this World beheld so fair. 

Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood 

So high above the circling canopy 

Of Night's extended shade) from eastern point 


Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears 

Andromeda far off Atlantic seas 

Beyond the horizon ; then from pole to pole 560 

He views in breadth— and, without longer pause, 

Down right into the World's first region throws 

His flio-ht precipitant, and winds with ease 

Through the pure marble air his oblique way 

Amongst innumerable stars, that shone 

Stars distant, but nigh-hand seemed other worlds. 

Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles. 

Like those Hesperian Gardens famed of old. 

Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales ; 

Thrice happy isles! But who dwelt happy there 570 

He staid not to inquire: above them all 

The golden Sun, in splendor likest Heaven, 

Allured his eye. Thither his course he bends, 

Through the calm firmament (but up or down, 

By centre or eccentric, hard to tell. 

Or longitude) where the great luminary. 

Aloof the vulgar constellations thick. 

That from his lordly eye keep distance due. 

Dispenses light from far. They, as they move 

Their starry dance in numbers that compute 580 

Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering lamp 

Turn swift their various motions, or are turned 

By his magnetic beam, that gently warms 

The Universe, and to each inward part 

With gentle penetration, though unseen. 

Shoots invisible virtue even to the Deep; 

So wondrously was set his station bright. 

There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps 

Astronomer in the Sun's lucent orb 

Through his glazed optic tube yet never saw. 59° 

The pface he found beyond expression bright. 

Compared with aught on Earth, metal or stone- 
Not all parts like, but all alike informed 

With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire. 

If metal, part seemed gold, part silver clear ; 

If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite, 

Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone 

In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides. 

Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen— 

That stone, or like to that, which here below 600 

Philosophers in vain so long have sought ; 

In vain, though by their powerful art they bind 


Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound 

In various shapes old Proteus from the sea, 

Drained through a limbec to his native form. 

What wonder then if fields and regions here 

Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run 

Potable gold, when, with one virtuous touch, 

The arch-chemic Sun, so far from us remote, 

Produces, with terrestrial humor mixed, 6io 

Here in the dark so many precious things 

Of color glorious and effect so rare? 

Here matter new to gaze the Devil met 

Undazzled, Far and wide his eye commands ; 

For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade. 

But all sunshine, as when his beams at noon 

Culminate from the equator, as they now 

Shot upward still direct, whence no way round 

Shadow from body opaque can fall ; and the air, 

Nowhere so clear, sharpened his visual ray 620 

To objects distant far, whereby he soon 

Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand, 

The same w^hom John saw also in the Sun. 

His back was turned, but not his brightness hid ; 

Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar 

Circled his head, nor less his locks behind 

Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings 

Lay waving round : on some great charge employed 

He seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep. 

Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hope 630 

To find who might direct his wandering flight 

To Paradise, the happy seat of Man, 

His journey's end, and our beginning woe. 

But first he casts to change his proper shape, 

Which else might work him danger or delay : 

And now a stripling Cherub he appears, 

Not of the prime, yet such as in his face 

Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb 

Suitable grace diffused ; so well he feigned. 

Under a coronet his flowing hair 640 

In curls on either cheek played ; wings he wore 

Of many a colored plume sprinkled with gold, 

His habit fit for speed succinct, and held 

Before his decent steps a silver wand. 

He drew not nigh unheard ; the Angel bright, 

Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned. 

Admonished by his ear, and straight was known 


The Archangel Uriel — one of the seven 

Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, 

Stand ready at command, and are his eyes 650 

That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Earth 

Bear his swift errands over moist and dry, 

O'er sea and land. Him Satan thus accosts: — 

" Uriel ! for thou of those seven Spirits that stand 
In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 
The first art wont his great authentic will 
Interpreter through highest Heaven to bring. 
Where all his Sons thy embassy attend. 
And here art likeliest by supreme decree 
Like honor to obtain, and as his eye 660 

To visit oft this new Creation round — 
Unspeakable desire to see and know 
All these his wondrous works, but chiefly Man, 
His chief delight and favor, him for whom 
All these his works so wondrous he ordained. 
Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim 
Alone thus wandering. Brightest Seraph, tell 
In which of all these shining orbs hath Man 
His fixed seat — or fixed seat hath none, 
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell — 670 

That I may find him, and with secret gaze 
Or open admiration him behold 
^On whom the great Creator hath bestowed 
Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces poured; 
That both in him and all things, as is meet, 
The Universal Maker we may praise ; 
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes 
To deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss. 
Created this new happy race of Men 
To serve him better : Wise are all his ways !" 680 

So spake the false dissembler unperceived ; 
For neither man nor angel can discern 
Hypocrisy — the only evil that walks 
Invisible, except to God alone, 

By his permissive will, througli Heaven and Earth; 
And oft, though Wisdom wake, Suspicion sleeps 
At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity 
Resigns her charge, while Goodness thinks no ill 
Where no ill seems : which now for once beguiled 
Uriel, though Regent of the Sun, and held 690 

The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven ; 
Who to the fraudulent impostor foul, 


In his uprightness, answer thus returned : — 

" Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to know 
The works of God, thereby to glorify 
The great Work-master, leads to no excess 
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise 
The more it seems excess, that led thee hither 
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone. 
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps, 700 

Contented with report, hear only in Heaven : 
For wonderful indeed are all his works, 
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all 
Had in remembrance always with delight ! 
But what created mind can comprehend 
Their number, or the wisdom infinite 
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? 
I saw when, at his word, the formless mass, 
This World's material mould, came to a heap : 
Confusion heard his voice, and wild Uproar 710 

Stood ruled, stood vast Infinitude confined ; 
Till, at his second bidding. Darkness fled. 
Light shone, and order from disorder sprung. 
Swift to their several quarters hasted then 
The cumbrous elements — Earth, Flood, Air, Fire; 
And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven 
Flew upward, spirited with various forms. 
That rolled orbicular, and turned to stars 
Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move : 
Each had his place appointed, each his course ; 720 

The rest in circuit walls this Universe. 
Look downward on that globe, whose hither side 
With light from hence, though but reflected, shines : 
That place is Earth, the seat of Man ; that light 
His day, which else, as the other hemisphere. 
Night would invade ; but there the neighboring Moon 
(So call that opposite fair star) her aid 
Timely interposes, and, her monthly round 
Still ending, still renewing, through mid-heaven, 
With borrowed light her countenance triform 730 

Hence fills and empties, to enlighten the Earth, 
And in her pale dominion checks the night. 
That spot to which I point is Paradise, 
Adam's abode; those lofty shades his bower. 
Thy way thou canst not miss ; me mine requires," 

Thus said, he turned ; and Satan, bowing low, 
As to superior Spirits is wont in Heaven, 


Where honor due and reverence none neglects, 
Took leave, and towards the coast of Earth beneath, 
Down from the ecliptic, sped with hoped success, 740 

Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel, 
Nor staid till on Niphates' top he lights. 


Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt 
the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God and Man, falls into 
many doubts with himself, and many passions — fear, envy, and despair ; but at 
length confirms himself in evil ; journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect 
apd situation is described ; overleaps the bounds ; sits, in the shape of a cormo- 
rant, on the Tree of Life, as highest in the Garden, to look about him. The Gar- 
den described ; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve ; his wonder at their excellent 
form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall ; overhears their dis- 
course ; thence gathers that the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden them to eat of 
under penalty of death, and thereon intends to found his temptation by seducing 
them to transgress; then leaves them awhile, to know further of their state by 
some other means. Meanwhile Uriel, descending on a sunbeam, warns Gabriel,*- 
who had in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil Spirit had escaped the 
Deep, and passed at noon by his Sphere, in the shape of a good Angel, down to 
Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the mount. Gabriel promises 
to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to 
their rest : their bower described ; their evening worship. Gabriel, drawing forth 
his bands of night-watch to walk the rounds of Paradise, appoints two strong 
Angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil Spirit should be there doing some harin to 
Adam or Eve sleeping: there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a 
dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom questioned, he 
scornfully answers ; prepares resistance ; but, hindered by a sign from Heaven, 
flies out of Paradise. 

OFOR that warning voice, which he who saw 
The Apocalypse heard cry in Heav^en aloud. 
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout. 
Came furious down to be revenged on men, 
IVoe to the iiihabitants on Eai-th! that now. 
While time was, our first parents had been warned 
The coming of their secret foe, and scaped. 
Haply so scaped, his mortal snare ! For now 
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down, 
The tempter, ere the accuser, of mankind, = 

To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss 
Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell. 
Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold 
Far ofif and fearless, nor with cause to boast. 
Begins his dire attempt; which, nigh the birth 
Now rolling, boils in his tumultuous breast, 
And like a devilish engine back recoils 
Upon himself. Horror and doubt distract 


His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir 

The hell within him. ; for within him Hell 20 

He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell 

One step, no more than from himself, can fly 

By change of place. Now conscience wakes,_^;e^air 

That slumbered ; wakes the bitter memory 

Of what he was, what is, and what must be 

Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue ! 

Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view 

Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad ; 

Sometimes towards Heaven and the full-blazing Sun, 

Which now sat high in his meridian tower : 30 

Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began :— 

'-' O thou that, with surpassing glory crowned, 
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god 
Of this new World— at whose sight all the stars 
Hide their diminished heads— to thee I call, 
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, 

Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams, 
That bring to my remembrance from what state 

1 fell, how glorious once above thy sphere. 

Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, 40 

Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King ! 
Ah, wherefore? He deserved 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 recompense, and pay him thanks. 
How due ? Yet all his good proved ill in me. 
And wi ought but malice. Lifted up so high, 
I sdained subjection, and thought one step higher 50 

Would set me highest, and in a moment quit 
The debt immense of endless gratitude, 
So burdensome, still paying, still to owe ; 
Forgetful what from him I still received ; 
And understood not that a grateful mind 
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once 
Indebted and discharged — what burden then ? 
Oh, had his powerful destiny ordained 
Me some inferior Angel, I had stood 

Then happy ; no unbounded hope had raised 60 

Ambition. Yet why not ? Some other Power 
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, 
Drawn to his part. But other Powers as great 


Fell not. but stand unshaken, from within 
Or from without to all temptations armed I 
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand ? 
Thou hadst. Whom hast thou then, or what, to accuse. 
But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all } 
Be then his love accursed, since, love or hate. 
To me alike it deals eternal woe. , 70 

Nay, cursed be thou ; since against his thy will 
Chose freely what it now so justly rues. 
Me miserable I which way shall I fly 
Infinite wrath and infinite despair.^ 
Which way I fiy is Hell ; myself am Hell ; 
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep 
''Still threatening to devour me opens wide, 
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaxen. 
O, then, at last relent ! Is there no place 
Left for repentance, none for pardon left ? 80 

None left but by submission ; and that word 
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame 
Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced 
With other promises and other vaunts 
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue 
The 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, 
W^ith diadem and sceptre high advanced, 90 

The lower still I fall, onl3^ 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 highth recal high thoughts, how soon unsay 
What feigned submission swore! Ease would recant 
Vows made in pain, as violent and void 
(For never can true reconcilement grow 
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep); 
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse loo 

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, instead 
Of us, outcast, exiled, his new delight. 
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 Heaven's King I hold. 
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign ; 
As Man ere long, and this new World, shall know." 

Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face. 
Thrice changed with pale — ire, envy, and despair ; 
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed 
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld . 
For Heavenly minds from such distempers foul 
Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware 
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm, 1 

Artificer of fraud ; and was the first 
That practised falsehood under saintly show^ 
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge : 
Yet not enough had practised to deceive 
Uriel, once warned ; whose eye pursued him down 
The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount 
Saw him disfigured, more than could befall 
Spirit of happy sort : his gestures fierce 
He marked and mad demeanor, then alone. 
As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen, 1 

So on he fares, and to the border comes 
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, 
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green. 
As with a rural mound, the champain head 
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides 
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild. 
Access denied ; and overhead up-grew 
Insuperable highth of loftiest shade. 
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, 
A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend 1 

Shade above shade, a woody theatre 
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops 
The verdurous wall of Paradise up-sprung ; 
Which to our general sire gave prospect large 
Into his nether empire neighboring round. 
And higher than that wall a circling row 
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit. 
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue. 
Appeared, with gay enamelled colors mixed ; 
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams i 

Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow. 
When God hath showered the earth : so lovely seemed 
That landskip. And of pure now purer air 


Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires 
Vernal delight and joy, able to driv^e 
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 i6o 

Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow 
Sabean odors from the spicy shore 
Of Araby the Blest, with such delay 
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league 
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles ; 
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend 
Who came their bane, though with them better pleased 
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume 
That drove him, though enamored, from the spouse 
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent ,70 

From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound. 
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill 
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow ; 
But further way found none ; so thick entwined. 
As one continued brake, the undergrowth 
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed 
All path of man or beast that passed that way. 
One gate there only was, and that looked east 
On the other side. Which when the Arch-Felon saw. 
Due entrance he disdained, and, in contempt. 180 

At. one slight bound high overleaped all bound 
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within 
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf. 
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey. 
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve. 
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-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault, 190 

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 regained, but sat devising death 
To them who lived ; nor on the virtue thought 


Of that life-giving plant, but only used 
For prospect what, well used, had been the pledge ; 

Of immortality. So little knows 
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 exposed, 
In narrow room Nature's whole wealth; yea, more! — 
A He?^ en on Earth . for blissful Paradise 
Of Gc 1 the garden was, by him in the east 
Of Eden planted. Eden stretched her line j 

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 ordained. 
Out of the fertile ground he caused 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, 2 

Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew fast by- 
Knowledge of good, bought dear by knowing ill. 
Southward through Eden went a river large. 
Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill 
Passed underneath ingulfed ; for God had thrown 
That mountain, as his garden-mould, high raised 
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins 
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn. 
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill 
Watered the garden ; thence united fell 2 

Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood. 
Which from his darksome passage now appears. 
And now, divided into four main streams. 
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm 
And country whereof here needs no account; 
But rather to tell how, if Art could tell 
How. from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks. 
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, 
With mazy error under pendent shades 
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed 2 

Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art 
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon 
Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, 


Both where the morning sun first warmly smote 

The open field, and where the unpierced shade 

Imbrowned the noontide bowers. Thus was this place. 

A happy rural seat of various view : 

Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm ; 

Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, 

Hung amiable — Hesperian fables true, 250 

If true, here only — and of delicious taste. 

Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks 

Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, 

Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap 

Of some irriguous valley spread her store. 

Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose. 

Another side, umbrageous grots and caves 

Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine 

Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps 

Luxuriant; meanwhile murmuring waters fall 260 

Down the slope hills dispersed, or in a lake, 

That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned 

Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams. 

The birds their quire apply, airs, vernal airs. 

Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune 

The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, 

Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, 

Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field 

Of Enna, where Proserpin gathering flowers, 

Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis 270 

Was gathered — which cost Ceres all that pain 

To seek her through the world — nor that sweet grove 

Of Daphne, by Orontes and the inspired 

Castalian spring, might with this Paradise 

Of Eden strive ; nor that Nyseian isle. 

Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, 

Whom Gentiles Amnion call and Libyan Jove, 

Hid Amalthea. and her florid son. 

Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye ; 

Nor, where Abassin kings their issue guard. 280 

Mount Amara (though this by some supposed 

True Paradise) under the Ethiop line 

By Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock. 

A whole day's journey high, but wide remote 

From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend 

Saw undelighted all delight, all kind 

Of living creatures, new to sight and strange. — 

Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, 


God-like erect, with native honor clad 

In naked majesty, seemed lords of all, 290 

And worthy seemed ; for in their looks divine 
The image of their glorious Maker shone, 
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure- 
Severe, but in true filial freedom placed. 
Whence true authority in men : though both 
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed ; 
For contemplation he and valor formed, 
For softness she and sweet attractive grace ; 
He for God only, she for God in him. 

His fair large front and eye sublime declared 300 

Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks 
Round from his parted forelock manly hung 
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad : 
She, as a veil down to the slender waist, 
Her unadorned golden tresses wore 
Dishevelled, but in wantom ringlets waved 
As the vine curls her tendrils — ^which implied 
Subjection, but required with gentle sway, 
And by her yielded, by him best received 
Yielded, with coy submission, modest pride, 310 

And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay. 
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed ; 
Then was not guilty shame. Dishonest shame 
Of Nature's wo.ks, honor dishonorable. 
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind 
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, 
And banished from man's life his happiest life. 
Simplicity and spotless innocence ! 
So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight 
Of God or Angel ; for they thought no ill : 320 

So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair 
That ever since in love's embraces met — 
Adam the goodliest man of men since born 
His sons; the fairest of her daughters Eve. 
Under a tuft of shade that on a green 
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain-side, 
They sat them down; and, after no more toil 
Of their sweet gardening labor than sufficed 
To recommend cool Zephyr, and make ease 
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite 330 

More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell — 
Nectarine fruits, which the compliant boughs 
Yielded them, sidelong as they sat recline 


On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers. 

The savory pulp they chew, and in the rind, 

Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream; 

Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles 

Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems 

Fair couple linked in happy nuptial league, 

Alone as they. About them frisking played 340 

All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase 

In wood or wilderness, forest or den. 

Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw 

Dandled the kid ; bears, tigers, ounces, pards. 

Gambolled before them ; the unwieldy elephant. 

To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed 

His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly. 

Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine 

His braided train, and of his fatal guile 

Gave proof unheeded. Others on the grass 350 

Couched, and, now filled with pasture, gazing sat, 

Or bedward ruminating; for the sun. 

Declined, was hastening now with prone career 

To the Ocean Isles, and in the ascending scale 

Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose : 

When Satan, still in gaze as first he stood, 

Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad :— - 

"O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold.^ 
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced 
Creatures of other mould — Earth-born perhaps, 360 

Not Spirits, yet to Heavenly Spirits bright 
Little inferior — whom my thoughts pursue 
With wonder, and could love; so liv^ely shines 
In them divine resemblance, and such grace 
The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured. 
Ah ! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh 
Your change approaches, when all these delights 
Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe — 
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy : 
Happy, but for so happy ill secured 370 

Long to continue, and this high seat, your Heaven, 
111 fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe 
As now is entered ; yet no purposed foe 
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn. 
Though I unpitied. League with you I seek. 
And mutual amity, so strait, so close. 
That I with you must dwell, or you with me. 
Henceforth. My dwelling, haply, may not please, 


Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such 

Accept your Maker's work ; he -gave it me, . 380 

Which I as freely giv^e. Hell shall unfold, ^*h^ 

To entertain you two, her widest gates, "^ 

And send forth all her kings; there will be room^^. 

Not like these narrow limits, to receive ^^ 

Your numerous offspring; if no better place. 

Thank him who puts me, loath, to this revenge 

On you, who wTong me not, for him who wronged. 

And, should I at your harmless innocence 

Melt, as I do, yet public reason just — 

Honor and empire with revenge enlarged 390 

By conquering this new World — compels me now 

To do what else, though damned, I should abhor." 

So spake the Fiend, and with necessity. 
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds. 
Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 
Down he alights among the sportful herd 
Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one. 
Now other, as their shape served best his end 
Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied, 

To mark what of their state he more might learn 400 

By word or action marked. About them round 
A lion now he stalks with fiery glare ; 
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied 
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, 
Straight crouches close ; then, rising, changes oft 
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground, 
Whence rushing he might surest seize them both 
Griped in each paw : when Adam, first of men, 
To first of women, Eve, thus moving speech, 
Turned him all ear to hear new utterance flow:-^ 410 

" Sole partner and sole part of all these joys, j 
Dearer thyself than all, needs must the Power 
That makes us, and for us this ample World, 
Be infinitely good, and of his good 
As liberal and free as infinite ; 
That raised us from the dust, and placed us here 
In all this happiness, who at his hand 
Have nothing merited, nor can perform 
Aught whereof he hath need ; he who requires 
From us no other service than to keep 420 

This one, this easy charge— of all the trees 
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit 
So various, not to taste that only Tree 


Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life ; 

So near grows Death to Life, whate'er Death is — 

Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st 

God hath pronounced it Death to taste that Tree : 

The only sign of our obedience left 

Among so many signs of power and rule 

Conferred upon us, and dominion given 430 

Over all other creatures that possess 

Earth, Air, and Sea. Then let us not think hard 

One easy prohibition, who enjoy 

Free leave so large to all things else, and choice 

Unlimited of manifold delights ; 

But let us ever praise him, and extol 

His bounty, following our delightful task. 

To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers, 

Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet." 

To whom thus Eve replied: — "O thou for whom 440 

And from whom I was formed flesh of thy flesh. 
And without whom am to no end, my guide 
And head ! what thou hast said is just and right. 
For we to him, indeed, all praises owe. 
And daily thanks — I chiefly, who enjoy 
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee 
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou 
Like consort to thyself canst nowhere find. 
That day I oft remember, when from sleep 
I first awaked, and found myself reposed, 450 

Under a shade, on flowers, much wondering where 
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how. 
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound 
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread 
Into a liquid plain ; then stood unmoved, 
Pure as the expanse of Heaven, I thither went 
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down 
On the green bank, to look into the clear 
Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky. 
As I bent down to look, just opposite 460 

A shape within the watery gleam appeared. 
Bending to look on me. I started back, 
It started back ; but pleased I soon returned. 
Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks 
Of sympathy and love. There I had fixed 
Mine eyes till now. and pined with vain desire. 
Had not a voice thus warned me : ' What thou seest, 
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself; 


With thee it came and goes: but follow me. 

And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 470 

Thy coming, and thy soft embraces — he 

Whose image thou art , him thou shalt enjoy 

Inseparably thine ; to him shalt bear 

Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called 

Mother of human race.' What could I do. 

But follow straight, invisibly thus led ? 

Till I espied thee, fair, indeed, and tall. 

Under a platane ; yet methought less fair. 

Less winning soft, less amiably mild. 

Than that smooth watery image. Back I turned ; 480 

Thou, following, cried'st aloud, ' Return, fair Eve ; 

Whom fliest thou ? Whom thou fliest, of him thou art, 

His flesh, his bone ; to give thee being I lent 

Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, 

Substantial life, to have thee by my side 

Henceforth an individual solace dear: 

Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim 

My other half.' With that thy gentle hand 

Seized mine : I yielded, and from that time see 

How beauty is excelled by manly grace 490 

And wisdom, which alone is truly fair." ," 

So spake our general mother, and, with eyes 
Of conjugal attraction unreproved, 
And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned 
On our first father; half her swelling breast 
Naked met his, under the flowing gold 
Of her loose tresses hid. He, in delight 
Both of her beauty and submissive charms, 
Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter 

On Juno smiles when he impregns the clouds 500 

That shed May flowers, and pressed her matron lip 
With kisses pure. Aside the Devil turned 
For envy ; yet with jealous leer malign 
Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plained : — 

"Sight hateful, sight tormenting! Thus these two, 
Imparadised in one another's arms. 
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill 
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust. 
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire. 
Among our other torments not the least, 510 

Still unfulfilled, with pain of longing pines! 
Yet let me not forget what I have gained 
From their own mouths, All is not theirs, it seems ; 


One fatal tree there stands, of Knowledge called, 
Forbidden them to taste. Knowledge forbidden ? 
Suspicious, reasonless ! Why should their Lord 
Envy them that? Can it be sin to know? 
Can it be death? And do they only stand 
By ignorance? Is that their happy state. 
The "proof of their obedience and their faith? 520 

O fair foundation laid whereon to build 
Their ruin ! Hence I will excite their minds 
With more desire to know, and to reject 
Envious commands, invented with design 
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt 
Equal with gods. Aspiring to be such, 
They taste and die: what likelier can ensue? 
But first with narrow search I must walk round 
This garden, and no corner leave unspied ; 
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet 530 

Some wandering Spirit of Heaven, by fountain-side, 
Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw 
What further would be learned. Live while ye may, 
Yet happy pair ; enjoy, till I return, 
Short pleasures; for long woes are to succeed!" 
So saying, his proud step he scornful turned, 
But with sly circumspection, and began 
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam. 
Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where Heaven 
With Earth and Ocean meets, the setting Sun 540 

Slowly descended, and with right aspect 
Against the eastern gate of Paradise 
Levelled his evening rays. It was a rock . 
Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds. 
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent 
Accessible from Earth, one entrance high ; 
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung 
Still as it rose, impossible to climb. 
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat, ^ 
Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night ; 550 

About him exercised heroic games 
The unarmed youth of Heaven ; but nigh at hand 
Celestial armory, shields, helms, and spears, 
Hung high, with diamond flaming and with gold. 
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even 
On a sunbeam, swift as a shooting star 
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapors fired 
Impress the air, and shows the mariner 


From what point of his compass to beware 

Cha?'e and Strict watc'h that to this happy place 
Kn evil thine approach or enter in. 
¥his diy at higS^h of noon came to my sphere 
A 4ni^-it zealoSs. as he seemed, to know 
Mor^o 'the ATrnighty's works and chiefly Man, 
God's latest image I described his way . 
Bent an on pee^d, and marked his aery gait 
Rut in the mount that hes from Eden north 
^^"e h'e^Tst lighted, soon discerned his ooks 
Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured. 
Mine eve pursued him still, but under shade 
Lost sl^ht^of him. One of the banished crew, 
I fear hath ventured from the Deep, to raise 
New (roubles; him thy care must be to find. 

To whom the winged Warrior thus returned .- 
.'Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight 
Amid the Sun's bright circle where thou sitt st, 
Se^ far and wide. In at this gate none pass 
The vigilance here placed, but such as conie 580 

Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour 
No creature thence. If Spirit of other sort. 
So m?nded.have o'erleaped these earthly bounds 
On purpose, hard thou know'st it to exclude 
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar. 
But, if within the circuit of these walks. 
In whatsoever shape, he lurk of whom ,, 

Thou tell'st, by morrow dawning I shall know. 

So oromised he; and Uriel to his charge . 

Returned on that bright beam, whose point now raised 590 
lore h?m slope downward to the Sun. now fallen 
Beneath the Azores; whether the Prime Orb, 
' Incredible how swift, had thither rolled 
niurnal or this less voliibil Earth, 
E; shorter flight to the east had left him there 
Arraying with reflected purple and gold 
The clouds that on his western throne attend 
' Now came still Evening on, and Tvv.light gray 
Had in her sober livery all things clad ; 
Silence accompanied ; for beast and bird. 
Thev to their grassy couch, these to their nest. 
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale. 
She all night long her amorous descant sung; 

600 > 


Silence was pleased. Now glowed the firmament 

With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led 

The starry host, rode brightest, till the Moon, 

Rising in clouded majesty, at length 

Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light, 

And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw ; 

When Adam thus to Eve : — " Fair consort, the hour 6io 

Of night, and all things now retired to rest. 

Mind us of like repose ; since God hath set 

Labor and rest, as day and night, to men 

Successive, and the timely dew of sleep, 

Now falling with soft slumberous weight, inclines 

Our eye-lids. Other creatures all day long 

Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest; 

Man hath his daily work of body or mind 

Appointed, which declares his dignity, 

And the regard of Heaven on all his ways-. 620 

While other animals unactive range. 

And of their doings God takes no account. 

To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east 

With first approach of light, we must be risen. 

And at our pleasant labor, to reform 

Yon flowery arbors, yonder alleys green, 

Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown. 

That mock our scant manuring, and require 

More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth. 

Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums, 630 

That lie bestrewn, unsightly and unsmooth. 

Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease. 

Meanwhile, as Nature wills, Night bids us rest." 

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned : — 
" My author and disposer, what thou bidd'st 
Unargued I obey. So God ordains : 
God is thy law, thou mine : to know no more 
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise. 
With thee conversing, I forget all time. 
All seasons, and their change ; all please alike. 640 

Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet. 
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the Sun, 
When first on this delightful land he spreads 
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, 
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile Earth 
After soft showers; and sweet the coming-on 
Of grateful Evening mild ; then silent Night, 
With this her solemn bird, and this fair Moon, 


And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train : 

But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends 650 

With charm of earliest birds; nor rising Sun 

On this delightful land ; nor herb, fruit, flower. 

Glistering with dew ; nor fragrance after showers ; 

Nor grateful Evening mild ; nor silent Night, 

With this her solemn bird ; nor walk by moon, 

Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet. 

But wherefore all night long shine these ? for whom 

This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes ?" 

To whom our general ancestor replied : — 
" Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve, 56o 

Those have their course to finish round the Earth 
By morrow evening, and from land to land 
In order, though to nations yet unborn, 
Ministering light prepared, they set and rise ; 
Lest total Darkness should by night regain 
Her old possession, and extinguish life 
In nature and all things; which these soft fires 
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat 
Of various influence foment and warm, 

Temper or nourish, or in part shed down 670 

Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow 
On Earth, made tiereby apter to receive 
Perfection from the Sun's more potent ray. 
These, then, though unbeheld in deep of night, 
Shine not in vain. Nor think, though men were none, 
That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise. 
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the Earth 
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep : 
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold 
Both day and night. How often, from the steep 680 

Of echoing hill or thicket, have we heard 
Celestial voices to the midnight air, 
Sole, or responsive each to other's note. 
Singing their great Creator I Oft in bands 
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk, 
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds 
In full harmonic number joined, their songs 
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven." 

Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed 
On to their blissful bower. It was a place 690 

Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed 
All things to Man's delightful use. The roof 
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade. 


Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew 

Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side 

Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub. 

Fenced up the verdant wall ; each beauteous flower, 

Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine. 

Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought 

Mosaic ; under foot the violet, 700 

Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay 

Broidered the ground, more colored than with stone 

Of costliest emblem. Other creature here, 

Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none ; 

Such w^as their awe of Man. In shadier bower 

More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned, 

Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nymph 

Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess, 

With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs, 

Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed, 710 

And heavenly choirs the hymenaean sung. 

What day the genial Angel to our sire 

Brought her, in naked beauty more adorned. 

More lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods 

Endowed with all their gifts; and, O! too like 

In sad event, when, to the un wiser son 

Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared 

Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged 

On him w^ho had stole Jove's authentic fire. 

Thus at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, 720 

Both turned, and under open sky adored 
The God that made both Sky, Air, Earth, and Heaven, 
Which they beheld, the Moon's resplendent globe. 
And starry Pole: — "Thou also madest the Night, 
Maker Omnipotent ; and thou the Day, 
Which we, in our appointed work employed, 
Have finished, happy in our mutual help 
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss 
Ordained by thee; and this delicious place. 
For us too large, where thy abundance wants 730 

Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground. 
But thou hast promised from us two a race 
To fill the Earth, who shall with us extol 
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake. 
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep." 

This said unanimous, and other rites 
Observing none, but adoration pure. 
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower 


Handed they went ; and, eased the putting-off 

These troublesome disguises which we wear 740 

Straight side by side were laid ; nor turned, I ween, 

Adam from his tair spouse, nor Eve the rites > 

Mysterious of connubial love refused . 

Whatever hypocrites austerely talk 

Of purity, and place, and innocence. 

Defaming as impure what God declares 

Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all. 

Our Maker bids increase ; who bids abstain 

But our destroyer, foe to God and Man ? 

Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source 750 

Of human oflfspring, sole propriety 

In Paradise of all things common else ! 

By thee adulterous lust was driven from men 

Among the bestial herds to range ; by thee. 

Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure. 

Relations dear, and all the charities 

Of father, son. and brother, first were known. 

Far be it that I should write thee sin or blame. 

Or think thee unbefitting holiest place. 

Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets, 7^0 

Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced, 

Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used. 

Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights 

His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings. 

Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile 

Of harlots— loveless, joyless, unendeared. 

Casual fruition ; nor in court amours. 

Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball, 

Or serenate, which the starved lover sings 

To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. 770 

These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept. 

And on their naked limbs the flowery roof 

Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on. 

Blest pair! and, O! yet happiest, if ye seek 

No happier state, and know to know no more ! 

Now had Night measured with her shadowy cone 
Half-way up-hill this vast sublunar vault. 
And from their ivory port the Cherubim 
Forth issuing, at the accustomed hour, stood armed 
To their night-watches in warlike parade; 78' 

When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake :— 
" Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south 
With strictest watch ; these other wheel the north : 


Our circuit meets full west." As flame they part, 
Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. 
From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he called 
That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge : — 

" Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed 
Search through this Garden ; leave unsearched no nook ; 
But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge, 790 

Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm. 
This evening from the Sun's decline arri\ed 
Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen 
Hitherward bent (who could have thought ?), escaped 
The bars of Hell, on errand bad, no doubt : 
Such, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring." 

So saying, on he led his radiant files, 
Dazzling the moon ; these to the bower direct 
In .search of whom they sought. Him there they found 
Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve, 800 

Assaying by his devilish art to reach 
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge 
Illusions as he list, phantasms and dreams; 
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint 
The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise 
Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise, 
At least distempered, discontented thoughts. 
Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires. 
Blown up with high conceits engendering pride. 
Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear Sio 

Touched lightly; for no falsehood can endure 
Touch of celestial temper, but returns 
Of force to its own likeness. Up he starts. 
Discovered and surprised. As, when a spark 
Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid 
Fit for the tun, some magazine to store 
Against a rumored war, the smutty grain, 
With sudden blaze difTused, inflames the air; 
So started up, in his own shape, the Fiend, 
Back stept those two fair Angels, half amazed 820 

So sudden to behold the grisly King; 
Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon : — 

"Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell 
Com'st thou, escaped thy prison } and, transformed, 
Why satt'st thou like an enemy in wait, 
Here watching at the head of these that sleep .^" - 

" Know ye not, then," said Satan, filled with scorn, 
" Know ye not me } Ye knew me once no mate 



For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar! 

Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, 830 

The lowest of your throng ; or, if ye know, 

Why ask ye, and superfluous begin 

Your message, like to end as much in vain ?" 

To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn : — 
" Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same. 
Or undiminished brightness, to be known 
As when thou stood'st in Heaven upright and pure. 
That glory then, when thou no more wast good. 
Departed 'from thee ; and thou resemblest now 
Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul. 840 

But come ; for thou, be sure, shalt give account 
To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep 
This place inviolable, and these from harm." 

So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke. 
Severe in youthful beauty, added grace 
Invincible. Abashed the Devil stood. 
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw 
Virtue in her shape how lovely — saw, and pined 
His loss ; but chiefly to find here observed 
His lustre visibly impaired ; yet seemed 850 

Undaunted. " If I must contend," said he, 
" Best with the best— the sender, not the sent ; 
Or all at once: more glory will be won. 
Or less be lost." 'Thy fear," said Zephon bold, 
" Will save us trial what the least can do 
Single against thee wicked, and thence weak." 

The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage ; 
But like a proud steed reined, went haughty on, 
Champing his iron curb. To strive or fly 
He held it vain ; awe from above had quelled 860 

His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they nigh 
The western point, where those half-rounding guards 
Just met, and, closing, stood in squadron joined, 
Awaiting next command. To whom their chief, 
Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud : — 

" O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet 
Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern 
Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade ; 
And with them comes a third, of regal port, 
But faded splendor wan, who by his gait 870 

And fierce demeanor seems the Prince of Hell — 
Not likely to part hence without contest. 
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours." 


He scarce had ended, when those two approached. 
And brief related whom they brought, where found, 
How busied, in what form and posture couched. 
To whom, with stern regard, thus Gabriel spake : — 
" Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed 
To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge 
Of others, who approve not to transgress 880 

By thy example, but have power and right 
To question thy bold entrance on this place; 
Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those 
Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss?" 

To whom thus Satan, with contemptuous brow : — 
"Gabriel, thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise; 
And such I held thee ; but this question asked 
Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain } 
Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell, 
Though thither doomed ? Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt, 890 
And boldly venture to whatever place 
Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change 
Torment with ease, and soonest recompense 
Dole with delight ; which in this place I sought : 
To thee no reason, who know'st onl}'^ good, 
But evil hast not tried. And wilt object 
His will who bound us.'' Let him surer bar 
His iron gates, if he intends our stay 
In that dark durance. Thus much what was asked : 
The rest is true ; they found me where they say ; 900 

But that implies not violence or harm."^ 

Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved. 
Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied : — 
" O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise. 
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew. 
And now returns him from his prison scaped. 
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise 
Or not who ask what boldness brought him hither 
Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed ! 
So wise he judges it to fly from pain 910 

However, and to scape his punishment ! 
So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrath, 
Which thou incurr'st by flying, meet thy flight 
Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell, 
Which taught thee yet no better that no pain 
Can equal anger infinite provoked. 
But wherefore thou alone .'' Wherefore with thee 
Came not all Hell broke loose.? Is pain to them 


Less pain, less to be fled ? or thou than they 
Less hardy to endure? Courageous chief, gao 

The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alleged .^ 
To thy deserted host this cause of flight, \ 

Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive." } 

To which the Fiend thus answered, frowning stern :-4 
" Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain. 
Insulting Angel! well thou know'st I stood 
Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid 
The blasting volleyed thunder made all speetl 
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear. 
But still thy words at random, as before, 930 

Argue thy inexperience what behoves, 
From hard assays and ill successes past, 
A faithful leader — not to hazard all 
Through ways of danger by himself untried. 
I, therefore, I alone, first undertook 
To wing the desolate Abyss, and spy 
This new-created World, whereof in Hell 
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find 
Better abode, and my afflicted Powers 

To settle here on Earth, or in mid Air; 940 

Though for possession put to try once more 
What thou and thy gay legions dare against ; 
Whose easier business were to serve their Lord 
High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, 
And practised distances to cringe, not fight." 

To whom the Warrior-Angel soon replied : — 
" To say and straight unsay, pretending first 
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy. 
Argues no leader, but a liar traced, 

Satan ; and couldst thou ' faithful ' add } O name, 950 

O sacred name of faithfulness profaned I 
Faithful to whom .'' to thy rebellious crew } 
Army of fiends, fit body to fit head ! 
Was this your discipline and faith engaged. 
Your military obedience, to dissolve 
Allegiance to the acknowledged Power Supreme : 
And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem 
Patron of liberty, who more than thou 
Once fawned, and cringed, and servilely adored 
Heaven's awful Monarch ? wherefore, but in hope 960 

To dispossess him, and thyself to reign .^ 
But mark what I areed thee now : Avaunt ! 
Fly thither whence thou fledd'st. If from this hour 


Within these hallowed limits thou appear, 
Back to the Infernal Pit I drag thee chained, 
And seal thee so as henceforth not to scorn 
The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred." 

So threatened he ; but Satan to no threats 
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage, replied : — 

*' Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains, 970 

Proud limitary Cherub ! but ere then 
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel 
From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King 
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers, 
Used to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels 
In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved." 

VVhile thus he spake, the angelic squadron bright 
Turned fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns 
Their phalanx, and began to hem him round 
With ported spears, as thick as when a field gSo 

Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends 
Her bearded grove of ears which way the wind 
Sways them ; the careful ploughman doubting stands 
Lest on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves 
Prove chafT. On the other side, Satan, alarmed. 
Collecting all his might, dilated stood. 
Like TenerifT or Atlas, unremoved : 
His stature reached the sky, and on his crest 
Sat Horror plumed; nor wanted in his grasp 
What seemed both spear and shield. Now dreadful deeds 990 
Might have ensued ; nor only Paradise, 
In this commotion, but the starry cope 
Of Heaven perhaps, or all the Elements 
At least, had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn 
With violence of this conflict, had not soon 
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray. 
Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen 
Betwixt Astraea and the Scorpion sign, 
Wherein all things created first he weighed. 
The pendulous round Earth with balanced air looc 

In counterpoise, now ponders all events. 
Battles and realms. In these he put two weights, 
The sequel each of parting and of fight : 
The latter quick up flew, and kicked the beam ; 
Which Gabriel spying thus bespake the Fiend : — 

" Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine, 
Neither our own, but given ; what folly then 
To boast what arms can do ! since thine no more 


Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now 

To trample thee as mire. For proof look up, : 

And read thy lot in yon celestial sign. 

Where thou art weighed, and shown how light, how weak 

If thou resist." The Fiend looked up, and knew 

His mounted scale aloft : nor more ; but fled 

Murmuring; and with him fled the shades of Night. 

»00ft ID 

Morning approached. Eve relates to Adam lier troublesome dream : lie likes it 
not, yet comforts her: the\' come forth to their day labors: their morning hymn 
at the door of their bovver. God, to render Man inexcusable, sends Raphael to 
admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand, 
who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know. 
Raphael comes down to Paradise ; his appearance described : his coming dis- 
cerned by Adam afar off, sitting at the door of his bower ; he goes out to mee* 
him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise, 
got together by Eve ; their discourse at table. Raphael performs his message, 
minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates, at's request, who that 
enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first re\olt in Heaven, 
and the occasion thereof; how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the 
North, and there incited them to rebel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel, 
a seraph, who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes him. 

NOW Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime 
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl, 
When Adam waked, so customed ; for his sleep 
Was aery light, from pure digestion bred, 
And temperate vapors bland, which the only sound 
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan, 
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song 
Of birds on every bough. So much the more 
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve, 
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek, 
As through unquiet rest. He, on his side 
Leaning half raised, wMth looks of cordial love 
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld 
Beauty which, whether waking or asleep. 
Shot forth peculiar graces; then, with voice 
Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes. 
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus : — " Awake, 
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found. 
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever-new delight ! 
Awake! the morning shines, and the fresh field 
Calls us; we lose the prime to mark how spring 
Our tended plants, how blows the citron grove. 
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed. 
How Nature paints her coh^rs, how the bee 


Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet." 

Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye 
On Adam; whom embracing, thus she spake: — 

" O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, 
My glory, my perfection ! glad I see 
Thy' face, and morn returned; for I this night 
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed, 
If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee, 
Works of day past, or morrow's next design ; 
But of ofTence and trouble, which my mind 
Knew never till this irksome night. Methought 
Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk 
With gentle voice ; I thought it thine. It said, 
'Why sleep'st thou, Eve .'^ now is the pleasant time, 
The cool, the silent, save where silence yields 
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake 
Tunes sweetest his love-labored song; now reigns 
Full-orbed the moon, and, with more pleasing light, 
Shadowy sets off the face of things — in vain, 
If none regard. Heaven wakes with all his eyes; 
Whom to behold but thee. Nature's desire. 
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment 
Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze T 
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not : 
To find thee I directed then my walk; 
And on, methoughi, alone I passed through ways < 

That brought me on a sudden to the tree 
Of interdicted knowledge. Fair it seemed. 
Much fairer to my fancy than by day ; 
And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood 
One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven 
By us oft seen : his dewy locks distilled 
Ambrosia. On that tree he also gazed ; 
And, 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged. 
Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet, 
Nor God nor Man ? Is knowledge so despised ? 
Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste .^ 
Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold 
Longer thy otTered good, why else set here.^' 
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm 
He plucked, he tasted. Me damp horror chilled 
At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold ; 
But he thus, overjoyed : 'O fruit divine. 
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt, 
Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit 




For gods, vet able to make gods of men ! 
And why not gods of men. since good, the more 
Communicated, more abundant grows, 
The author not impaired, but honored more.? 
Here, happv creature, fair angeHc Eve ! 
Partake thou also : happy though thou art. 
Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be. 
Taste this, and be henceforth among the gods 
Thyself a goddess; not to Earth confined, 
But sometimes in the Air. as we; sometimes 
Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see 
What life the gods live there, and such live thou.' 
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held, 
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part 
Which he had plucked : the pleasant savory smell 
So quickened appetite that I, methought. 
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds 
With him I flew, and underneath beheld 
The Earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide 
And various. Wondering at my flight and change 
To this high exaltation, suddenly 
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, 
And fell asleep ; but, O, how glad I waked 
To find this but a dream !" Thus Eve her night 
Related, and thus Adam answered sad :— 
" Best image of myself, and dearer half. 
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep 
Affects me equally ; nor can I like 
This uncouth dream— of evil sprung, I fear; 
Yet evil whence? In thee can harbor none. 
Created pure. But know that in the soul 
Are many lesser faculties, that serve 
Reason as chief. Among these Fancy next 
Her office holds; of all external things. 
Which the five watchful senses represent. 
She forms imaginations, aery shapes. 
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames 
All what we affirm or what deny, and call 
Our knowledge or opinion ; then retires 
Into her private cell when Nature rests. 
Oft, in her absence, mimic Fancy wakes 
To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes. 
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams, 
111 matching words and deeds long past or late. 
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find 


Of our last evening's talk in this thy dream, 

But with addition strange. Yet be not sad : 

Evil into the mind of God or Man 

May come and go, so unapproved, and leave 

No spot or blame behind ; which gives me hope 

That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream 

Waking thou never wilt consent to do. 

Be not disheartened, then, nor cloud those looks, 

That wont to be more cheerful and serene 

Than when fair Morning first smiles on the world ; 

And let us to our fresh employments rise 

Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers, 

That open now their choicest bosomed smells, 

Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store." 

So cheered he his fair spouse ; and she was cheered. 
But silently a gentle tear let fall 
From either eye, and wiped them with her hair : 
Two other precious drops that ready stood. 
Each in their crystal sluice, he, ere they fell. 
Kissed as the gracious signs of sweet remorse 
And pious awe, that feared to have offended. 

So all was cleared, and to the field they haste. 
But first, from under shady arborous roof 
Soon as they forth were come to open sight 
Of day-spring, and the Sun — who, scarce uprisen, 
With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim, 
Shot parallel to the Earth his dewy ray. 
Discovering in wide landskip all the east 
Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains — 
Lowly they bowed, adoring, and began 
Their orisons, each morning duly paid 
In various style ; for neither various style 
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise 
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung 
Unmeditated ; such prompt eloquence 
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse, 
More tuneable than needed lute or harp 
To add more sweetness : And they thus began : — 

" These are thy glorious works, Parent of good. 
Almighty ! thine this universal frame. 
Thus wondrous fair : Thyself how wondrous then ! 
Unspeakable ! who sitt'st above these heavens 
To us invisible, or dimly seen 
In these thy lowest works ; yet these declare 
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine. 


Speak, ye who best can tell, ye Sons of Light, 160 

Angels — for ye behold him, and with songs 

And choral symphonies, day without night. 

Circle his throne rejoicing — ye in Heaven ; 

On Earth join, all ye creatures, to extol 

Him first, him last.'him midst, and without end. 

Fairest of Stars, last in the train of Night. 

If better thou belong not to the Dawn. 

Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn 

With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere 

While day arises, that sweet hour of prime. 170 

Thou Sun, of this great World both eye and soul. 

Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise 

In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st. 

And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st. 

Moon, that now meet'st the orient Sun, now fliest, 

With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies; 

And ye five other wandering Fires, that move 

In mystic dance, not without song, resound 

His praise who out of Darkness called up Light. 

Air. and ye Elements, the eldest birth iSo 

Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run 

Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix 

And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change 

Vary to our great Maker still new praise. 

Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise 

From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray. 

Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold, 

In honor to the World's great Author rise; 

Whether to deck with clouds the uncolored sky, 

Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, 190 

Rising or falling, still advance his praise. 

His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow. 

Breathe soft or loud ; and wave your tops, ye Pines, 

With every Plant, in sign of worship wave. 

Fountains, and ye, that warble, as ye flow. 

Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise. 

Join voices, all ye living Souls. Ye Birds, 

That, singing, up to Heaven-gate ascend. 

Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise. 

Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk 200 

The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep, 

Witness if / be silent, morn or even. 

To hill or valley, fountain, or fresh shade. 

Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. 


Hail, universal Lord ! Be bounteous still 
To give us only good ; and, if the night 
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed, 
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark." 

So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts 
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm. 
On to their morning's rural work they haste. 
Among sweet dews and flowers, where any row 
Of fruit-trees, over-woody, reached too far 
Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check 
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine 
To wed her elm ; she, spoused, about him twines 
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings 
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn 
His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld 
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called 
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned 
To travel with Tobias, and secured 
His marriage with the seven-times-wedded maid* 

" Raphael," said he, " thou hear'st what stir on Earth 
Satan, from Hell scaped through the darksome Gulf, 
Hath raised in Paradise, and how disturbed 
This night the human pair; how he designs 
In them at once to ruin all mankind. 
Go, therefore ; half this day, as friend with friend, 
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade 
Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retired 
To respite his day-labor with repast 
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on 
As may advise him of his hapj;)y state — 
Happiness in his power left free to will. 
Left to his own free will, his will though free 
Yet mutable. Whence warn him to beware 
He swerve not. too secure : tell him withal 
His danger, and from whom ; what enemy, 
Late fallen himself f/om Heaven, is plotting now 
The tall of others from like state of bliss. 
By violence } no, for that shall be withstood ; 
But by deceit and lies. This let him know, 
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend 
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned." 

So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled 
All justice. Nor delayed the winged Saint 
After his charge received ; but from among 
Thousand celestial Ardors, where he stood 


Veiled with his gorgeous wings, upspringing light, 250 

Flew through the midst of Heaven. The angelic quires, 

On each hand parting, to his speed gave way 

Through all the empyreal road, till, at the gate 

Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide. 

On golden hinges turning, as by work 

Divine the sovran Architect had framed. 

From hence — no cloud or, to obstruct his sight, 

Star interposed, however small — he sees, 

Not unconform to other shining globes. 

Earth, and the Garden of God, with cedars crowned 260 

Above all hills; as when by night the glass" 

Of Galileo, less assured, observes 

Imagined lands and regions in the Moon ; 

Or pilot from amidst the Cyclades 

Delos or Samos first appearing kens, 

A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight 

He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky 

Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing 

Now on the polar winds ; then with quick fan 

Winnows the buxom air, till, within soar 270 

Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems 

A phoenix, gazed by all, as that sole bird. 

When, to enshrine his relics in the Sun's 

Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies. 

At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise 

He lights, and to his proper shape returns, 

A Seraph winged. Six wings he wore, to shade 

His lineaments divine: the pair that clad 

Each shoulder broad came mantling o'er his breast 

With regal ornament; the middle pair 280 

Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round 

Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold 

And colors dipt in heaven ; the third his feet 

Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail, 

Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood, 

And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filltd 

The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands 

Of Angels under watch, and to his state 

And to his message high in honor rise ; 

For on some message high they guessed him bound. 290 

Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come 

Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh, 

And flowering odors, cassia, nard, and balm, 

A wilderness of sweets ; for Nature here 


Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will 

Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet, 

Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss. 

Him, through the spicy forest onward come, 

Adam discerned, as in the door he sat 

Of his cool bower, while now the mounted Sun 30© 

Shot down direct his fervid rays, to warm 

Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs ; 

And Eve, within, due at her hour, prepared 

For dinner savory fruits, of taste to please 

True appetite, and not disrelish thirst 

Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream, 

Berry or grape : to whom thus Adam called : — 

" Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold 
Eastward among those trees what glorious Shape 
Comes this way moving ; seems another morn 310 

Risen on mid-noon. Some great behest from Heaven 
To us perhaps he brings, and will voutsafe 
This day to be our guest. But go with speed. 
And what thy stores contain bring forth, and pour 
Abundance tit to honor and receive 
Our heavenly stranger; well we may afTord 
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow 
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies 
Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows 
More fruitful; wh"ch instructs us not to spare." 320 

To whom thus Eve: — "Adam, Earth's hallowed mould. 
Of God inspired, small store will serve where store, 
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk ; 
Save what, by frugal storing, firmness gains 
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes. 
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, 
Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice 
To entertain our Angel-guest as he. 
Beholding, shall confess that here on Earfli 
God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven." 330 

So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste 
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent 
What choice to choose for delicacy best. 
What order so contrived as not to mix 
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring 
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change : 
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk 
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields 
In India East or West, or middle shore 


In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where 340 

Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat 

Rough or smooth rined, or bearded husk, or shell, 

She gathers, tribute large, and on the board 

Heaps with unsparing hand. For drink the grape 

She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths 

From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed 

She tempers dulcet creams — nor these to hold 

Wants her ht vessels pure ; then strews the ground 

With rose and odors from the shrub unfumed. 

Meanwhile our primitive great Sire, to meet 35c 

His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train 
Accompanied than with his own complete 
Perfections; in himself was all his state, 
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits 
On princes, when their rich retinue long 
Of horses led and grooms besmeared with gold 
Dazzles the crowd and sets them all agape. 
Nearer his presence, Adam, though not awed. 
Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek. 
As to a superior nature, bowing low. 360 

Thus said : — " Native of Heaven (for other place 
None can than Heaven such glorious Shape contain), 
Since, by descending from the Thrones above, 
Those happy places thou hast deigned a while 
To want, and honor these, voutsafe with us, 
Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess 
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower 
To rest, and what the Garden choicest bears 
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat 
Be over, and the sun more cool decline." 370 

Whom thus the angelic Virtue answered mild : — 
" Adam, I therefore came ; nor art thou such 
Created, or such place hast here to dwell, 
As may not (fft invite, though Spirits of Heaven, 
To visit thee. Lead on, then, where thy bower 
O'ershades ; for these mid-hours, till ev^ening rise, 
I have at will." So to the sylvan lodge 
They came, that like Pomona's arbor smiled. 
With flowerets decked and fragrant smells. But Eve. 
Undecked, save with herself, more lovely fair 380 

Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feigned 
Of three that in Mount Ida naked strove. 
Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven ; no veil 
She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm 



Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel " Hail !" 
Bestowed — the holy salutation used 
Long alter to blest Mary, second Eve: — 

" Hail ' Mother of mankind, whose fruitful womb 
Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons 
Than with these various fruits the trees of God 
Hav^e heaped this table!" Raised of grassy turf 
Their table was, and mossy seats had round. 
And on h^r ample square, from side to side, 
All Autumn piled, though Spring and Autumn here 
Danced hand-in-hand. A while discourse they hold — 
No fear lest dinner cool — when thus began 
Our Author : — " Heavenly Stranger, please to taste 
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom 
All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends. 
To us for food and for delight hath caused 
The Earth to yield- unsavory food, perhaps, 
To Spiritual Natures ; only this I know, 
That one Celestial Father gives to all." 

To whoni the Angel : — " Therefore, what he gives 
(Whose praise be ever sung) to Man, in part 
Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found 
No ingrateful food : and food alike those pure 
Intelligential substances require 
As doth your Rational ; and both contain 
Within them every lower faculty 
Of sense, whereby they hear, see. smell, touch, taste. 
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate. 
And corporeal to incorporeal turn. 
For know, whatever was created needs 
To be sustained and fed. Of Elements 
The grosser feeds the purer: Earth the Sea; 
Earth and the Sea feed Air; the Air those Fires 
Ethereal, and, as lowest, first the Moon ; 
Whence in her visage round those spots unpurged 
Vapors not yet into her substance turned. 
Nor doth the Moon no nourishment exhale 
From her moist continent to higher Orbs. 
The Sun, that light imparts to all. receives 
P'rom all his alimental recompense 
In humid exhalations, and at even 
Sups with the Ocean. Though in Heaven the trees 
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and. vines 
Yield nectar — though from oft" the boughs each morn 
We brush mellifluous dews and find the ground 


Covered with pearly grain- yet (rod hath here 430 

Varied his bounty so with new dch'ghts 

As may compare with Heaven ; and to taste 

Think not I shall be nice." So down they sat, 

And to their viands fell ; nor seemingly 

The Angel, nor in mist — the common gloss 

Of theologians— but with keen dispatch 

Of real hunger, and concoctive heat 

To transubstantiate : what redounds transpires 

Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder, if by fire 

Of sooty coal the empiric alchemist 440 

Can turn, or holds it possible to turn. 

Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold. 

As from the mine. Meanwhile at table Eve 

Ministered naked, and their flowing cups 

With pleasant liquors crowned. O innocence 

Deserving Paradise! If ever, then. 

Then had the Sons of God excuse to have been 

Enamoured at that sight. But in those hearts 

Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy 

Was understood, the injured lover's hell. 450 

Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed. 
Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose 
In Adam not to let the occasion pass. 
Given him by this gre?t conference, to know 
Of things abov^e his world, and of their being 
Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw 
Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms. 
Divine effulgence, whose high power so far 
Exceeded human ; and his wary speech 
Thus to the empyreal minister he framed : — 460 

" Inhabitant with God, now know I well 
Thy favor, in this honor done to Man ; 
Under whose lowly roof thou hast voutsafed 
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste. 
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so 
As that more willingly thou couldst not seem 
At Heaven's high feasts to have fed : yet what compare!" 

To whom the winged Hierarch replied :-- 
'* O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom 

All things proceed, and up to him return, 470 

If not depraved from good, created all 
Such to perfection ; pne first matter all. 
Endued with various forms, various degrees 
Of substance, and, in things that live, of life ; 


But more refined, more spiritous and pure, 

As nearer to him placed or nearer tending 

Each in their several active spheres assigned, 

Till body up to spirit work, in bounds 

Proportioned to each kind. So from the root 

Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves 480 

More aery, last the bright consummate flower 

Spirits odorous breathes : flowers and their fruit, 

Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed. 

To vital spirits aspire, to animal. 

To intellectual ; give both life and sense. 

Fancy and understanding; whence the Soul 

Reason receives, and Reason is her being, 

Discursive, or Intuitive: Discourse 

Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours. 

Differing but in degree, of kind the same. 490 

Wonder not, then, what God for you saw good 

If I refuse not, but convert, as you, 

To proper substance. Time may come when Men 

With Angels may participate, and find 

No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare ; 

And from these corporal nutriments, perhaps, 

Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit, 

Improved by tract of time, and wing'd ascend 

Ethereal, as we, or may at choice - 

Here or in heaveniy paradises dwell, 500 

If ye be found obedient, and retain 

Unalterably firm his love entire 

Whose progeny you are. Meanwhile enjoy. 

Your fill, what happiness this 'happy state 

Can comprehend, incapable of more." 

To whom the Patriarch of Mankind replied : — 
" O favorable Spirit, propitious guest. 
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct 
Our knowledge, and the scale of Nature set 
From centre to circumference, whereon. 510 

In contemplation of created things. 
By steps we may ascend to God. But say. 
What meant that caution joined. If ye be foitnd 
Obedieiit? Can we want obedience, then, 
To him, or possibly his love desert. 
Who formed us from the dust, and placed us here 
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss 
Human desires can seek or apprehend }" 

To whom the Angel : — " Son of Heaven and Earth, 


Attend ! That thou art happy, owe to God ; 520 

That thou continuest such, owe to thyself, 

That is, to thy obedience ; therein stand. 

This was that caution given thee ; be advised. 

God made thee perfect, not immutable; 

And good he made thee ; but to persevere 

He left it in thy power — ordained thy will 

By nature free, not over-ruled by fate 

Inextricable, or strict necessity. 

Our voluntary service he requires. 

Not our necessitated. Such with him 530 

Finds no acceptance, nor can find ; for how 

Can hearts not free be tried whether they serve 

Willing or no, who will but what they must 

By destiny, and can no other choose.^ 

Myself, and all the Angelic Host, that stand 

In sight of God enthroned, our happy state 

Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds. 

On other surety none: freely we serve, 

Because we freely love, as in our will 

To love or not ; in this we stand or fall. 540 

And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen. 

And so from Heaven to deepest Hell. O fall 

From what high state of bliss into what woe !" 

To whom our great Progenitor: — "Thy words 
Attentive, and with more delighted ear. 
Divine instructor, I have heard, than when 
Cherubic songs by night from neighboring hills 
Aerial music send. Nor knew I not 
To be, both will and deed, created free. 
Yet that we never shall forget to love 550 

Our Maker, and obey him whose command 
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts 
Assured me, and still assure; though what thou tell'st 
Hath passed in Heaven some doubt within me move. 
But more desire to hear, if thou consent. 
The full relation, which must needs be strange, 
Worthy of sacred silence to be heard. 
And we have yet laige, day, for scarce the Sun 
Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins 
His other half in the great zone of heaven." 560 

Thus Adam made request; and Raphael. 
After short pause assenting, thus began : — 

" High matter thou enjoin'st me. O prime of Men — 
Sad task and hard ; for how shall I relate 


To human sense the invisible exploits 

Of warring Spirits? how, without remorse, 

The ruin of so many, glorious once 

And perfect while they stood ? how, last, unfold 

The secrets of another world, perhaps 

Not lawful to reveal ? Yet for thy good 570 

This is dispensed ; and what surmounts the reach 

Of human sense I shall delineate so, 

By likening spiritual to corporal forms. 

As may express them best— though what if Earth 

Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein 

Each to other like more than on Earth is thought ! 

" As yet this World was not, and Chaos wild [rests 
Reigned where these heavens now roll, where Earth now 
Upon her centre poised, when on a day 
(For Time, though in Eternity, applied 580 

To motion, measures all things durable 
By present, past, and future), on such day 
As Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host 
Of Angels, by imperial summons called. 
Innumerable before the Almighty's throne 
Forthwith from all the ends of Heaven appeared 
Under their hierarchs in orders bright. 
Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced, 
Standards and gonfalons, 'twixt van and rear 
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve sgo 

Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees ; 
Or in their glittering tissues bear emblazed 
Holy mem.orials, acts of zeal and love 
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs 
Of circuit inexpressible they stood. 
Orb within orb, the Father Infinite, 
By whom in bliss embosomed sat the Son, 
Amidst, as from a flaming mount, whose top 
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake : — 

" ' Hear, all ye Angels, Progeny of Light, 600 

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, 
Hear my decree, which unrevoked shall stand I 
This day I have begot whom I declare 
My only Son, and on this ho^.y hill 
Him have anointed, whom ye now behold 
At my right hand. Your head I him appoint, 
And by myself have sworn to him shall bow 
All knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord, 
Under his great vicegerent reign abide. 


United as one individual soul. 6io 

For ever happy. Him who disobeys 

Me disobeys, breaks union, and, that day. 

Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls 

Into utter darkness, deep engulfed, his place 

Ordained without redemption, without end.' 

" So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words 
All seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all. 
That day, as other solemn days, they spent 
In song and dance about the sacred hill — 
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere ^20 

Of planets and of fixed in all her wheels 
Resembles nearest ; mazes intricate. 
Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular 
Then most when most irregular they seem ; 
And in their motions harmony divine 
So smooths her charming tones that God's own ear 
Listens delighted. Evening now approached 
(For we have also our evening and our morn — 
We ours for change delectable, not need). 
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn 630 

Desirous: all in circles as they stood. 
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled 
With Angels' food ; and rubied nectar flows 
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold, 
Fruit of delicious ^'ines, the growth of Heaven. 
On flower; , and with fresh flowerets crowned, 

They eat, t '., and in communion sweet 

Quaf? imm id joy, secure 

Of surfeit \ measure only bounds 

Excess, befc bounteous King, who showered 640 

With copioi joicing in their joy. 

Now when amorosial Night, with clouds exhaled 
From that high mount of God whence light and shade 
Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed 
To grateful twilight (for Night comes not there 
In darker veil), and roseate dews disposed 
All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest. 
Wide over all the plain, and wider far 
Than all this globous Earth in plain outspread 
(Such are the courts of God), the Angelic throng, 650 

Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend 
By living streams among the trees of life — 
Pavilions numberless and sudden reared, 
Celestial tabernacles, where they slept, 


Fanned with cool winds; save those who, in their course, 

Melodious hymns about the sovran throne 

Alternate all night long. But not so waked 

Satan — so call him now ; his former name 

Is heard no more in Heaven. He, of the first, 

If not the first Archangel, great in power, 660 

In favor, and pre-eminence, yet fraught 

With envy against the Son of God, that day 

Honored by his great Father, and proclaimed 

Messiah, King Anointed, could not bear, 

Through pride, that sight, and thought himself impaired. 

Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain. 

Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour 

Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved 

With all his legions to dislodge, and leave 

Unworshiped, unobeyed, the Throne supreme, 670 

Contemptuous, and, his next subordinate 

Awakening, thus to him in secret spake: — 

" ' Sleep'st thou, companion dear.^ what sleep can close 
Thy eyelids? and rememberest what decree. 
Of yesterday, so late hath passed the lips 
Of Heaven's Almighty? Thou to me thy thoughts 
Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont, to impart ; 
Both waking we were one; how, then, can now 
Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest imposed; 
New law^s from him who reigns new minds may raise 6So 
In us who serve — new counsels, to debate 
What doubtful may ensue. More in this place 
To utter is not safe. Assemble thou 
Of all those myriads which we lead the chief ; 
Tell them that, by command, ere yet dim Night 
Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste, 
And all who under me their banners wave, 
Homeward with flying march where we possess 
The quarters of the North, there to prepare 
Fit entertainment to receive our King, 690 

The great Messiah, and his new commands, 
Who speedily through all the Hierarchies 
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.* 

" So spake the false Archangel, and infused 
Bad influence into the unwary breast 
Of his a.ssociate. He together calls. 
Or several one by one, the regent Powers, 
Under him regent; tells, as he was taught, 
That, the Most High commanding, now ere Night, 


Now ere dim Night had disencumbered Heaven, 700 

The great hierarchal standard was to move ; 

Tells the suggested cause, and casts between 

Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound 

Or taint integrity. But all obeyed 

The wonted signal, and superior voice 

Of their great Potentate; for great indeed 

His name, and high was his degree in Heaven; 

His countenance, as the morning-star that guides 

The starry flock, allured them, and with lies 

Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host. 71c 

Meanwhile, the Eternal Eye, whose sight discerns 

Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount. 

And from within the golden lamps that burn 

Nightly before him, saw without their light 

Rebellion rising — saw in whom, how spread 

Among the Sons of Morn, what multitudes 

Were banded to oppose his high decree; 

And, smiling, to his only Son thus said : — 

" ' Son, thou in whom my glory I behold 
In full resplendence, Heir of all my might, 720 

Nearly it now concerns us to be sure 
Of our omnipotence, and with what arms 
We mean to hold what anciently we claim 
Of deity or empire : such a foe 
Is rising, who intends to erect his throne 
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious North ; 
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try 
In battle what our power is or our right. 
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw 
With speed what force is left, and all employ 730 

In our defence, lest unawares we lose 
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.' 

" To whom the Son, with calm aspect and clear 
Lightening divine, ineffable, serene. 
Made answer; -' Mighty Father, thou thy foes 
Justly hast in derision, and secure 
Laugh'st at their vain designs and tumults vain — 
Matter to me of glory, whom their hate 
Illustrates, when they see all regal power 
Given me to quell their pride, and in event 740 

Know whether I be dextrous to subdue 
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven.' 

" So spake the Son ; but Satan with his Powers 
Far was advanced on winged speed, an host 


Innumerable as the stars of night, 

Or stars of morning, dew-drops which the sun 

Impearls on every leaf and every flower. 

Regions they passed, the mighty regencies 

Of Seraphim and Potentates and Thrones 

In their triple degrees — regions to which 75° 

All thy dominion. Adam, is no more 

Than what this garden is to all the earth 

And all the sea, from one entire globose 

Stretched into longitude; which having passed, 

At length into the limits of the North 

They came, and Satan to his royal seat 

High on a hill, far-blazing, as a mount 

Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers 

From diamond quarries hewn and rocks of gold — 

The palace of great Lucifer (so call 760 

That structure, in the dialect of men 

Interpreted) which, not long after, he, 

Affecting all equality with God, 

In imitation of that mount whereon 

Messiah was declared in sight of Heaven, 

The Mountain of the Congregation called ; 

For thither he assembled all his train, 

Pretending so commanded to consult 

About the great reception of their King 

Thither to come, and with calumnious art 770 

Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears : 

" ' Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers— 
If these magnitic titles yet remain 
Not merely titular, since by decree 
Another now hath to himself engrossed 
All power, and us eclipsed under the name 
Of King Anointed ; for whom all this haste 
Of midnight march, and hurried meeting here. 
This only to consult, how we may best. 
With what may be devised of honors new, 780 

Receive him coming to receive from us 
Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile I 
Too much to one I but double how endured — 
To one and to his image now proclaimed ? 
But what if better counsels might erect 
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke! 
Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend 
The suppie knee.^ Ye will not, if I trust 
To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves 


Natives and Sons of Heaven possessed before 790 

By none, and, if not equal all, yet free, 

Equally free ; for orders and degrees 

Jar not with liberty, but well consist. 

Who can in reason, then, or right, assume 

Monarchy over such as live by right 

His equals — if in power and splendor less, 

In freedom equal? or can introduce 

Law and edict on us, who without law 

F>r not? much less for this to be our Lord, 

And look for adoration, to the abuse 800 

Of those imperial titles which assert 

Our being ordained to govern, not to serve !' 

" Thus far his bold discourse without control 
Had audience, when, among the Seraphim. 
Abdiel. than whom none with more zeal adored 
The Deity, and divine commands obeyed, 
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe 
The current of his fury thus opposed : 

" ' O argument blasphemous, false, and proud — 
Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven sio 

Expected ; least of all from thee, ingrate. 
In place thyself so high above thy peers! 
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn 
The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn, 
That to his only Son, by right endued 
W^ith regal sceptre, every soul in Heaven 
Shall bend the knee, and in that honor due 
Confess him rightful King? Unjust, thou say'st, 
Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free, 
And equal over equals to let reign. 820 

One over all with unsucceeded power ! 
Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute 
With Him the points of liberty, who made 
Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven 
Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being? 
Yet, by experience taught, we know how good. 
And of our good and of our dignity 
How provident, he is — how far from thought 
To make us less ; bent rather to exalt 
Our happy state, under one head more near 830 

United. But — to grant it thee unjust 
That equal over equals monarch reign- 
Thyself. though great and glorious, dost thou count, 
Of all angelic nature joined in one, 


Equal to him, begotten Son, by' whom. 

As by his Word, the mighty Father made 

All things, even thee, and all the Spirits of Heaven 

By him created in their bright degrees, 

Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named 

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues. Powers? — 840 

Essential Powers ; nor by his reign obscured, 

But more illustrious made ; since he, the head, 

One of our number thus reduced becomes ; 

His laws our laws; all honor to him done 

Returns our own. Cease, then, this impious rage, 

And tempt not these ; but hasten to appease 

The incensed Father and the incensed Son 

While pardon may be found, in time besought.' 

"So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal 
None seconded, as out of season judged, 850 

Or singular and rash. Whereat rejoiced 
The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied : — 

" ' That we were formed, then, say'st thou ? and the work 
Of secondary hands, by task transferred 
From Father to his Son .^ Strange point and new I 
Doctrine which we would know whence learned. Who saw 
When this creation was .-' Remember'st thou 
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being .^ 
We know no time when we were not as now ; 
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised 860 

By our own quickening power when fatal course 
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature 
Of this our native Heaven, Ethereal Sons. 
Our puissance is our own ; our own right hand 
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try 
Who is our equal. Then thou shalt behold 
Whether by supplication we intend 
Address, and to begirt the Almighty Throne 
Beseeching or besieging. This report, 

These tidings, carry to the Anointed King ; S70 

And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.' 

" He said ; and, as the sound of waters deep, 
Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause 
Through the infinite host. Nor less for that 
The flaming Seraph, fearless, though alone, 
Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold : — 

" ' O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed, 
Forsaken of all good ! I see thy fall 
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved 


In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread 880 

Both of thy crime and punishment. Henceforth 
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke 
Of God's Messiah. Those indulgent laws 
Will not be now voutsafed ; other decrees 
Against thee are gone forth without recall ; 
That golden sceptre which thou didst reject 
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break 
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise ; 
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly 

These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath 890 

Impendent, raging into sudden flame, 
Distinguish not: for soon expect to feel 
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire. 
Then who created thee lamenting learn 
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.' 
*' So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found ; 
Among the faithless faithful only he ; 
Among innumerable false unmoved, 
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified. 

His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal ; 900 

Nor number nor example with him wrought 
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind, 
Though single. From amidst them forth he passed. 
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained 
Superior, nor of violence feared aught; 
And with retorted scorn his back he turned 
On those proud towers, to swift destruction doomed." 

3Book m 


Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battle 
against Satan and his Angels. The first fight described : Satan and his Powers 
retire under night. He calls a council ; invents devilish engines, whicli, in the 
second day's fight, put Michael and his Angels to some disorder; but they at 
length, pulling up mountains, overwhelmed both tlie force and machines of 
Satan. Yet, the tumult not so ending, God, on the third day, sends Messiah his 
Son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory. He, in the power of 
his Father, coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on 
either side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, 
pursues them, unable to resist, towards the wall of Heaven ; which opening, they 
leap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for 
them in the Deep. Messiah returns with triumph to his Father. 

ALL night the dreadless Angel, unpursued, [Morn. 
Through Heaven's wide champaign held his way, till 
Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand 
Unbarred the gates of Light. There is a cave 
Within the Mount of God, fast by his throne, 
Where Light and Darkness in perpetual round [Heaven 
Lodge and dislodge by turns — which makes through 
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night; 
Light issues forth, and at the other door 
Obsequious Darkness enters, till her hour 
To veil the heaven, though darkness there might well 
Seem twilight here. And now went forth the Morn 
Such as in highest heaven, arrayed in gold 
Empyreal ; from before her vanished Night, 
Shot through with orient beams ; when all the plain 
Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright. 
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds, 
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view. 
War he perceived, war in procinct. and found 
Already known what he for news had thought 
To have reported. Gladly then he mixed 
Among those friendly Powers, who him received 
With joy and acclamations loud, that one, 
That of so many myriads fallen yet one. 
Returned not lost. On to the sacred hill 


They led him, high applauded, and present 
Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice, 
From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard : — 

" ' Servant of God, well done ! Well hast thou fought 
The better light, who single hast maintained 30 

Against revolted multitudes the cause 
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms. 
And for the testimony of truth hast borne 
Universal reproach, far worse to bear 
Than violence; for this was all thy care 
To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds 
judged thee perverse. The easier conquest now 
Remains thee — aided by this host of friends, 
Rack on thy foes more glorious to return 
Than scorned thou didst depart ; and to subdue 40 

By force who reason for their law refuse- 
Right reason for their law, and for their King 
Messiah, who by right of merit reigns. 
Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince. 
And thou, in military prowess next. 
Gabriel ; lead forth to battle these my sons 
Invincible; lead forth my armed Saints, 
By thousands and by millions ranged for tight, 
Equal in number to that godless crew 

Rebellious. Them with tire and hostile arms 50 

Fearless assault ; and, to the brow of Heaven 
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss 
Into their place of punishment, the gulf 
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide 
His fiery chaos to receive their fall.' 

"So spake the Sovran Voice; and clouds began 
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll 
In dusky wreaths reluctant flames, the sign 
Of wrath awaked ; nor with less dread the loud 
Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow. 60 

.At which command the Powers Militant 
That stood for Heav-en, in mighty quadrate joined 
Of union irresistible, moved on 
In silence their bright legions to the sound 
Of instrumental harmony, that breathed 
Heroic ardor to adventurous deeds 
Under their godlike leaders, in the cause 
Of God and his Messiah. On thev move, 
Indissolubly tirm ; nor obvious hill. 
Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides 70 


Their perfect ranks ; for high above the ground 

Their march was, and the passive air upbore 

Ttieir nimble tread. As when the total kind 

Of birds, in orderly array on wing, 

Came summoned over Eden to receive 

Their names of thee; so over many a tract 

Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide, 

Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last. 

Far in the horizon, to the north, appeared 

From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretched _ So 

In battailous aspect ; and, nearer view, 

Bristled with upright beams innumerable 

Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shields 

Various, w^ith boastful argument portrayed. 

The banded Powers of Satan hasting on 

With furious expedition : for they weened 

That self-same day, by fight or by surprise. 

To win the Mount of God, and on his throne 

To set the envier of his state, the proud 

Aspirer. But their thoughts proved fond and vain 90 

In the mid-way ; though strange to us it seemed * 

At first that Angel should with Angel war. 

And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet 

So oft in festivals of joy and love 

Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire, 

Hymning the Eternal Father. But the shout 

Of battle now began, and rushing sound 

Of onset ended soon each milder thought. 

High in the midst, exalted as a God, 

The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat, 100 

Idol of majesty divine, enclosed 

With fiaming Cherubim and golden shields; 

Then lighted from his gorgeous throne — for now 

'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left, 

A dreadful interval, and front to front 

Presented stood, in terrible array 

Of hideous length. Before the cloudy van. 

On the rough edge of battle ere it joined, 

Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced. 

Came towering, armed in adamant and gold. no 

Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood 

Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds. 

And thus his own undaunted heart explores : — 

•"O Heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest 
Should yet remain, where faith and realty 


Remain not! Wherefore should not strength and might 

There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove 

Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable? 

His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid, 

I mean to try, whose reason I have tried 120 

Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just 

That he who in debate of truth had won 

Should win in arms, in both disputes alike 

Victor. Though brutish that contest and foul. 

When reason hath to deal with force, yet so 

Most reason is that reason overcome.' 

"So pondering, and from his armed peers 
Forth-stepping opposite, half-way he met 
His daring foe, at this prevention more 
Incensed, and thus securely him defied : — 130 

" ' Proud, art thou met } Thy hope was to have reached 
The highth of thy aspiring unopposed — 
The throne of God unguarded, and his side 
Abandoned at the terror of thy power 
Or potent tongue. Fool ! not to think how vain 
'Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms ; 
Who, out of smallest things, could without end 
Have raised incessant armies to defeat 
Thy folly; or with solitary hand. 

Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow, 140 

Unaided could have finished thee, and whelmed 
Thy legions under darkness ! But thou seest 
All are not of thy train ; there be who faith 
Prefer, and piety to God, though then 
To thee not visible when I alone 
Seemed in thy world erroneous to dissent 
From all: my Sect thou seest; now learn too late 
How few sometimes may know when thousands err.' 

" Whom the grand Foe, with scornful eye askance. 
Thus answered : — ' 111 for thee, but in wished hour 150 

Of my revenge, first sought for, thou ret urn 'st 
From flight, seditious Angel, to receive 
Thy merited reward, the first assay 
Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue. 
Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose 
A third part of the Gods, in synod met 
Their deities to assert : who, while they feel 
Vigor divine within them, can allow 
Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st 
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win 160 


From me some plume, that thy success may show- 
Destruction to the rest. This pause between 
(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know.— 
At tirst I thought that Liberty and Heaven 
To heavenly souls had been all one ; but now^ 
I see that most through sloth had rather serve, 
Ministering Spirits, trained up in feast and song : 
Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of heaven — 
Servility with freedom to contend, 
As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.' 17° 

" To whom, in brief, thus Abdiel stern replied : — 
* Apostate ! still thou err'st, nor end wilt find 
Of erring, from the path of truth remote. 
Unjustly thou deprav'st it with the name 
Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains. 
Or Nature : God and Nature bid the same, 
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels 
Them whom he governs. This is servitude — 
To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelled 
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, i8o 

Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled ; 
Yet lewdly dar'st our ministering upbraid. 
Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me .serve 
In Heaven God ever blest, and his divine 
Behests obey, worthiest to be obeyed. 
Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect : meanwhile, 
From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from flight, 
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.' 

" So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high. 
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 190 

On the proud crest of Satan that no sight, 
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield, 
Such ruin intercept. Ten paces huge 
He back recoiled ; the tenth on bended knee 
His massy spear upstayed : as if, on earth. 
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way, ^ 

Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat, 
Half-sunk with all his pines. Amazement seized 
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to see 
Thus foiled their mightiest ; ours joy filled, and shout, 200 
Presage of victory, and fierce desire 
Of battle: whereat Michael bid sound 
The Archangel trumpet. Through the vast of Heaven 
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung 
Hosannah to the Highest; nor stood at gaze 


The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined 

The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose, 

And clamor such as heard in Heaven till now 

Was never; arms on armor clashing brayed 

Horrible discord, and the madding wheels 

Of brazen chariots raged ; dire was the noise 

Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss 

Of fiery darts in flaming volleys fiew. 

And, flying, vaulted either host with fire. 

So under fiery cope together rushed 

Both battles main with ruinous assault 

And inextinguishable rage. All Heaven 

Resounded ; and, had Earth been then, all Earth 

Had to her centre shook. What wonder, when 

Millions of fierce encountering Angels fought 

On either side, the least of whom could wield 

These elements, and arm him Avith the force 

Of all their regions } How much more of power 

Army against army numberless to raise 

Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb. 

Though not destroy, their happy native seat ; 

Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent 

From his strong hold of Heaven high overruled 

And limited their might, though numbered such 

As each divided legion might have seemed 

A numerous host, in strength each armed hand 

A legion ! Led in fight, yet leader seemed 

Each warrior single as in chief; expert 

When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway 

Of battle, open when, and when to close 

The ridges of grim war. No thought of flight, 

None of retreat, no unbecoming deed 

That argued fear; each on himself relied 

As only in his arm the moment lay 

Of victory. Deeds of eternal fame : 

Were done, but infinite ; for wide was spread 

That war, and various : sometimes on firm ground 

A standing fight; then, soaring on main wing, 

Tormented all the air; all air seemed then 

Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale 

The battle hung ; till Satan, who that day 

Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms 

No equal, ranging through the dire attack 

Of fighting Seraphim confused, at length 

Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felled : 


Squadrons at once : with huge two-handed sway 

Brandished aloft, the horrid edge came down 

Wide-wasting. Such destruction to withstand 

He hasted, and opposed the rocky orb 

Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield, 

A vast circumference. At his approach 

The great Archangel from his warlike toil 

Surceased, and. glad, as hoping here to end 

Intestine war in Heaven, the Arch-foe subdued. 

Or captive dragged in chains, with hostile frown 260 

And visage all inflamed, first thus began : — 

•• ' Author of Evil, unknown till thy revolt, 
Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou seest 
These acts of hateful strife — hateful to all. 
Though heaviest, by just measure, on thyself 
And thy adherents— how hast thou disturbed 
Heaven's blessed peace, and into Nature brought 
Misery, uncreated till the crime 
Of thy rebellion ! how hast thou instilled 
Thy malice into thousands, once upright 270 

And faithful, now proved false ! But think not here 
To trouble holy rest ; Heaven casts thee out 
From all her confines; Heaven, the seat of bliss, 
Brooks not the works of violence and war. 
Hence, then, and Evil go with thee along, 
Thy offspring, to the place of Evil, Hell — 
Thou and thy wicked crew! there mingle broils! 
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom, 
Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God, 
Precipitate thee with augmented pain.' 280 

" So spake the Prince of Angels ; to whom thus 
The Adversary : — ' Nor think thou with wind 
Of airy threats to awe whom yet with deeds 
Thou canst not. Hast thou turned the least of these 
To flight— or, if to fall, but that they rise 
Unvanquished — easier to transact with me 
That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats 
To chase me hence .^ Err not that so shall end 
The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style 
The strife of glory ; which we mean to win, 290 

Or turn this Heaven itself into the Hell 
Thou f ablest ; here, however, to dwell free. 
If not to reign. Meanwhile, thy utmost force — 
And join him named Almighty to thy aid — 
I fiy not, but have sought thee far and nigh.' 


" They ended parle, and both addressed for fight 
Unspeakable ; for who, though with the tongue 
Of Angels, can relate, or to what things 
Liken on Earth conspicuous, that may lift 
Human imagination to such highth 300 

Of godlike power? for likest gods they seemed, 
Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms. 
Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven. 
Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air 
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields 
Blazed opposite, while Expectation stood 
In horror; from each hand with speed retired. 
Where erst was thickest fight, the Angelic throng, 
And left large field, unsafe within the wind 
Of such commotion : such as (to set forth 310 

Great things by small) if. Nature's concord broke. 
Among the constellations war were sprung. 
Two planets, rushing from aspect malign 
Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky 
Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound. 
Together both, with next to almighty arm 
Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aimed 
That might determine, and not need repeat 
As not of power, at once ; nor odds appeared 
In might or swift prevention. But the sword 320 

Of Michael from the armory of God 
Was given him tempered so that neither keen 
Nor solid might resist that edge : it met 
The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite 
Descending, and in half cut sheer ; nor stayed, 
But, with swift wheel reverse, deep entering, shared 
All his right side. Then Satan first knew pain, 
And writhed him to and fro convolved ; so sore 
The griding sword with discontinuous wound 
Passed through him. But the ethereal substance closed, 330 
Not long divisible ; and from the gash 
A stream of nectarous humor issuing flowed 
Sanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed, 
And all his armor stained, erewhile so bright, 
Forthwith, on all sides, to his aid was run 
By Angels many and strong, who interposed 
Defence, while others bore him on their shields 
Back to his chariot where it stood retired 
From off the files of war: there they him laid 
Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame 340 

BookVL] paradise LOST 117 

To find himself not matchless, and his pride 

Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath 

His confidence to equal God in power. 

Yet soon he healed ; for Spirits, that live throughout 

Vital in every part — not. as frail Man, 

In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins— 

Cannot but by annihilating die; 

Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound 

Receive, no more than can the fluid air : 

All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear, 350 

All intellect, all sense ; and as they please 

They limb themselves, and color, shape, or size 

Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare. 

" Meanwhile, in other parts, like deeds deserved 
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought, 
And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array 
Of Moloch, furious king, who him defied. 
And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound 
Threatened, nor from the Holy One of Heaven 
Refrained his tongue blasphemous, but anon, 360 

Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms 
And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing 
Uriel and Raphael his vaunting foe, 
Though huge and in a rock of diamond armed, 
Vanquished — Adramelech and Asmadai, 
Two potent Thrones, that to be less than Gods 
Disdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their flight, 
Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail. 
Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy 

The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow 370 

Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence 
Of Ramiel. scorched and blasted, overthrew. 
I might relate of thousands, and their names 
Eternize here on Earth ; but those elect 
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven, 
Seek not the praise of men : the other sort, 
In might though wondrous and in acts of war, 
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom 
Cancelled from Heaven and sacred memory, 
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell ;,8o 

For strength from truth divided, and from just, 
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise 
And ignominy, yet to glory aspires. 
Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame : 
Therefore eternal silence be their doom ! 


" And now. their mightiest quelled, the battle swerved, 
With many an inroad gored ; deformed rout 
Entered, and foul disorder; all the ground 
With shivered armor strown, and on a heap 
Chariot and charioter lay overturned, 390 

And fiery foaming steeds ; what stood recoiled, 
O'er-wearied. through the faint Satanic host. 
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised — 
Then first with fear surprised and sense of pain — 
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought 
By sin of disobedience, till that hour 
Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain. 
Far otherwise the inviolable Saints 
In cubic phalanx firm advanced entire, 

Invulnerable, impenetrably armed: 400 

Such high advantages their innocence 
Gave them above their foes — not to have sinned, 
Not to have disobeyed ; in fight they stood 
Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pained 
By wound, though from their place by violence moved. 

" Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven 
Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed, 
And silence on the odious din of war. 
Under her cloudy covert both retired. 

Victor and vanquished. On the foughten field 410 

Michael and his Angels, prevalent 
Encamping, placed in guard their watches round, 
Cherubic waving fires : on the other part, 
Satan with his rebellious disappeared. 
Far in the dark dislodged, and, void of rest. 
His potentates to council called by night. 
And in the midst thus undismayed began : — 

"'O now in danger tried, now known in arms 
Not to be overpowered, companions dear. 
Found worthy not of liberty alone — 420 

Too mean pretence — but, what we more affect. 
Honor, dominion, glory, and renown ; 
Who have sustained one day in doubtful fight 
(And, if one day, why not eternal days .^) 
What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send 
Against us from about his throne, and judged 
Sufficient to subdue us to his will. 
But proves not so : then fallible, it seems, 
Of future we may deem him, though till now 
Omniscient thought! True is, less firmly armed, 430 


Some disadvantage we endured, and pain — 

Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemned ; 

Since now we find this our empyreal form 

Incapable of mortal injury, 1 

Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound, 

Soon closing, and by native vigor healed. 

Of evil, then, so small as easy think 

The remedy : perhaps more valid arms, 

Weapons more violent, when next we meet. 

May serve to better us and worse our foes, 440 

Or equal what between us made the odds, 

In nature none. If other hidden cause 

Left them superior, while we can preserve 

Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound. 

Due search and consultation will disclose.' 

" He sat ; and in the assembly next upstood 
Nisroch, of Principalities the prime. 
As one he stood escaped from cruel fight 
Sore toiled, his riven arms to havoc hewn. 
And, cloudy in aspect, thus answering spake: — 45° 

" ' Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free 
Enjoyment of our right as Gods ! yet hard 
For Gods, and too unequal work, we find 
Against unequal arms to fight in pain. 
Against unpained, impassive ; from which evil 
Ruin must needs e.isue. For what avails 
Valor or strength, though matchless, quelled with pain. 
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands 
Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well 
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine, 460 

But live content — which is the calmest life ; 
But pain is perfect misery, the worst 
Of evils, and, excessive, overturns 
All patience. He who, therefore, can invent 
With what more forcible we may oiTend 
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm 
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves 
No less than for deliverance what we owe.' 

" Whereto, with look composed, Satan replied : — ' 

' Not uninvented that, which thou aright 470 

Believ'st so main to our success, I bring. 
Which of us who beholds the bright surface 
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand — 
This continent of spacious Heaven, adorned 
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems and gold — 


Whose eye so superficially surveys 

These things as not to mind from whence they grow 

Deep under ground ; materials dark and crude, 

Of spiritous and fiery spume, till, touched 

With Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot forth 480 

So beauteous, opening to the ambient light? 

These in their dark nativity the Deep 

Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame ; 

Which, into hollow engines long and round 

Thick-rammed, at the other bore with touch of fire 

Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth 

From far, with thundering noise, among our foes 

Such implements of mischief as shall dash 

To pieces and o'erwhelm whatever stands 

Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmed 490 

The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt. 

Nor long shall be our labor ; yet ere dawn 

Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive ; 

Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joined 

Think nothing hard, much less to be despaired.' 

" He ended ; and his words their drooping cheer 
Enlightened, and their languished hope revived. 
The invention all admired, and each how he 
To be the inventor missed ; so easy it seemed 
Once found. which yet unfound most would have thought 500 
Impossible ! Yet, haply, of thy race. 
In future days, if malice should abound, 
Some one, intent on mischief, or inspired 
With devilish machination, might devise 
Like instrument to plague the sons of men 
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent. 
Forthwith from council to the work they flew ; 
None arguing stood ; innumerable hands 
Were ready ; in a moment up they turned 
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath 510 

The originals of Nature in their crude 
Conception ; sulphurous and nit rous foam 
They found, they mingled, and, with subtle art 
Concocted and adusted, they reduced 
To blackest grain>arrd into store conveyed. 
Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this Earth 
Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone, 
Whereof to found their engines and their balls 
Of missive ruin ; part in centiv e reed 
Provide, pernisjpus with one touch to fire. 320 


So ;ill ere day-spring, under conscious Night, 
Secret they finished, and in order set, 
With silent circumspection, unespied. 

• Now, when fair Morn orient in Heaven appeared, 
U ;? rose the victor Angels, and to arms 
"he matin trumpet sung. In arms they stood 
»f golden panoply, refulgent host, 
:^oon banded ; others from the dawning hills 
Looked round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour, 
i iach quarter, to descry the distant foe, 530 

Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight, 
in motion or in halt. Him soon they met 
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow 
But firm battalion : back with speediest sail 
Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing. 
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried : — 

" ' Arm, Warriors, arm for fight I The foe at hand, 
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit 
This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud 
He comes, and settled in his face I see 540 

Sad resolution and secure. Let each 
His adamantine coat gird well, and each 
Fit well -his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield. 
Borne even or higlr.'-'for this day will pour down, 
If 1 conjecture aught, no drizzling shower, 
But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire.' 

" So warned he them, aware themselves, and soon 
In order, quit of all ii-^ipediment. 
Instant, without disturbTTFiey took alarm. 
And onward move embattled : when, behold, 550 

Not distant far, with heavy pace the foe 
Approaching gross and huge, in hollow cube 
Training his devilish enginry, impaled 
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep, 
To hide the fraud. At interview both stood 
A while; but suddenly at head appeared 
Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud : — 

"•Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold, 
That all may see who hate us how we seek 
Peace and composure, and with open breast 560 

Stand ready to receive them, if they like 
Our overture, and turn not back perverse : 
But that I doubt. However, witness Heaven ! 
Heaven, witness thou anon! while we discharge 
Freely our part. Ye, who appointed stand. 


Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch 
What we propound, and loud that all may hear." 

" So scofl^ng Tn ambiguous words, he scarce 
Had ended, when to*Tl^!Tf and left the front 
Divided, and to either flank retired ; s/o 

Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange, 
A triple mounted row of pillars laid 
On wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed, 
Or hollowed bodies make of oak or fir. 
With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled), 
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths 
With hideous orifice gaped on us wide, 
Portending hollow truce. At each, behind. 
A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed 
Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense, sSo 

Collected stood within our thoughts amused. 
Not long ! for sudden all at once their reeds 
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied 
With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame. 
But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appeared, 
From those deep-throated engines belched, whose roar 
Embowelled ,with outrageous noise the air, 
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul 
Their devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail 
Of iron globes ; which, on the victor host 590 

Levelled, with such impetuous fury smote. 
That whom they hit none on their feet might stand. 
Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell 
By thousands, Angel on Archangel rolled, 
The sooner for their arms. Unarmed, they might 
Have easily, as Spirits, evaded swift 
By quick contraction or remove ; but now 
Foul dissipation followed, and forced rout ; 
Nor served it to relax their serried files. 
WTiat should they do .^ If on they rushed, repulse 600 

Repeated, and indecent overthrow 
Doubled, would render them yet more despised, 
And to their foes a laughter— for in view 
Stood ranked of Seraphim another row. 
In posture to displode their second tire 
Of thunder; back defeated to return 
They worse abhorred. Satan beheld their plight, 
And to his mates thus in derision called : — 

" ' O friends, why come not on these victors proud } 
Erewhile they tierce were coming; and. when we, 610 


To entertain them fair with open front 

And breast (what could we more ?), propounded terms 

Of composition, straight they changed their minds, 

Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell, 

As they would dance. Yet for a dance they seemed 

Somewhat extravagant and wild ; perhaps 

For joy of offered peace. But I suppose, 

If our proposals once again were heard. 

We should compel them to a quick result.' 

" To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood : — 620 
' Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight, 
Of hard contents, and full of force urged home, 
Such as we might perceive amused them all. 
And stumbled many. Who receives them right 
Had need from head to foot well understand ; 
Not understood, this gift they have besides— 
They show us when our foes walk not upright." 

" So they among themselves in pleasant vein 
Stood scoffing, highthened in their thoughts beyond 
All doubt of victory ; Eternal Might 630 

To match with their inventions they presumed 
So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn, 
And all his host derided, while they stood 
A while in trouble. But they stood not long; 
Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms 
Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose. 
Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power, 
Which God hath in his mighty Angels placed !) 
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills 
(For Earth hath this variety from Heaven 640 

Of pleasure situate in hill and dale) 
Light as the lightning-glimpse they ran, they flew; 
From their foundations, loosening to and fro, 
They plucked the seated hills, with all their load, 
Rocks, waters, woods, and, by the shaggy tops 
Uplifting, bore them in their hands. Amaze, 
Be sure, and terror, seized the rebel host, 
When coming towards them so dread they saw 
The bottom of the mountains upward turned, 
Till on those cursed engines' triple row 650 

They saw them whelmed, and all their confidence 
Under the weight of mountains buried deep ; 
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads 
Main promontories flung, which in the air 
Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed. 


Their armor helped their harm, crushed in and bruised, 

Into their substance pent — which wrought them pain 

Implacable, and many a dolorous groan, 

Lon^^'-struggling underneath, ere they could wind 

Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light, 660 

Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown. 

The rest, in imitation, to like arms 

Betook them, and the neighboring hills uptore ; 

So hills amid the air encountered hills. 

Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire. 

That underground they fougTTt in dismal shade : 

Infernal noise I war seemed a civil game 

To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped 

Upon confusion rose. And now all Heaven 

Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread, 670 

Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits 

Shrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure, 

Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen 

This tumult, and permitted all, advised, 

That his great purpose he might so fulfil, 

To honor his Anointed Son, avenged 

Upon his enemies, and to declare 

All power on him transferred. Whence to his Son, 

The assessor of his throne, he thus began : — 

" ' EfTinj^;pice of my glory. Son beloved, 680 

Son in whose face invisible is beheld 
Visibly, what by Deity I am, 
And in whose hand what by decree I do, 
Second Omnipotence! two days are passed. 
Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven, 
Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame 
These disobedient. Sore hath been their fight. 
As likeliest was when two such foes met armed : 
For to themselves I left them ; and thou know'st 
Equal in their creation they were formed, 690 

Save what sin hath impaired — which yet hath wrought 
Insensibly, for I suspend their doom : 
Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last 
Endless, and no solution will be found. 
War wearied hath performed what war can do, 
And to disordered rage let loose the reins, 
With mountains, as with weapons, armed ; which makes 
Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main. 
Two days are, therefore, passed; the third is thine: 
For thee I have ordained it, and thus far 700 


Have suffered, that the glory may be thine 

Of ending this great war, since none but thou 

Can end it. Into thee such virtue and grace 

Immense I have transfused, that all may know 

In Heaven and HerTTTiy power above compare, 

And this perverse commotion governed thus, 

To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir 

Of all things— to be Heir, and to be King 

Bv sacred unction, thy deserved right. 

Go, then, tRrnr-Mightiest, in thy Father's might ; 71° 

Ascend my chariot ; guide the rapid wheels 

That shake Heaven's basis; bring forth all my war; 

My bow and thunder, my almighty arms, 

Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh; 

Pursue these Sons of Darkness, drive them out 

From all Heaven's bounds into the utter Deep; 

There let them learn, as likes them, to despise 

God, and Messiah his anointed King.' 

" He said, and on his Son with rays direct 
Shone full. He all his Father full expressed 720 

Ineffably into his face received ; 
And thus the Filial Godhead answering spake:— 
" ' O Father, O Supreme of Heavenly Thrones, 
First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou always seek'st 
To glorify thy Son ; I always thee, 
As is most just. This I my glory account. 
My exaltation, and my whole delight, 
That thou in me, well pleased, declar'st thy will 
Fulfilled, which to fulfil is all my bliss. 
Sceptre and power, thy giving, I assume, 730 

And gladlier shall resign when in the end 
Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee 
For ever, and in me all whom thou lov'st. 
But whom thou hat'st I hate, and can put on 
Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on. 
Image of thee in all things: and shall soon, 
Armed with thy might, rid Heaven of these rebelled. 
To their prepared ill mansion driven down, 
To chains of darkness and the undying worm, 
That from thy just obedience could revolt. 740 

Whom to obey is happiness entire. 
Then shall thy Saints, unmixed, and from the impure 
Far separate, circling thy holy Mount, 
Unfeigned halleluiahs to thee sing. 
Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.' 

126 PARADISE LOST [Book Vf. 

" So said, he. o'er his sceptre bowing, ruse 
From the right hand of Glory where he sat ; 
And the third sacred morn began to shine. [sound 

Dawning through Heaven. Forth rushed with whirlwind 
The chariot of Paternal Deity, 750 

Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel ; undrawn. 
Itself instinct with spirit, but convoyed 
By four cherubic Shapes. Four faces each 
Had wondrous; as wnth stars, their bodies all 
And wings were set with eyes ; with eyes the wheels 
Of beryl, and careering fires between ; 
Over Uieir heads a crystal firmament. 
Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure 
Amber and colors of the showery arch. 
He, in celestial panoply all armed 760 

Of radiant l^im, w'ork divinely wrought, 
Ascended ; aTiils right hand Victory 
Sat eagle-wnnged ; beside him hung his bow. 
And quiver, with three-bolted thunder stored ; 
And from about him fierce effusion rolled 
Of smoke and bickering flame and sparkles dire. 
Attended with ten~TKousand thousand Saints. 
He onward came; far off his coming shone; 
And twenty thousand (I their number heard) 
Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen. 770 

He on the wings of Cherub rode sublime 
On the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned — 
Illustrious far and wide, but by his own 
First seen. Them unexpected joy surprised 
When the great ensign of Messiah blazed 
Aloft, by Angels borne, his sign in Heaven ; 
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduced 
His army, circumfused on either wing. 
Under their~TTead embodied all in one. 
Before him Power Divine his way prepared ; 7S0 

At his command the uprooted hills retired 
Each to his place ; they heard his voice, and went 
Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renewed, 
And with fresh flowerets hiirlmd valley smiled. 

"This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdured. 
And to rebellious fight rallied their Powers, 
Insensate, hope conceiving from despair. 
In Heavenly Spirits could such perverseness dwell "^ 
But to convince the proud w^hat signs avail, 
Or wonders move the obdurate to relent.^ 79« 


They, hardened more by what might most reclaim. 

Grieving to see his glory, at the sight 

Took envy, and, aspiring to his highth, 

Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud 

Weening to prosper, and at length prevail 

Against God and Messiah, or to fall 

In universal ruin last; and now 

To final battle drew, disdaining flight, 

Or faint retreat : when the great Son of God 

To all his host on either hand thus spake : — 800 

•' • Stand still in bright array, ye Saints ; here stand. 
Ye Angels armed; this day from battle rest. 
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God 
Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause ; 
And, as ye have received, so have ye done, 
I-nvincibly. But of this cursed crew 
The punishment to other hand belongs; 
Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints. 
Number to this day's work is not ordained, 
Nor multitude; stand only and behold 810 

God's indignation on these godless poured 
By me. Not you. but me, they have despised, 
Yet envied ; against me is all their rage, 
Because the Father, to whom in Heaven supreme 
Kingdom and power and glory appertains, 
Hath honored me, riccording to his will. 
Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned. 
That they may have their wish, to try with me 
In battle which the stronger proves — they all, 
Or I alone against them ; since by strength 820 

They measure all, of other excellence 
Not emulous, nor care who them excels ; 
Nor othef strife with them do I voutsafe.' 

" So spake the Son, and into terror changed 
His countenance, too severe to be beheld, 
And full of wrath bent on his enemies. 
At once the Four spread out their starry wings 
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs 
Of his fierce chariot rolledraS with the sound 
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. 830 

He on his impious foes right onward drove. 
Gloomy as Night. Under his burning wheels" 
The steadfast Empyrean shook throughout, 
All but the throne itself of God. Full soon 
Amont{ them he arrived, 


Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent 

Before him, such as in their souls infixed 

Plagues. They, astonished, all resistance lost. 

All courage; down their idle weapons dropt; 

O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode 84c 

Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate. 

That wished the mountains now might be again 

Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire. 

Nor less on either side tempestuous fell 

His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four, 

Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels, 

Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; 

One spirit in them ruled, and every eye 

Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire 

Among the accursed, that withered all their strength, 850 

And of their wonted vigor left them drained, 

Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen. 

Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked 

His thunder in mid-volley ; for he meant 

Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven. 

The overthrown he raised, and, as a herd 

Of goats or timorous flock together thronged. 

Drove them before him thunderstruck, pursued 

With terrors and with furies to the bounds 

And crystal wall of Heaven ; which, opening wide, 860 

Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed 

Into the wasteful Deep. The monstrous sight 

Strook them with horror backward ; but far worse 

Urged them behind : headlong themselves they threw 

Down from the verge of Heaven : eternal wrath 

Burnt after them to the bottomless pit. 

" Hell heard the unsufferable noise ; Hell saw 
Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fied 
Affrighted ; but strict Fate had cast too deep 
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. 870 

Nine days they fell ; confounded Chaos roared. 
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall 
Through his wild Anarchy; so huge a rout 
Encumbered him with ruin. Hell at last. 
Yawning, received them whole, and on them closed — 
Hell, their^ fit habitation, fraught with fire 
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain. 
Disburdened Heaven rejoiced, and soon repaired 
Her mural breach, returning whence it rolled. 
Sole victor, from the expulsion of his foes 880 


Messiah his triumphal chariot turned. 

To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood 

Eye-witnesses of his ahnighty acts, 

With jubilee advanced ; and. as they went, 

Shaded with branching palm, each order bright 

Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King. 

Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given. 

Worthiest to reign. He celebrated rode. 

Triumphant through mid Heaven, into the courts 

And temple of his mighty Father throned : 

On high ; who into glory him received. 

Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss. 

"Thus, measuring things in Heaven by things on Earth, 
At thy request, and that thou may'st beware 
By what is past, to thee I have revealed 
What might have else to human race been hid — 
The discord which befell, and war in Heaven 
Among the Angelic Powers, and the deep fall 
Of those too high aspiring who rebelled 
With Satan : he who envies now thy state, 
Who now is plotting how he may seduce 
Thee also from obedience, that, with him 
B^reayed of happiness, thou may'st partake 
His punishment, eternal misery; 
Which would be all his solace and revenge, 
As a despite done against the Most High, 
Thee once to gain companion of his woe. 
But listen not to his temptations ; warn 
Thy weaker ; let it profit thee to have heard, 
By terrible example, the reward 
Of disobedience. Firm they might have stood, 
Yet fell. Remember, and fear to transgress." 


Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this World was 
first created: — that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of 
Heaven, declared his pleasure to create another World, and other creatures to 
dwell therein; sends his Son with glory, and attendance of Angels, to perform 
the work of creation in six days : the Angels celebrate with hymns the perform- 
ance thereof, and his reascension into Heaven. 

DESCEND from Heaven, Urania, by that name 
If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine 
Following, above the Olympian hill I soar. 
Above the flight of Pegasean wing ! 
The meaning, not the name, I call ; for thou 
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top 
Of old Olympus dwell'st ; but, heavenly-born, 
Before the hills appeared or fountain flowed. 
Thou with Eternal Wisdom didst converse, 
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play 
In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased 
With thy celestial song. Up led by thee. 
Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed, 
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air. 
Thy tempering. With like safety guided down. 
Return me to my native element ; 
Lest, from this flying steed unreined (as once 
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime) 
Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall. 
Erroneous there to wander and forlorn. : 

Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound 
Within the visible Diurnal Sphere. 
Standing on Earth, not rapt above the pole, 
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged 
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days, 
On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues, 
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round, 
And solitude ; yet not alone, while thou 
Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when Morn 


P-U rifles the East. Still govern thou my song, ^o 

Urania, and fit audience find, though few. 

But drive far off the barbarous dissonance 

Of Bacchus and his revellers, the rsice 

Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard 

In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 

To rapture, till the savage clamor drowned 

Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend 

Her son. So fail not thou who thee implores ; 

For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream. 

Say, Goddess, what ensued A/vhen Raphael, * 40 

The affable Archangel, had forewarned 
Adam, by dire example, to beware 
Apostasy, by what befell in Heaven 
To those apostates, lest the like befall 
In Paradise to Adam or his race, 
Charged not to touch the interdicted Tree, 
If they transgress, and slight that sole command. 
So easily obeyed amid the choice 
Of all tastes else to please their appetite, 
Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve, 50 

The story heard attentive, and was filled 
With admiration and deep muse, to hear 
Of things so high and strange — things to their thought 
So unimaginable as hate in Heaven, 
And war so near the peace of God in bliss, 
With such confusion ; but the evil, soon 
Driven back, re(jounded as a flood on those 
From whom it sprung, impossible to mix 
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repealed 
The doubts that in his heart arose ; and, now 60 

Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know 
What nearer might concern him — how this World 
Of heaven and earth conspicuous first began ; 
When, and whereof, created, for what cause; 
What within Eden, or without, was done 
Before his memory — as one whose drouth. 
Yet scarce allayed, still eyes the current stream, 
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites. 
Proceeded thus to ask his Heavenly Guest :— 

"Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, 70 

Far differing from this World, thou hast revealed. 
Divine Interpreter! by favor sent 
Down from the Empyrean to forewarn 
Us timely of what might else have been our loss, 

132 PARADISE LOST [Book Vil. 

Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach; 

For which to the infinitely Good we owe 

Immortal thanks, and his admonishment 

Receive with solemn purpose to observe 

Immutably his sovran will, the end 

Of what we are. But, since thou hast voutsafed 

Gently, for our instruction, to impart 

Things above Earthly thought, which yet concerned 

Our knowing, as to highest Wisdom seemed. 

Deign to descend now lower, and relate 

Wtiit may no less perhaps avail us known — 

How first began this Heaven which we behold 

Distant so high, with moving fires adorned 

Innumerable; and this which yields or fills 

All space, the a mbie nt Air, wide interfused, 

Embracing rouiTci tTTis florid Earth ; what cause 

Moved the Creator, in his holy rest 

Through all eternity, so late to build 

In Chaos ; and, the work begun, how soon 

Absolved : if unforbid thou may'st unfold 

Wli^ we not to explore the secrets ask 

Of his eternal empire, but the more 

To magnify his works the more we know. 

And the great Light of Day yet wants to run 

Much of his race, though steep. Suspense in heaven 

Held by thy voice, thy p oten t voice he hears, 

And longer will delay, to hear thee tell 

His generation, and the rising birth 

Of Nature from the unapparent Deep : 

Or, if the Star of Evening and the Moon 

Haste to thy audience. Night with her will bring 

Silence, and Sleep listening to thee will watch ; 

Or we can bid his absence till thy song 

End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine." 

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought ; 
And thus the godlike Angel answered mild : — 

" This also thy request, with caution asked, 
Obtain ; though to recount almighty works 
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice, 
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend } 
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 
To glorify the Maker, and infer 
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld 
Thy hearing. Such commission from above 
I have received, to answer thy desire 


Of knowledge within bounds ; beyond abstain 120 

To asiv, nor let thine own inventions hope 

Things not revealed, which the invisible King, 

Only omniscient, hath suppressed in night. 

To none communicable in Earth or Heaven. 

Enough is left besides to search and know ; 

But Knowledge is as food, and needs no less 

Her temperance over appetite, to know 

In measure what the mind may well contain ; 

Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns 

Wisdom to folly, as fl^e^rishment to wind. 130 

" Know then that, after Lucifer from Heaven 
(So call him, brighter once amidst the host 
Of Angels than that star the stars among) 
Fell with his flaming legions through the Deep 
Into his place, and the great Son returned 
Victorious with his Saints, the Omnipotent 
Eternal Father from his throne beheld 
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake :— 

" ' At least our envious foe hath failed, who thought 
All like himself rebellious ; by whose aid 140 

This inaccessible high strength, the seat 
Of Deity supreme, us dispossessed. 
He trusted to have seized, and into fraud 
Drew many whom their place knows here no more. 
Yet far the greater part have kept. I see, 
Their station ; Heaven, yet populous, retains 
Number sufficient to possess her realms, 
Though wide, and this high temple to frequent 
With ministeries due and solemn rites. 

But, lest his heart exalt him in the harm 150 

Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven — 
My damage fondly deemed — I can repair 
That detriment, if such it be to lose 
Self-lost, and in a moment will create 
Another world ; out of one man a race 
Of men innumerable, there to dwell, 
Not here, till, by degrees of merit raised, 
They open to themselves at length the way 
Up hither, under long obedience tried. 

And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth, 160 
One kingdom, joy and union without end. 
Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven ; 
And thou, my WorcIrBegotten Son,'^by thee 
This I perform ; speak thou, and be it done ! 


My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee 

I send along; ride forth, and bid the Deep 

Within appointed bounds be heaven and earth. 

Boundless the Deep, because I am who fill 

Infinitude; nor vacuous the space, 

Though I, uncircumscribed, mj'self retire, 170 

And put not forth my goodness, which is free 

To act or not. Necessity and Chance 

Approach not me, and what I will is Fate.' 

" So spake the Almighty ; and to what he spake 
His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect. 
Immediate are the acts of God, more swift 
Than time or motion, but to human ears 
Cannot without process of speech be told, 
So told as earthly notion, can receive. 

Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven 180 

When such was heard declared the Almighty's will. 
Glory they sung to the Most High, good-will 
To future men, and in their dwellings peace — 
Glory to Him whose just avenging ire 
Had driven out the ungodly from his sight 
And the habitations of the just ; to Him 
Glory and praise whose wisdom had ordained 
Good out of evil to create — instead 
Of Spirits malign, a better race to bring 
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse igo 

His good to worlds and ages infinite. 

"So sang the Hierarchies. Meanwhile the Son 
On his great expedition now appeared, 
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crowned 
Of majesty divine, sapience and love 
Immense; and all his Father in him shone. 
About his chariot numberless were poured 
Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones, 
And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged 
From the armory of God, where stand of old 200 

Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged 
Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand. 
Celestial equipage; and now came forth 
Spontaneous, for within them Spirit lived. 
Attendant on their Lord. Heaven opened wide 
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound 
On golden hinges moving, to let forth 
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word 
And Spirit coming to create new worlds. 


On Heavenly ground they stood, and from the shore 2 
They viewed the vast immeasurable Abyss, 
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild, 
Up from the bottom turned by furious winds 
And surging waves, as mountains to assault 
Heaven's highth, and with the centre mix the pole. 

" ' Silence, ye troubled waves, and, thou Deep, peace !' 
Said then the omnific Word: 'your discord end!' 
Nor stayed ; but, on the wings of Cherubim 
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode 

Far into Chaos and the World unborn ; 2 

For Chaos heard his voice. Him all his train 
Followed in bright procession, to behold 
Creation, and the wonders of his might. 
Then stayed the fervid wheels, and in his hand 
He took the golden compasses, prepared 
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe 
This Universe, and all created things. 
One foot he centred, and the other turned 
Round through the vast profundity obscure, 
And said, 'Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds; : 

This be thy just circumference, O World !' 
Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth, 
Matter unformed and void. Darkness profound 
Covered the Abyss ; but on the watery calm 
His brooding wingi the Spirit of God outspread, 
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth, 
Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purged 
The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs, 
Adverse to life ; then founded, then conglobed, 
Like things to like, the rest to several place ^ 

Disparted, and between spun out the Air, 
And Earth, self-balanced, on her centre hung. 

" ' Let there be Light !' said God ; and forthwith Light 
Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, 
Sprung from the Deep, and from her native East 
To journey through the aery gloom began. 
Sphered in a radiant cloud— for yet the Sun 
Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle 
Sojourned the while. God saw the Light was good ; 
And light from darkness by the hemisphere : 

Divided : Light the Day, and Darkness Night, 
He named. Thus was the first Day even and morn ; 
Nor passed uncelebrated, nor unsung 
By the celestial quires, when orient light 


Exhaling first from darkness they beheld, 

Birth-day of Heaven and Earth. With joy and shout 

The hollow universal orb they filled, 

And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised 

God and his works ; Creator him they sung, 

Both when first evening was, and when first morn. 260 

"Again God said, 'Let there be firmament 
Amid the waters, and let it divide 
The waters from the waters !' And God made 
The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure. 
Transparent, elemental air, diffused 
In circuit to the uttermost convex 
Of this great round — partition firm and sure, 
The waters underneath from those above 
Dividing; for as Earth, so he the World 
Built on circui^ifluous waters calm, in wide 270 

Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule 
Of Chaos far removed, lest fierce extremes 
Contiguous might distemper the whole frame : 
And^eaven he nam"g"d the Firmament. So even 
And morning chorus sung the second Day. 

" The Earth was formed, but. in the womb as yet 
Of waters, embryon immature, involved, 
Appeared not ; over all the face of Earth 
Main ocean flowed, not idle, but, with warm 
Prolific humor softening all her globe, 280 

Fermented the great mother to conceive. 
Satiate with genial moisture ; when God said, 
' Be gathered now, ye waters under heaven, 
Into one place, and let dry land appear!' 
Immediately the mountains huge appear 
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave 
Into the clouds ; their tops ascend the 'sM.y. 
So high as heaved the tumjd hills, so low 
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep. 
Capacious bed of waters. Thither they 290 

Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolled. 
As drops on dust conglobing, from the dry : 
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct. 
For haste; such flight the great command impressed 
On the swift floods. As armies at the call 
Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard) 
Troop to the standard, so the watery throng. 
Wave rolling after wave, where way they found — 
If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain, 


Soft-ebbing ; nor withstood them rock or hill ; : 

But they, or underground, or circuit wide 

With serpent error wandering, found their way, 

And on the washy ooze deep channels wore: 

Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry, 

All but within those banks where rivers now 

Stream, and perpetual draw their liumid train. 

The dry land Earth, and the great receptacle 

Of congregated waters he called Seas ; 

And saw that it was good, and said, ' Let the Earth 

Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, 

And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind, 

Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth !' 

He scarce had said when the bare Earth, till then 

Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned. 

Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad 

Her universal face with pleasant green ; 

Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered. 

Opening their various colors, and made gay 

Her bosom, smelling sweet ; and, these scarce blown. 

Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept 

The smelling gourd, up stood the corny reed 

Embattled in her field : add the humble shrub, 

And bush with frizzled hair implicit : last 

Rose, as in dance, the stately tTe^s, and spread 

Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed 

Their blossoms. With high woods the hills were crowned. 

With tufts the valleys and each fountain-side. 

With borders long the rivers, that Earth now 

Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where gods might dwell, 

Or wander with delight, and love to haunt ; 

Her sacred shades ; though God had yet not rained 

Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground 

None was, but from the Earth a dewy mist 

Went up and watered all the ground, and each 

Plant of the field, which ere it was in the Earth 

God made, and every herb before it grew 

On the green stem. God saw that it was good; 

So even and morn recorded the third Day. 

•'Again the Almighty spake, 'Let there be Lights 
High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide 
The Day from Night ; and let them be for signs, 
For seasons, and for days, and circling years ; 
And let them be for lights, as I ordain 
Their office in the firmament of heaven, 


To give light on the Earth !' and it was so. 

And God made two great Lights, great for their use 

To Man, the greater to have rule by day, 

The less by night, altern ; and made the Stars, 

And set them in the firmament of heaven 

To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day 350 

In their vicissitude, and rule the night, 

And light from darkness to divide. God saw, 

Surveying his great work, that it was good : 

For, of celestial bodies, first the Sun 

A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first, 

Though of ethereal mould ; then formed the Moon 

Globose, and every magnitude of Stars, 

And sowed with stars the heaven thick as a field. 

Of light by far the greater part he took. 

Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed 360 

In the Sun's orb, made porous to receive 

And drink the liquid light, firm to retain 

Her gathered beams, great palace now of Light. 

Hither, as to their fountain, other stars 

Repairing in their golden urns draw light. 

And hence the morning planet gilds her horns ; 

By tincture or reflection they augment 

Their small peculiar, though, from human sight 

So far remote, with diminution seen. 

First in his east the glorious lamp was seen, 370 

Regent of day, and all the horizon round 

Invested with bright rays, jocund to run 

His longitude through heaven's high road ; the grey 

Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced. 

Shedding sweet influence. Less bright the Moon, 

But opposite in lev^elled west, was set. 

His mirror, with full face borrowing her light 

From him ; for other light she needed none 

In that aspect, and still that distance keeps 

Till night; then in the east her turn she shines, 380 

Revolved on heaven's great axle, and her reign 

With thousand lesser lights dividual holds. 

With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared 

Spangling the hemisphere. Then first adorned 

With her bright luminaries, that set and rose, 

Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth Day. 

" And God said, ' Let the waters generate 
Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul ; 
And let Fowl fly above the earth, with wings 


Displayed on the open firmament of heaven ! 390 

And God created the great whales, and each 

Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously 

The waters generated by their kinds. 

And every bird of wing after his kind, 

And saw that it was good, and blessed them, saying, 

' Be fruitful, multiply, and, in the seas. 

And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill ; 

And let the fowl be multiplied on the earth !' 

Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay. 

With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals 400 

Of fish that, with their fins and shining scales, 

Glide under the green wave in sculls that oft 

Bank the mid-sea. Part, single or with mate, 

Graze the sea-weed, their pasture, and through groves 

Of coral stray, or, sporting with quick glance. 

Show to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold. 

Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend 

Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food 

In jointed armor watch ; on smooth the seal 

And bended dolphins play: part, huge of bulk, 410 

Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait, 

Tempest the ocean. There leviathan, 

Hugest of living creatures, on the deep 

Stretched like a promontory, sleeps or swims. 

And seems a moving land, and at his gills 

Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea. 

Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores. 

Their brood as numerous hatch from the ^gg, that soon. 

Bursting with kindly rupture, forth disclosed 

Their callow young ; but feathered soon and fledge 420 

They summed their pens, and, soaring the air sublime. 

With clang despised the ground, under a cloud 

In prospect. There the eagle and the stork 

On cliffs and cedar-tops their eyries build.. 

Part loosely wing the region ; part, more wise, 

In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way, 

Intelligent of seasons, and set forth 

Their aery caravan, high over seas 

Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing 

Easing their flight: so steers the prudent crane 430 

Her annual voyage, borne on winds : the air 

Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumbered plumes. 

From branch to branch the smaller birds with song 

Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings. 


Till even ; nor then the solemn nightingale 

Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays. 

Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed 

Their downy breast ; the swan, with arched neck 

Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows 

Her state with oary feet ; yet oft they quit 440 

The dank, and, rising on stitif pennons, tower 

The mid aerial sky. Others on ground 

Walked firm^the crested cock, whose clarion sounds 

The silent hours, and the other, whose gay train 

Adorns him, colored with the fiorid hue 

Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus 

With Fish replenished, and the air with Fowl, 

Evening and morn solemnized the fifth Day. 

" The sixth, and of Creation last, arose 
With evening harps and matin; when God said, 450 

' Let the Earth bring forth soul living in her kind, 
Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth. 
Each in their kind !' The Earth obeyed, and, straight 
Opening her fertile womb, teemed at a birth 
Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms. 
Limbed and full-grown. Out of the ground up rose, 
As from his lair, the wild beast, where he wons 
In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den — 
Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked ; 
The cattle in the fields and meadows green : 460 

Those rare and solitary, these in flocks 
Pasturing at once and in broad herds, upsprung. 
The grassy clods now calved ; now half appeared 
The tawny lion, pawing to get free 
His hinder parts — then springs, as broke from bonds, 
And rampant shakes his brinded mane : the ounce, 
The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole 
Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw 
In hillocks; the swift stag from underground 
Bore up his branching head ; scarce from his mould 47a 
Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved 
His vastness ; fleeced the flocks and bleating rose, 
As plants ; ambiguous between sea and land, 
A river-horse and scaly crocodile. 
At once came forth whatever creeps the ground. 
Insect or worm. Those waved their limber fans 
For wings, and smallest lineaments exact 
Tn all the liveries decked oF^ummer's pride, 
With spots of gold and purple, azure and green ; 


These as a line their long dimension drew. 480 

Streaking the ground with siniipus trace : not all 

Minims of nature ; some of serjDent kind, 

Wondrous in length and corpulence, involved 

Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept 

The parsimonious emmet, provident 

Of future, in small room large heart enclosed— 

Pattern of just equality perhaps 

Hereafter — joined in her popular tribes 

Of commonalty. Swarming next appeared 

The female bee, that feeds her husband drone 490 

Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells 

With honey stored. The rest are numberless, 

And thou their natures know'st, and gav'st them names. 

Needless to thee repeated ; nor unknown 

The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field, 

Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes 

And hairy mane terrific, though to thee 

Not noxious, but obedient at thy call. 

"Now Heaven in all her glory shone, and rolled 
Her motions, as the great First Mover's hand 500 

F'irst wheeled their course ; Earth, in her rich attire 
Consummate, lovely smiled ; Air, Water, Earth, 
By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walked. 
Frequent; and of the sixth Day yet remained. 
There wanted yet the master-work, the end 
Of all yet done — a creature who, not prone 
And brute as other creatures, but endued 
With sanctity of reason, might erect 
His stature, and, upright with front serene 
Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence 510 

Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven. 
But grateful to acknowledge whence his good 
Descends ; thither with heart, and voice, and eyes 
Directed in devotion, to adore 
And worship God Supreme, who made him chief 
Of all his works. Therefore the Omnipotent 
Eternal Father (for where is not He 
^ Present ?) thus to his Son audibly spake : — 
' Let us make now Man in our image, Man 
In our similitude, and let them rule 520 

Over the tish and fowl of sea and air. 
Beast of the field, and over all the earth. 
And every creeping thing that creeps the ground !' 
This said, he formed thee, Adam, thee, O Man, 


Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed 
The breath of life ; in his own image he 
Created thee, in the image of God 
Express, and thou becam'st a living soul. 
Male he created thee, but thy consort 

F'emale, for race; then blessed mankind, and said, 530 

' Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth ; 
Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold 
Over fish of the sea, and fowl of the air, 
\nd every living thing that moves on the Earth !' 
Wherever thus created — for no place 
Is yet distinct by name — thence, as thou know'st. 
He brought thee into this delicious grove. 
This Garden, planted with the trees of God, 
Delectable both to behold and taste. 

And freely all their pleasant fruit for food 540 

Gave thee. All sorts are here that all the earth yields. 
Variety without end ; but of the tree 
Which tasted works knowledge of good and evil 
Thou may'st not; in the day thou eat'st, thou diest. 
Death is the penalty imposed ; beware, 
And govern well thy appetite, lest Sin 
Surprise thee, and her black attendant, Death. 

" Here finished He, and all that he had made 
Viewed, and, behold ! all was entirely good. 
So even and morn accomplished the sixth Day ; 550 

Yet not till the Creator, from his work 
Desisting, though unwearied, up returned. 
Up to the Heaven of Heavens, his high abode, 
Thence to behold this new-created World, 
The addition of his empire, how it showed 
In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair, 
Answering his great idea. Up he rode. 
Followed with acclamation, and the sound 
Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned 
AngeTic harmonies. The Earth, the Air 560 

Resounded (thou remember'st, for thou heard'st), 
The heavens and all the constellations rung. 
The planets in their stations listening stood. 
While the bright pomp ascended jubilant. 
' Open, ye everlasting gates !' they sung ; 
' Open, ye Heavens, your living doors ! let in 
The great Creator, from his work returned 
Magnificent, his six days' work, a World ! 
Open, and henceforth oft ; for God will deign 


To visit oft the dwellings of just men 570 

Delighted, and with frequent intercourse 

Thither will send his winged messengers 

On errands of supernal grace.' So sung 

The glorious train ascending. He through Heaven, 

That opened wide her blazing portals, led 

To God's eternal house direct the way — 

A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold, 

And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear 

Seen in the Galaxy, that milky way 

Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest 580 

Powdered with stars. And now on Earth the seventh 

Evening arose in Eden — for the sun 

Was set, and twilight from the east came on, 

Forerunning night — when at the holy mount 

Of Heaven's high-seated top, the imperial throne 

Of Godhead, fixed for ever firm and sure, 

The Filial Power arrived, and sat him down 

With his great Father ; for he also went 

Invisible, yet stayed (such privilege 

Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordained, 590 

Author and end of all things, and, from, work 

Now resting, blessed and hallowed the seventh Day, 

As resting on that day from all his work ; 

But not in silence holy kept : the harp 

Had work, and rested not ; the solemn pipe 

And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop. 

All sounds on fret by string or golden wire. 

Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice 

Choral or unison ; of incense clouds. 

Fuming from golden censers, hid the Mount. 600 

Creation and the Six Days' acts they sung : — 

* Great are thy works, Jehovah ! infinite 

Thy power ! what thought can measure thee, or tongue 

Relate thee — greater now in thy return 

Than from the Giant-angels } Thee that day 

Thy thunders magnified ; but to create 

Is greater than created to destroy. 

Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound 

Thy empire } Easily the proud attempt 

Of Spirits apostate, and their counsels vain, 610 

Thou hast repelled, while impiously they thought 

Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw 

The number of thy worshipers. Who seeks 

To lessen thee, against his purpose, serves 


To manifest the more thy might; his evil 

Thou usest, and from thence creat'st more good. 

Witness this new-made World, another Heaven 

From Heaven -gate not far, founded in view 

On the clear h^^^alme, the glassy sea ; 

Of amplitude almost immense, with stars 620 

Numerous, and every star perhaps a world 

Of destined habitation — but thou know'st 

Their seasons ; among these the seat of men. 

Earth, with her nether ocean circumfused, 

Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy men, 

And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanced, 

Created in his image, there to dwell 

And worship him, and in reward to rule 

Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air. 

And multiply a race of worshipers 630 

Holy and just ! thrice happy, if they know 

Their happiness, and persevere upright !' 

"So sung they, and the Empyrean rung 
With halleluiahs. Thus was Sabbath kept. 
And thy request think now fulfilled, that asked 
How first this World and face of things began, 
And what before thy memory was done 
From the beginning, that posterity. 
Informed by thee, might know. If else thou seek'st 
Aught, not surpassing human measure, say." 640 


Adam inquires concerning celestial motions ; is doubtfully answered, and ex- 
horted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge. Adam assents, and, 
still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remembered since his 
own creation— his placing in Paradise ; his talk with God concerning solitude and 
fit society ; his first meeting and nuptials with Eve. His discourse with the 
Angel thereupon ; who, after admonitions repeated, departs. 

THE Angel ended, and in Adam's ear 
So charming left his voice that he a while 
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear ; 
Then, as new- waked, thus gratefully replied : — 

" What thanks sufficient, or what recompense 
Equal, have I to render thee, divine 
Historian, who thus largely hast allayed 
The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsafed 
This friendly condescension to relate 
Things else by me ujsearchable — now heard 
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due, 
With glory attributed to the high 
Creator? Something yet of doubt remains, 
Which onl}'^ thy solution can resolve. 
When I behold this goodly frame, this World, 
Of Heaven and Earth consisting, and compute 
Their magnitudes — this Earth, a spot, a grain. 
An atom, with the Firmament compared 
And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll 
Spaces incomprehensible (for such : 

Their distance argues, and their swift return 
Diurnal) merely to officiate light 
Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot. 
One day and night, in all their vast survey 
Useless besides — reasoning, I oft admire 
How Nature, wise and frugal, could commit 
Such disproportions, with superfluous hand 
So many nobler bodies to create. 
Greater so manifold, to this one use, 


For aught appears, and on their Orbs impose 30 

Such restless revolution day by day 

Repeated, while the sedentary Earth, 

That better might with far less compass move. 

Served by more noble than herself, attains 

Her end without least motion, and receives, 

As tribute, such a sumless journey brought 

Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light: 

Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails." 

So spake our Sire, and by his countenance seemed 
Entering on studious thoughts a:b€lmse ; which Eve 40 
Perceivmg, where she sat retired in sight, 
With lowliness majestic from her seat. 
And grace that won who saw to wish her stay. 
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, 
To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom, 
Her nursery; they at her coming sprung. 
And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. 
Yet went she not as not with such discourse 
Delighted, or not capable her ear 

Of what was high. Such pleasure she reserved, 50 

Adam relating, she sole auditress; 
Her husband the relater she preferred 
Before the Angel, and of him to ask 
Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix 
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute 
With conjugan:aresses : from his lip 
Not wo"r3s alone pleased her. Oh, when meet now 
Such pairs, in love and mutual honor joined 7 
With goddess-like demeanor forth she went, 
Not unattended ; for on her as Queen 60 

A pomp of winning Graces waited still, 
And from about her shot darts of desire 
Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight. 
And Raphael now to Adam's doubt proposed 
Benevolent and facile thus replied :— 

" To ask or search I blame thee not ; for Heaven 
Is as the Book of God before thee set. 
Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn 
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years. 
This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth 70 

Imports not, if thou reckon right ; the rest 
From Man or Angel the great Architect 
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge 
His secrets, to be scanned by them who ought 


Rather admire. Or, if they Hst to try 

Conjecture, he his fabric of the Heavens 

Hath left to their disputes— perhaps to move 

His laughter at their quaint opinions wide 

Hereafter, when they come to model Heaven, 

And calculate the stars ; how they will wield 80 

The mighty frame ; how build, unbuild, contrive 

To save appearances ; how gird the Sphere 

With Centric and Eccentric scribbled o'er, 

Cycle and Epicycle, Orb in Orb. 

Already by thy reasoning this I guess. 

Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest 

That bodies bright and greater should not serve 

The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run, 

Earth sitting still, when she alone receives 

The benefit. Consider, first, that great 90 

Or bright infers not excellence. The Earth, 

Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small, 

Nor glistering, may of solid good contain 

More plenty than the Sun that barren shines, 

Whose virtue on itself works no effect. 

But in the fruitful Earth ; there first received, 

His beams, unactive else, their vigor find. 

Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries 

Officious, but to thee, Earth's habitant. 

And, for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak loc 

The Maker's high magnificence, who built 

So spacious, and his line stretched out so far, 

That Man may know he dwells not in his own— 

An edifice too large for him to fill. 

Lodged in a small partition, and the rest 

Ordained for uses to his Lord best known. 

The swiftness of those Circles attribute. 

Though numberless, to his omnipotence. 

That to corporeal substances could add 

Speed almost spiritual. Me thou think'st not slow, nc 

Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven 

Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived 

In Eden — distance inexpressible 

By numbers that have name. But this I urge. 

Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show 

Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved ; 

Not that I so affirm, though so it seem 

To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth. 

God, to remove his ways from human sense, 


Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight, uo 

If it presume, might err in things too high, 

And no advantage gain. What if the Sun 

Be centre to the World, and other Stars, 

By his attractive virtue and their own 

Incited, dance about him various rounds.'* 

Their wandering course, now high, now low. then hid. 

Progressive, retrograde, or standing still. 

In six thou seest ; and what if, seventh to these. 

The planet Earth, so steadfast though she seem. 

Insensibly three different motions move.'* 130 

Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe. 

Moved contrary with thwart obliquities. 

Or save the Sun his labor, and that swift 

Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed. 

Invisible else above all stars, the wheel 

Of Day and Night : which needs not thy belief, 

If Earth, industrious of herself, fetch Day. 

Travelling east, and with her part averse 

From the Sun's beam meet Night, her other part 

Still luminous by his ray. What if that light, 140 

Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air. 

To the terrestrial Moon be as a star, 

Enlightening her by day, as she by night 

This Earth — reciprocal, if land be there. 

Fields and inhabitants.^ Her spots thou seest 

As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce 

Fruits in her softened soil, for some to eat 

Allotted there ; and other Suns, perhaps, 

With their attendant Moons, thou wilt descry. 

Communicating male and female light — 150 

Which two great sexes animate the World, 

Stored in each Orb perhaps with some that live. 

For such vast room in Nature unpossessed 

By living soul, desert and desolate. 

Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute 

Each Orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far 

Down to this habitable, which returns 

Light back to them, is obvious to dispute. 

But whether thus these things, or whether not— 

Whether the Sun, predominant in heaven, 160 

Rise on the Earth, or Earth rise on the Sun ; 

He from the east his flaming road begin. 

Or she from west her silent course advance 

With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps 


On her soft axle, while she paces even, 

And bears thee soft with the smooth air along — 

Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid ; 

Leave them to God above ; him serve and fear. 

Of other creatures as him pleases best, 

Wherever placed, let him dispose ; joy thou 170 

In what he gives to thee, this Paradise 

And thy fair Eve ; Heaven is for thee too high 

To know what passes there. Be lowly wise ; 

Think only what concerns thee and thy being: 

Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there 

Live, in what state, condition, or degree — 

Contented that thus far hath been revealed 

Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven." 

To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied: — 
" How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure 180 

Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene, 
And, freed from intricacies, taught to live 
The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts 
To interrupt the sweet of life, from which 
God hath bid dwell far ofT all anxious cares, 
And not molest us, unless we ourselves 
Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions vain ! 
But apt the mind or fancy is to rove 
Unchecked ; and of her roving is no end, 
Till, warned, or by experience taught, she learn 190 

That not to know at large of things remote 
From use, obscure and subtle, but to know 
That which before us lies in daily life. 
Is the prime wisdom : what is more is fume, 
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence. 
And renders us in things that most concern 
Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek. 
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend 
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand 
Useful ; whence, haply, mention may arise 200 

Of something not unseasonable to ask. 
By sufferance, and thy wonted favor, deigned. 
Thee I have heard relating what was done 
Ere my remembrance ; now hear me relate 
My story, which, perhaps, thou hast not heard. 
And day is yet not spent ; till then thou seest 
How subtly to detain thee I devise, 
Inviting thee to hear while I relate — 
Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply. 


For. while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven ; 210 

And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear 

Than fruits of palm-tree, pleasantest to thirst 

And hunger both, from labor, at the hour 

Of sweet repast. They satiate, and soon fill. 

Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine 

Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety." 

To whom thus Raphael answered, heavenly meek : — 
" Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of Men, 
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee 
Abundantly his gifts hath also poured, 220 

Inward and outward both, his image fair : 
Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace 
Attends thee, and each word, each motion, forms. 
Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth 
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire 
Gladly into the ways of God with Man ; 
For God, we see, hath honored thee, and set 
On Man his equal love. Say_ therefore on ; 
For I that day was absent, as "befell, 

Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, 230 

Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell, 
Squared in full legion (such command we had). 
To see that none thence issued forth a spy 
Or enemy, while God was in his work, 
Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold, 
Destruction with Creation might have mixed. 
Not that they durst without his leave attempt; 
But us he sends upon his high behests 
For state, as sovran King, and to inure 
Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut, 240 

The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong. 
But, long ere our approaching, heard within 
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song — 
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage. 
Glad we returned up to the coasts of Light 
Ere Sabbath-evening ; so we had in charge. 
But thy relation now; for I attend. 
Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine." 

So spake the godlike Power, and thus our Sire : — 
" For Man to tell how human life began 250 

Is hard; for who himself beginning knew.? 
Desire with thee still longer to converse 
Induced me. As new-waked from soundest sleep. 
Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, 


In balmy sweat, which with his beams the Sun 
Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. 
Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned, 
And gazed a while the ample sky, till, raised 
By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung. 
As thitherward endeavoring, and upright 260 

Stood on my feet. About me round I saw 
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, 
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams ; by these, 
Creatures that lived and moved, and walked or flew, 
Birds on the branches warbling : all things smiled ; 
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed. 
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb 
Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran 
With supple joints, as lively vigor led ; 

But who I was, or where, or from what cause, 270 

Knew not. To speak I tried, and forthwith spake ; 
My tongue obeyed, and readily could name 
Whate'er I saw. ' Thou Sun,' said I, 'fair light. 
And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay, 
•Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains. 
And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell. 
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here ! 
Not of myself, by some great Maker then, 
In goodness and in power pre-eminent. 
Tell me, how may I know him, how adore, 280 

From whom I have that thus I move and live, 
And feel that I am happier than I know !' 
While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither, 
From where I first drew air, and first beheld 
This happy light, when answer none returned, 
On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers. 
Pensive I sat me down. There gentle sleep 
First found me, and with soft oppression seized 
My drowsed sense, untroubled, though I thought 
I then was passing to my former state 290 

Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve : 
When suddenly stood at my head a dream. 
Whose inward apparition gently moved 
My fancy to believe I yet had being, 
And lived. One came, methought, of shape divine, 
And said, ' Thy mansion wants thee, Adam ; rise, 
First Man, of men innumerable ordained 
First father ! called by thee, I come thy guide 
To the Garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.' 


So saying, by the hand he took me, raised. 300 

And over fields and waters, as in air 
'Smooth sliding without step, last led me up 
A woody mountain, whose high top was plain, 
A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees 
Planted, with walks and bowers, that what I saw 
Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemed. Each tree 
Loaden with fairest fruit, that hung to the eye 
Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite 
To pluck and eat ; whereat I waked, and found 
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream 310 

Had lively shadowed. Here had new begun 
My wandering, had not He who was my guide 
Up hither from among the trees appeared, 
Presence Divine. Rejoicing, but with awe, 
In adoration at his feet I fell 

Submiss. He reared me, and, ' Whom thou sought'st I am." 
Said mildly, 'Author of all this thou seest 
Above, or round about thee, or beneath. 
This Paradise I give thee; count it thine 
To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat. 320 

Of every tree that in the Garden grows 
Eat freely with glad heart ; fear here no dearth. 
But of the tree whose operation brings 
Knowledge of good and ill. which I have set, 
The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith. 
Amid the garden by the Tree of Life — 
Remember what I warn thee — shun to taste, 
And shun the bitter consequence : for know. 
The day thou eat'st thereof, my sole command 
Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die, 330 

From that day mortal, and this happy state 
Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world 
Of woe and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounced 
The rigid interdiction, which resounds 
Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice 
Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect 
Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed : — 
• Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth 
To thee and to thy race I give ; as lords 
Possess it, and all things that therein live, 340 

Or live in sea or air, beast, fish, and fowl. 
In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold 
After their kinds ; I bring them to receive 
From thee their names, and pay thee fealty 


With low subjection. Understand the same 

Of fish within their watery residence, 

Not hither summoned, since they cannot change 

Their element to draw the thinner air.' 

As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold 

Approaching two and two— these cowering low 35° 

With blandishment; each bird stooped on his wing. 

I named them as they passed, and understood 

Their nature; with such knowledge God endued 

My sudden apprehension. But in these 

I found not what methought I wanted still, 

And to the Heavenly Vision thus presumed :— 

" ' O, by what name— for Thou above all these, 
Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, 
Surpassest far my naming — how may I 

Adore thee, Author of this Universe, 360 

And all this good to Man, for whose well-being 
So amply, and with hands so liberal. 
Thou hast provided all things? But with me 
I see not who partakes. In solitude 
What happiness ? who can enjoy alone. 
Or, all enjoying, what contentment find Y 
Thus I, presurnptuous ; and the Vision bright. 
As with a smile more brightened, thus replied: — 

'"What call'st thou solitude? Is not the Earth 
With various living creatures, and the Air, 370 

Replenished, and all these at thy command 
To come and play before thee ? Know'st thou not 
Their language and their ways ? They also know, 
And reason not contemptibly; with these 
Find pastime, and bear rule ; thy realm is large.' 
So spake the Universal Lord, and seemed 
So ordering. I, with leave of speech implored. 
And humble deprecation, thus replied:— 

" ' Let not my words offend thee, Heavenly Power ; 
My Maker, be propitious while I speak. 380 

Hast thou not made me here thy substitute, 
And these inferior far beneath me set? 
Among unequals what society 
Can sort, what harmony or true delight? 
Which must be mutual, in proportion due 
Given and received ; but, in disparity. 
The one intense, the other still remiss, 
Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove 
Tedious alike. Of fellowship I speak 

154 PARADISE LOST \)>>oo\l\\\\. 

Such as I seek, fit to participate 

All rational delight, wherein the brute 

Cannot be human consort. They rejoice 

Each with their kind, lion with lioness; 

So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined : 

Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl, 

So well converse, nor with the ox the ape ; 

Worse, then, can man with beast, and least of all.' 

" Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased : — 
'A nice and subtle happiness, I see, 
Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice 
Of thy associates, Adam, and wilt taste 
No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary. 
What think'st thou, then, of me, and this my state.'* 
Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed 
Of happiness, or not, who am alone 
From all eternity? for none I know 
Second to me or like, equal much less. 
How have I, then, with whom to hold converse, 
Save with the creatures which I made, and those 
To me inferior infinite descents 
Beneath what other creatures are to thee ?' 

" He ceased. I lowly answered : — ' To attain 
The highth and depth of thy eternal ways 
All human thoughts come short. Supreme of Things! 
Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee 
Is no deficience found. Not so is Man, 
But in degree — the cause of his desire 
By conversation with his like to help 
Or solace his defects. No need that thou 
Should'st propagate, already infinite, 
And through all numbers absolute, though One; 
But Man by number is to manifest 
His single imperfection, and beget 
Like of his like, his image multiplied, 
In unity defective ; which requires 
Collateral love, and dearest amity. 
Thou, in thy secrecy although alone. 
Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not 
Social communication — yet, so pleased. 
Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt 
Of union or communion, deified ; 
I, by conversing, cannot these erect 
From prone, nor in their ways complacence find.' 
Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used 


Permissive, and acceptance found ; which gained 
This answer from the gracious Voice Divine : — 

"'Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased, 
And find thee knowing not of beasts alone. 
Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself— 
Expressing well the spirit within thee free, 440 

My image, not imparted to the brute ; 
Whose fellowship, therefore, unmeet for thee. 
Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike. 
And be so minded still. I, ere thou spak'st, 
Knew it not good for Man to be alone, 
And no such company as then thou saw'st 
Intended thee — for trial only brought. 
To see how thou couldst judge of tit and meet. 
What next I bring shall please thee, be assured. 
Thy likeness, thy tit help, thy other self, 45° 

Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.' 

" He ended, or I heard no more ; for now 
My earthly, by his heavenly overpowered, 
Which it had long stood under, strained to the highth 
In that celestial colloquy sublime. 
As with an object tlTSt excels the sense. 
Dazzled and spent, sunk down, and sought repair 
Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called 
By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes. 
Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell 460 

Of fancy, my internal sight ; by which. 
Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw. 
Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the Shape 
Still glorious before whom awake I stood ; 
Who, stooping, opened my left side, and took 
From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, 
And life-blood streaming fresh ; wide was the wound, 
But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed. 
The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands ; 
Under his forming hands a creature grew, 470 

Man-like, but different sex, so lovely fair 
That what seemed fair in all the world seemed now 
Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained 
And in her looks, which from that time infused 
Sweetness into my heart unfelt before, 
And into all things from her air inspired 
The spirit of love and amorous delight. 
She disappeared, and left me dark ; I waked 
To find her, or for ever to deplore 


Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure : 

When, out of hope, behold her not far off. 

Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned 

With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow 

To make her amiable. On she came. 

Led by her Heavenly Maker, though unseen 

And guided by his voice, nor uninformed 

Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites. 

Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye, 

In every gesture dignity and love. 

I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud : — 

" ' This turn hath made amends ; thou hast fulfilled 
Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign. 
Giver of all things fair — but fairest this 
Of all thy gifts I — nor enviest. I now see 
Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, my Self 
Before me. Woman is her name, of Man 
Extracted ; for this cause he shall forgo 
Father and mother, and to his wife adhere, 
And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.' 

"She heard me thus; and, though divinely brought. 
Yet innocence and virgin modesty. 
Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth, 
That would be wooed, and not unsought be won, 
Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired. 
The more desirable^^r, to say all, 
Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought — 
Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned. 
I followed her ; she what was honor knew, 
And with obsequious majesty approved 
My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower 
I led her blushing like the Morn ; all Heaven, 
And happy constellations, on that hour 
Shed their selectest influence; the Earth 
Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill ; 
Joyous the birds ; fresh gales and gentle airs 
Whispered it to the woods, and from their wings 
Flung rose, flung odors from the spicy shrub, 
Disporting, till the amorous bird of night 
Sung spousal, and bid haste the Evening-star 
On his hill-top to light the bridal lamp. 

" Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought 
My story to the sum of earthly bliss 
Which I enjoy, and must confess to find 
In all things else delight indeed, but such 

bookviit] paradise lost 157 

As, used or not, works in the mind no change, 

Nor vehetpent desire— these delicacies 

I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flowers, 

Walks, and the melody of birds : but here. 

Far otherwise, transported I behold, 

Transported touch ; here passion first I felt, 53° 

Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else 

Superior and unmoved, here only weak 

Against the charm of beauty's powerful glance. 

Or Nature failed in me, and left some part 

Not proof enough such object to sustain, 

Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps 

More than enough— at least on her bestowed 

Too much of ornament, in outward show 

Elaborate, of inward less exact. 

For well I understand in the prime end 540 

Of Nature her the inferior, in the mind 

And inward faculties, which most excel ; 

In outward also her resembling less 

His image who made both, and less expressing 

The character of that dominion given 

O'er other creatures. Yet when I approach 

Her loveliness, so absolute she seems 

And in herself complete, so well to know 

Her own, that what she wills to do or say 

Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best. 55° 

All higher Knowledge in her presence falls 

Degraded ; Wisdom in discourse with her 

Loses, discountenanced, and like Folly shows; 

Authority and Reason on her wait, 

As one intended first, not after made 

Occasionally : and, to consummate all, 

Greatness of mind and nobleness their seat 

Build in her loveliest, and create an awe 

About her, as a guard angelic placed." 

To whom the Angel, with contracted brow :— 560 

"Accuse not Nature! she hath done her part; 
Do thou but thine ! and be not diffident 
Of Wisdom ; she deserts thee not, if thou 
Dismiss not her, when most thou need'st her nigh, 
By attributing overmuch to things 
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv'st. 
For what admir'st thou, what transports thee so ? 
An outside — fair, no doubt, and worthy well 
Thy cherishing, thy honoring, and thy love ; 


Not thy subjection. Weigh with her thyself; 570 

Then value. Oft-times nothing profits more 
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right 
Well managed. Of that skill the more thou know'st, 
The more she will acknowledge thee her head, 
And to realities yield all her shows — 
Made so adorn for thy delight the more. 
So awful, that with honor thou may'st love 
Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise. 
But, if the sense of touch, whereby mankind 
Is propagated, seem such dear delight 580 

Beyond all other, think the same voutsafed 
To cattle and each beast; which would not be 
To them made common and div,ulged, if aught 
Therein enjoyed were worthy td^stlbdue 
The soul of Man, or. passion in him move. 
What higher in her society thou find'st 
Attractive, human, rational, love still : 
In loving thou dost well ; in passion not. 
Wherein true Love consists not. Love refines 
The thoughts, and heart enlarges — hath his seat 590 

In Reason, and is judicious, is the scale 
By which to Heavenly Love thou may'st ascend, 
Not sunk in carnal pleasure ; for which cause 
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found." 
To whom thus, half abashed, Adam replied : — 
" Neither her outside formed so fair, nor aught 
In procreation, common to all kinds 
(Though higher of the genial bed by far. 
And with mysterious reverence, I deem). 
So much delights me as those graceful acts, 600 

Those thousand decencies, that daily flow 
From all her words and actions, mixed with love 
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned 
Union of mind, or in us both one soul — 
Harmony to behold in wedded pair 
More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear. 
Yet these subject not ; I to thee disclose 
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foiled, 
Who meet with various objects, from the sense 
Variously representing, yet, still free, 610 

Approve the best, and follow what I approve. 
To love thou blam'st me not— for Love, thou say'st, 
Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide ; 
Bear with me, then, if lawful what I ask. 


Love not the Heavenly Spirits, and how their love 
Express they — by looks only, or do they mix 
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch ?" 

To whom the Angel, with a smile that glowed 
Celestial rosy-red. Love's proper hue. 

Answered : — " Let it suffice thee that thou know'st 620 

Us happy, and without Love no happiness. 
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy 'st 
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy 
In eminence, and obstacle find none 
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars. 
Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace, 
Total they mix, union of pure with pure 
Desiring, nor restrained conveyance need 
As flesh to mix with fiesh, or soul with soul. 
But I can now no more : the parting Sun 630 

Beyond the Earth's green Cape and verdant Isles 
Hesperean sets, my signal to depart. 
Be strong, live happy, and love ! but first of all 
Him whom to love is to obey, and keep 
His great command; take heed lest passion sway 
Thy judgment to do aught which else free-will 
Would not admit ; thine and of all thy sons 
The weal or woe in thee is placed ; beware ! 
I in thy persevering shall rejoice, 

And all the Blesi. Stand fast ; to stand or fall 640 

Free in thine own arbitrement it lies. 
Perfect within, no outward aid require; 
And all temptation to transgress repel." 

So saying, he arose ; whom Adam thus 
Followed with benediction : — " Since to part, 
Go, Heavenly Guest, Ethereal Messenger, 
Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore! 
Gentle to me and affable hath been 
Thy condescension, and shall be honored ever 
With grateful memory. Thou to Mankind 650 

Be good and friendly still, and oft return !" 

So parted they, the Angel up to Heaven 
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower. 

JBooh Kf 


Satan, having compassed the Earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by 
night into Paradise ; enters into the Serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the 
morning go forth to their labors, which Eve propuses to divide in several places, 
each laboring apart : Adam consents not. alleging the danger lest that enemy ol 
whom ihey were torewarned should attempt her found alone. Eve, loth to be 
thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous 
to make trial of her strength; .Adam at last yields. The Serpent finds her alone : 
his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve 
above all other creatures. Kve, wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how 
he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent 
answers that by tasting of a certain tree in the Garden he attained both to speech 
and reason, till then void of both, live 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, 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 used 
To sit indulgent, and with him partake 
Rural repast, permitting him the while 
Venial discourse unblamed. 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, x 

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 disespoused ; 
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long 
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son : 
If answerable style I can obtain a 


Of my celestial Patroness, who deigns 

Her nightly visitation unimplored. 

And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires 

Easy my unpremeditated verse. 

Since first this subject for heroic song 

Pleased me, long choosing and beginning late, 

Not sedulous by nature to indite 

Wars, hitherto the only argument 

Heroic deemed, chief mastery to dissect 

With long and tedious havoc fabled knights 30 

In battles feigned (the better fortitude 

Of patience and heroic martyrdom 

Unsung), or to describe races and games. 

Or tilting furniture, emblazoned shields. 

Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds. 

Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights 

At joust and tournament ; then marshalled feast 

Served up in hall with sewers and seneshals : 

The skill of artifice or office mean ; 

Not that which justly gives heroic name 40 

To person or to poem ! Me, of these 

Nor skilled 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 

Depressed ; 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 50 

'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end 
Night's hemisphere had veiled the horizon round. 
When Satan, who late fled before the threats 
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv^ed 
In meditated fraud and malice, bent 
On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap 
Of heavier on himself, fearless returned. 
By night he fled, and at midnight returned 
From compassing the Earth— cautious of day 
Since Uriel, Regent of the Sun, descried 60 

His entrance, and forewarned 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 crossed the car of Night 


From pole to pole, traversing each colure — 
On the eighth returned, 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) 70 
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, involved in rising mist; then sought 
Where to lie hid. Sea he had searched and land 
From Eden over Pontus, and the Pool 
Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob ; 
Downward as far antarctic; and, in length, 
West from Orontes to the ocean barred 80 

At Darien, thence to the land where flows 
Ganges and Indus. Thus the orb he roamed 
With narrow search, and with inspection deep 
Considered 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 revolved, his final sentence chose 
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom 
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide 90 

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 observed. 
Doubt might beget of diabolic power 
Active within beyond the sense of brute. 
Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief 
His bursting passion into plaints thus poured : — 
" O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred 
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built 100 

With second thoughts, reforming what was old ! 
For what God, after better, worse would build } 
Terrestrial Heaven, danced 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 I 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, no 


Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth 

Of creatures animate with gradual life 

Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man. 

With what delight could I have walked 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 crowned. 

Rocks, dens, and caves 1 But I in none of these 

Find place or refuge ; and the more I see 

Pleasures about me, so much more I feel 120 

Torment within me, as from the hateful siege 

Of contraries ; all good to me becomes 

Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state. 

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, 130 

Or won to ^vhat may work his utter loss. 

For whom all this was made, all this will soon 

Follow, as to him linked in \veal 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 marred 

What he, Almighty styled, 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 140 

From servitude inglorious well nigh half 

The Angelic Name, and thinner left the throng 

Of his adorers. He, to be avenged. 

And to repair his numbers thus impaired — 

Whether such virtue, spent of old. now failed 

More Angels to create (if they at least 

Are his created), or to spite us more — 

Determined to advance into our room 

A creature formed of earth, and him endow, 

Exalted from so base original, 15° 

With heavenly spoils, our spoils. What he decreed 

He effected ; Man he made, and for him built 

Magnificent this World, and Earth his seat, 

Him Lord pronounced, and, O indignity! 

Subjected to his service Angel-wings 


And flaming ministers, to watch and tend 

Their earthy charge. Of these the vigilance 

I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist 

Of midnight vapor, glide obscure, and pry 

In every bush and brake, where hap may find i6o 

The Serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds 

To hide me, and the dark intent I bring. 

O foul descent ! that I, who erst contended 

With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained 

Into a beast, and, mixed with bestial slime, 

This essence to incarnate and imbrute, 

That to the highth of deity aspired I 

But what will not ambition and revenge 

Descend to ? Who aspires must down as low 

As high he soared, obnoxious, first or last, 170 

To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet. 

Bitter ere long back on itself recoils. 

Let it ; I reck not, so it light well aimed. 

Since higher I fall short, on him who next 

Provokes my envy, this new favorite 

Of Heaven, this Man of Clay, son of despite. 

Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised 

From dust : spite then with spite is best repaid." 

So saying, through each thicket, dank or dry. 
Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on 180 

His midnight search, where soonest he might find 
The Serpent. Him fast sleeping soon he found. 
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled. 
His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles : 
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, 
Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb. 
Fearless, unfeared, he slept. In at his mouth 
The Devil entered, and his brutal sense, 
In heart or head, possessing soon inspired 
With act intelligential ; but his sleep 190 

Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn. 

Now, whenas sacred light began to dawn 
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed 
Their morning incense, when all things that breathe 
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise 
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill 
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair. 
And joined their vocal worship to the quire 
Of creatures wanting voice ; that done, partake 
The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs ; 200 


Then commune how that day they best may ply 
Their growing work — for much their work outgrew 
The hands' dispatch of two gardening so wide : 
And Eve first to her husband thus began : — 

" Adam, well may we labor still to dress 
This Garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower, 
Our pleasant task enjoined ; but, till more hands 
Aid us, the work under our labor grows, 
Luxurious by restraint : what we by day 
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, 2 

One night or two with wanton growth derides, 
Tending to wild. Thou, therefore, now advise, 
Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present. 
Let us divide our labors — thou where choice 
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind 
The woodbine round this arbor, or direct 
The clasping ivy where to climb ; while I 
In yonder spring of roses intermixed 
With myrtle find what to redress till noon. 
For, while so near each other thus all day 2 

Our task we choose, what wonder if so near 
Looks intervene and smiles, or objects new 
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits 
Our day's work, brought to little, though begun 
Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned !" 

To whom mild answer Adam thus returned : — 
" Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond 
Compare above all living creatures dear ! 
Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed 
How we might best fulfil the work which here '- 

God hath assigned us, nor of me shalt pass 
Unpraised ; for nothing lovelier can be found 
In woman than to study household good, 
And good works in her husband to promote. 
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed 
Labor as to debar us when we need 
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between. 
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse 
Of looks and smiles ; for smiles from reason flow 
To brute denied, and are of love the food — ■■ 

Love, not the lowest end of human life. 
For not to irksome toil, but to delight, 
He made us, and delight to reason joined. 
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands 
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide 


As we need walk, till younger hands ere long 

Assist us. But. if much converse perhaps 

Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield ; 

For solitude sometimes is best society, 

And short retirement urges sweet return. 250 

But other doubt possesses me, lest harm 

Befall thee, severed from me ; for thou know'st 

What hath been warned us — what malicious foe, 

Envying our happiness, and of his own 

Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame 

By sly assault, and somewhere nigh at hand 

Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find 

His wish and best advantage, us asunder. 

Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each 

To other speedy aid might lend at need. 260 

Whether his first design be to withdraw 

Our fealty from God, or to disturb 

Conjugal love — than which perhaps no bliss 

Enjoyed by us excites his envy more — 

Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side 

That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects. 

The wife, where danger or dishonor lurks. 

Safest and seemliest by her husband stays, 

Who guards her, or with her the worst endures." 

To whom the virgin majesty of Eve, ^7° 

As one who loves, and some unkindness meets. 
With sweet austere composure thus replied : — 

" Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earths lord ; 
That such an enemy we have, who seeks 
Our ruin, both by thee informed 1 learn, 
And from the parting Angel overheard. 
As in a shady nook I stood behind, 
Just then returned at shut of evening flowers. 
But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt 
To God or thee, because we have a foe 280 

May tempt it, I expected not to hear. 
His violence thou fear'st not, being such 
As we, not capable of death or pain. 
Can either not receive, or can repel. 
His fraud is, then, thy fear ; which plain infers 
Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love 
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced : 
Thoughts, which how found they harbor in thy breast. 
Adam! misthought of her to thee so dear.>" 

To whom, with healing words, Adam replied :— -9*^ 



" Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve ! — 

For such thou art, from sin and blame entire — 

Not diffident of thee do I dissuade 

Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid 

The attempt itself, intended by our foe. 

For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses 

The tempted with dishonor foul, supposed 

Not incorruptible of faith, not proof 

Against temptation. Thou thyself with scorn 

And anger wouldst resent the ofifered wrong, 

Though ineflectual found ; misdeem not, then, 

If such afifront I labor to avert 

From thee alone, which on us both at once 

The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare; 

Or, daring, first on me the assault shall light. 

Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn — 

Subtle he needs must be who could seduce 

Angels — nor think superfluous others' aid. 

I from the influence of thy looks receive 

Access in every virtue — in thy sight 

More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were 

Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on, 

Shame to be overcome or overreached, 

Would utmost vigor raise, and raised unite. 

Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel 

When I am present, and thy trial choose 

With me, best witness of thy virtue tried ?" 

So spake domestic Adam in his care 
And matrimonial love ; but Eve, who thought 
Less attributed to her faith sincere, 
Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed : — 

" If this be our condition, thus to dwell 
In narrow circuit straitened by a foe, 
Subtle or violent, we not endued 
Single with like defence wherever met. 
How are we happy, still in fear of harm .'' 
But harm precedes not sin : only our foe 
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem 
Of our integrity: his foul esteem 
Sticks no dishonor on our front, but turns 
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared 
By us, who rather double honor gain 
From his surause proved false, find peace within. 
Favor from Heaven, our witness, from the event ? 
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed 


Alone, without exterior help sustained ? 

Let us not then suspect our happy state 

Left so imperfect by the Maker wise 

As not secure to singl-e or combined. 

Frail is our happiness, if this be so; 340 

x-\nd Eden were no Eden, thus exposed." 

To whom thus Adam fervently replied : — 
" O Woman, best are all thTng^s as the will 
Of God ordained them; his creating hand 
Nothing imperfect or deficient left 
Of all that he created — much less Man, 
Or aught that might his happy state secure, 
Secure from outward force. Within himself 
The danger lies, yet lies within his power; 
Against his will he can receive no harm. 350 

But God left free the Will ; for what obeys 
Reason is free ; and Reason he made right, 
But bid her well be ware, and still erect, 
Lest, by some fair appearing good surprised. 
She dictate false, and misinform the Will 
To do what God expressly hath forbid. 
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins 
That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me. 
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,, 
Since Reason not impossibly may meet 360 

Some specious object by the foe suborned, 
And fall'TTito deception unaware. 
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned. 
Seek not temptation, then, which to avoid 
Were better, and most likely if from me 
Thou sever not: trial will come unsought. 
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve 
First thy obedience ; the other who can know. 
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest.^ 
But, if thou think trial unsought 'may find 370 

Us both securer than thus warned thou seem'st, 
Go ; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more. 
Go in thy native innocence ; rely 
On what thou hast of virtue ; summon all ; 
For God towards thee hath done his part : do thine." 

So spake the Patriarch of Mankind ; but Eve 
Persisted ; yet submiss, though last, replied : — 

" With thy permission, then, and thus forewarned, 
Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words 
Touched only, that our trial, when least sought, 380 


May find us both perhaps far less prepared, 

The wiUinger I go, nor much expect 

A foe so proud will first the weaker seek ; 

So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse." 

Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand 
Soft she withdrew, and, like a wood-nymph light, 
Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train. 
Betook her to the groves, but Delia's self 
In gait surpassed and goddess-like deport, 
Though not as she with bow and quiver armed, 390 

But with such gardening tools as Art, yet rude. 
Guiltless of fire had formed, or Angels brought. 
To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorned, 
Likest she seemed — Pomona when she fled 
Vertumnus — or to Ceres in her prime, 
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. 
Her long with ardent look his eye pursued 
Delighted, but desiring more her stay. 
Oft he to her his charge of quick return 
Repeated ; she to him as oft engaged 400 

To be returned by noon amid the bower, 
And all things in best order to invite 
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose. 
O much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve, 
Of thy presumed return ! event perverse ! 
Thou never from that hour in Paradise 
Found'st either sweet repast or sound repose; 
Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades. 
Waited, with hellish rancor imminent. 

To intercept thy way, or send thee back 410 

Despoiled of innocence, of faith, of bliss. 
For now, and since first break of dawn, the Fiend, 
Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come. 
And on his quest where likeliest he might find 
The only two of mankind, but in them 
The whole included race, his purposed prey. 
In bower and field he sought, where any tuft 
Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay. 
Their tendance or plantation for delight ; 
By fountain or by shady rivulet 420 

He sought them both, but wished his hap might find 
Eve separate; he wished, but not with hope 
Of what so seldom chanced, when to his wish. 
Beyond his hope. Eve separate he spies. 
Veiled in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood, 


Half-spied, so thick the roses bushing round 

About her glowed, oft stooping to support 

Each flower of tender stalk, whose head, though gay 

Carnation, purple, azure, or specked with gold, 

Hung drooping unsustained. Them she upstays 430 

Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while 

Herself, though fairest unsupported flower, 

From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh. 

Nearer he drew, and many a walk traversed 

Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm ; 

Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen 

Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers 

Imbordered on each bank, the hand of Eve: 

Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned 

Or of revived Adonis, or renowned 440 

Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son. 

Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king 

Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse. 

Much he the place admired, the person more. 

As one who, long in populous city pent. 

Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air, 

Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe 

Among the pleasant villages and farms 

Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight — 

The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, 450 

Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound — 

If chance with nymph-like step fair virgin pass, 

What pleasing seemed for her now pleases more, 

She most, and in her look sums all delight: 

Such pleasure took the Serpent to behold 

This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve 

Thus early, thus alone. Her heavenly form 

Angelic, but more soft and feminine. 

Her graceful innocence, her every air 

Of gesture or least action, overawed 460 

His malice, and with rapine sweet bereaved 

His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought. 

That space the Evil One abstracted stood 

From his own evil, and for tHe~time remained 

Stupidly good, of enmity disarmed. 

Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge. 

But the hot hell that always in him burns, 

Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight, 

.^nd tortures him now more, the more he sees 

Of pleasure not for him ordained. Then soon 470 


Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts 
Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites : — 

" Thoughts, whither have ye led me ? with what sweet 
Compulsion thus transported to forget 
What hither brought us ? hate, not love, nor hope 
Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste 
Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy. 
Save what is in destroying ; other joy 
To me is lost. Then let me not let pass 
Occasion which now smiles. Behold alone 480 

The Woman, opportune to all attempts — 
Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh, 
Whose higher intellectual more 1 shun, 
And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb 
Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould ; 
Foe not informidable, exempt from wound — 
I not ; so much hath Hell debased, and pain 
Enfeebled me, to what I was in Heaven. 
She fair, divinely fair, fit love for Gods, 
Not terrible, though terror be in love, 490 

And beauty, not approached by stronger hate. 
Hate stronger under show of love well feigned — 
The way which to her ruin now I tend." 

So spake the Enemy of Mankind, enclosed 
In serpent, inmate bad, and toward Eve 
Addressed his way — not with indented wave, 
Prone on the ground, as since, but on his rear, 
Circular base of rising folds, that towered 
Fold above fold, a surging maze ; his head 
Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes ; 500 

With burnished neck of verdant gold, erect 
Amidst his circhng spires, that on the grass 
Floated redundant. Pleasmg was his shape 
And lovely ; never since of serpent kind 
Lovelier-not those that in Illyria changed 
Hermione and Cadmus, or the god 
In Epidaurus ; nor to which transformed 
Ammonian Jove, or Capitolme, was seen, 
He with Olympias, this with her who bore 
Scipio, the highth of Rome. With tract oblique 5^0 

At first, as one who sought access but feared 
To interrupt, sidelong he works his way. 
As when a ship, by skilful steersman wrought 
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind 
Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail, 


So varied he, and of his tortuous train 

Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve, 

To lure her eye. She, busied, heard the sound 

Of rustling leaves, but minded not, as used 

To such disport before her through the field 520 

From every beast, more duteous at her call 

Than at Circean call the herd disguised. 

He, bolder now, uncalled before her stood, 

But as in gaze admiring. Oft he bowed 

His turret crest and sleek enamelled neck. 

Fawning, and licked the ground whereon she trod. 

fTis gentle dumb expression turned at length 

The eye of Eve to mark his play ; he, glad 

Of her attention gained, with serpent-tongue 

Organic, or impulse of vocal air, 530 

His fraudulent temptation thus began : — 

" Wonder not, sovran mistress (if perhaps 
Thou canst who art sole wonder), much less arm 
Thy looks, the heaven of mildness, with disdain. 
Displeased that I approach thee thus, and gaze 
Insatiate, I thus single, nor have feared 
Thy awful brow, more awful thus retired. 
Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair, 
Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine 
By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore, 540 

With ravishment beheld — there best beheld 
Where universally admired. But here, 
In this enclosure wild, these beasts among. 
Beholders rude, and shallow to discern 
Half what in thee is fair, one man except. 
Who sees thee (and what is one.^) who shouldst be seen 
A Goddess among Gods, adored and served 
By Angels numberless, thy daily train ?" 

So glozed the Tempter, and his proem tuned. 
Into the heart of Eve his words made way, 55° 

Though at the voice much marvelling ; at length, 
Not unamazed, she thus in answer spake : — 

" What may this mean ? Language of Man pronounced 
By tongue of brute, and human sense expressed ! 
The first at least of these I thought denied 
To beasts, whom God on their creation-day 
Created mute to all articulate sound ; 
The latter I demur, for in their looks 
Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears. 
Thee, Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field 560 


I knew, but not with human voice endued ; 
Redouble, then, this miracle, and say. 
How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how 
To me so friendly grown above the rest 
Of brutal kind that daily are in sight : 
Say, for such wonder claims attention due." 

To whom the guileful Tempter thus replied : — 
" Empress of this fair World, resplendent Eve ! 
Easy to me it is to tell thee all [obeyed. 

What thou command'st, and right thou shouldst be s/o 

I was at first as other beasts that graze 
The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low. 
As was my food, nor aught but food discerned 
Or sex, and apprehended nothing high : 
Till on a day, roving the field, I chanced 
A goodly tree far distant to behold, 
Loaden with fruit of fairest colors mixed, 
Ruddy and gold. I nearer drew to gaze ; 
When from the boughs a savory odor blown, 
Grateful to appetite, more pleased my sense s^o 

Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats 
Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even, 
Unsucked of lamb or kid, that tend their play. 
To satisfy the sharp desire I had 
Of tasting those fair apples, I resolved 
Not to defer; hu iger 'and thirst at once, 
Powerful persuaders, quickened at the scent 
Of that alluring fruit, urged me so keen. 
About the mossy trunk I wound me soon ; 
For, high from ground, the branches would require 590 

Thy utmost reach, or Adam's: round the tree 
All other beasts that saw, with like desire 
Longing and envying stood, but could not reach. 
Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung 
Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill 
I spared not ; for such pleasure till that hour 
At feed or fountain never had I found. 
Sated at length, ere long I might perceive 
Strange alteration in me, to degree 

Of Reason in my inward powers, and Speech 600 

Wanted not long, though to this shape retained. 
Thenceforth to speculations high or deep 
I turned my thoughts, and with capacious mind 
Considered all things visible in Heaven, 
Or Earth, or Middle, all things fair and good^ 


But all that fair and good in thy divine 

Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray. 

United I beheld — no fair to thine 

Equivalent or second ; which compelled 

Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come 6io 

And gaze, and worship thee of right declared 

Sovran of creatures, universal Dame !" 

So talked the spirited sly Snake; and Eve. 
Yet more amazed, unwary thus replied : — 

" Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt 
The virtue of that fruit, in thee first proved. 
But say, where grows the tree ? from hence how far - 
For many are the trees of God that grow 
In Paradise, and various, yet unknown 

To us ; in such abundance lies our choice 620 

As leaves a greater store of fruit untouched. 
Still hanging incorruptible, till men 
Grow up to their provision, and more hands 
Help to disburden Nature of her bearth." 

To whom the wily Adder, blithe and glad : — 
" Empress, the way is ready, and not long — 
Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat. 
Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past 
Of blowing myrrh and balm. If thou accept 
My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon." 630 

" Lead, then," said Eve. He. leading, swiftly rolled 
In tangles, and made intricate seem straight. 
To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy 
Brightens his crest. As when a wandering fire, 
Compact of unctuous vapor, which the night 
Condenses, and the cold environs round. 
Kindled through agitation to a flame 
(Which oft, they say, some evil spirit attends). 
Hovering and blazing with delusive light. 
Misleads the amazed night- wanderer from his way 640 

To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool, 
There swallowed up and lost, from succor far ; 
So glistered the dire Snake, and into fraud 
Led Eve, our credulous mother, to the Tree 
Of Prohibition, root of all our woe; 
Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake : — 

" Serpent, we might have spared our coming hither, 
Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess. 
The credit of whose virtue rest with thee— 
Wondrous, indeed, if cause of such effects I 650 


But of this tree we may not taste nor touch ; 
God so commanded, and left that command 
Sole daughter of his voice : the rest, we live 
Law to ourselves; our Reason is our Law." 

To whom the Tempter guilefulh^ replied : — 
" Indeed ! Hath God then said that of the fruit 
Of all these garden-trees ye shall not eat, 
Yet lords declared of all in Earth or Air.?" 

To whom thus Eve, yet sinless: — "Of the fruit 
Of each tree in the garden we may eat ; 660 

But of the fruit of this fair tree, amidst 
The Garden, God hath said, ' Ye shall not eat 
Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die." " 

She scarce had said, though brief, when now more bold 
The Tempter, but, with show of zeal and love 
To Man, and indignation at his wrong. 
New part puts on, and, as to passion moved. 
Fluctuates disturbed, yet comely, and in act 
Raised, as of some great matter to begin. 
As when of old some orator renowned * 670 

In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence 
Flourished, since mute, to some great cause addressed, 
Stood in himself collected, while each part, 
Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue 
Sometimes in highth began, as no delay 
Of preface brooking through his zeal of right: 
So standing, moving, or to highth upgrown, 
The Tempter, all impassioned, thus began : — 

" O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving Plant, 
Mother of science ! now I feel thy power 680 

Within me clear, not only to discern 
Things in their causes, but to trace the ways 
Of highest agents, deemed however wise. 
Queen of this Universe! do not believe 
Those rigid threats of death. Ye shall not die. 
How should ye? By the fruit.? it gives you life 
To knowledge. By the Threatener.? look on me, 
Me who have touched and tasted, yet both live. 
And life more perfect have attained than Fate 
Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot. 690 

Shall that be shut to Man which to the Beast 
Is open ? or will God incense his ire 
For such a petty trespass, and not praise 
Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain 
Of Death denounced, whatever thing Death be. 


Deterred not from achieving what might lead 
To happier life, knowledge of Good and Evil ? 
Of good, how just ! of evil — if what is evil 
Be real, why not known, since easier shunned ? 
God, therefore, cannot hurt ye, and be just; 700 

Not just, not God; not feared then, nor obeyed: 
Your fear itself of death removes the fear. 
Why, then, was this forbid ? Why but to awe, 
Why but to keep ye low and ignorant. 
His worshippers? He knows that in the day 
Ye eat thereof your eyes, that seem so clear. 
Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then 
Opened and cleared, and ye shall be as Gods, 
Knowing both good and evil, as they know. 
That ye should be as Gods, since I as Man, 710 

Internal Man, is but proportion meet — 
I, of brute, human ; ye, of human, Gods. 
So ye shall die perhaps, by putting of? 
Human, to put, on Gods — death to be wished. 
Though threatened, which no worse than this can bring! 
And what are Gods, that Man may not become 
As they, participating godlike food? 
The Gods are first, and that advantage use 
On our belief, that all from them proceeds. 
I question it ; for this fair Earth I see, 720 

Warmed by th« sun, producing every kind ; 
Them nothing. If they all things, who enclosed 
Knowledge of good and evil in this tree. 
That whoso eats thereof forthwith attains 
Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies 
The offence, that Man should thus attain to know? 
What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree 
Impart against his will, if all be his ? 
Or is it envy? and can envy dwell 

In Heavenly breasts ? These, these and many more 730 

Causes import your need of this fair fruit. 
Goddess humane, reach, then, and freely taste!" 
He ended; and his words, replete with guile, 
Into her heart too easy entrance won. 
Fixed on the fruit she gazed, which to behold 
Might tempt alone; and in her ears the sound 
Yet rung of his persuasive words, imprcgned 
With reason, to her seeming, and with truth. 
Meanwhile the hour of noon drew on, and waked 
An eager appetite, raised by the smell 740 


So savory of that fruit, which with desire. 
Inclinable now grown to touch or taste, 
Solicited her longing eye; yet first. 
Pausing a while, thus to herself she mused : — 

" Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits, 
Though kept from Man, and worthy to be admired. 
Whose taste, too long forborne, at first assay 
Gave elocution to the mute, and taught 
The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise. 
Thy praise he also who forbids thy use 750 

Conceals not from us, naming thee the Tree 
Of Knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil ; 
Forbids us then to taste. But his forbidding 
Commends thee more, while it infers the good 
By thee communicated, and our want; 
For good unknown sure is not had, or, had 
And yet unknown, is as not had at all. 
In plain, then, what forbids he but to know.? 
Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise ! 

Such prohibitions bind not. But, if Death 760 

Bind us with after-bands, what profits then 
Our inward freedom.? In the day we eat 
Of this fair fruit, our doom is we shall die! 
How dies the Serpent.? He hath eaten, and lives, 
And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns, 
Irrational till then. For us alone 
Was death invented ? or to us denied 
This intellectual food, for beasts reserved? 
For beasts it seems ; yet that one beast which first 
Hath tasted envies not, but brings with joy 77° 

The good befallen him, author unsuspect. 
Friendly to Man, far from deceit or guile. 
What fear I, then ? rather, what know to fear 
Under this ignorance of good and evil, 
Of God or Death, of law or penalty .? 
Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine, 
Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste. 
Of virtue to make wise. What hinders, then, 
To reach, and feed at once both body and mind?" 

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour 7S0 

Forth-reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat. 
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat, 
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe 
That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk 
The guilty Serpent, and well might, for Eve, 


Intent now only on her taste, naught else 

Regarded ; such delight till then, as seemed, 

In fruit she never tasted, whether true, 

Or fancied so through expectation high 

Of knowledge ; nor was Godhead from her thought. 790] 

Greedily she ingorged without restraint. 

And knew not eating death. Satiate at length. 

And hightened as with wine, jocund and boon. 

Thus to herself she pleasingly began : — 

'* O sovran, virtuous, precious of all trees 
In Paradise ! of operation blest 
To sapience, hitherto obscured, infamed. 
And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end 
Created ! but henceforth my early care, 
Not without song, each morning, and due praise, 
Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease 
Of thy full branches, offered free to all ; 
Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature 
In knowledge, as the Gods who all things know. 
Though others envy what they cannot give — 
For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here 
Thus grown ! Experience, next to thee I owe. 
Best guide: not following thee, I had remained 
In ignorance; thou open'st Wisdom's way. 
And giv'st access, though secret she retire. 
And I perhaps am secret : Heaven is high- 
High, and remote to see from thence distinct 
Each thing on Earth ; and other care perhaps 
May have diverted from continual watch 
Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies 
About him. But to Adam in what sort 
Shall I appear.? Shall I to him make known 
As yet my change, and give him to partake 
Full happiness with me, or rather not. 
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power 
Without copartner? so to add what wants 
In female sex. the more to draw his love. 
And render me more equal, and perhaps — 
A thing not undesirable — sometime 
Superior ; for, inferior, who is free .•' 
This may be well ; but what if God have seen. 
And death ensue } Then I shall be no more ; 
And Adam, wedded to another Eve. 
Shall live with her enjoying. I extinct! 
A death to think ! Confirmed, then, I resolve 


Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe. 
So dear I love him that with him all deaths 
I could endure, without him live no life." 

So saying, from the tree her step she turned, 
But first low reverence done, as to the Power 
That dwelt within, whose presence had infused 
Into the plant sciential sap, derived 
From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while. 
Waiting desirous her return, had wove 

Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn 840 

Her tresses, and her rural labors crown, 
As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen. 
Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new 
Solace in her return, so long delayed; 
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill. 
Misgave him. He the faltering measure felt, 
And forth to meet her went, the way she took 
That morn when first they parted. By the Tree 
Of Knowledge he must pass ; there he her met. 
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand 850 

A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled. 
New gathered, and ambrosial smell diffused. 
To him she hasted ; in her face excuse 
Came prologue, and apology to prompt. 
Which, with bland words at will, she thus addressed :— 

" Hast thou not wondered, Adam, at my stay .^ 
Thee I have missed, and thought it long, deprived 
Thy presence — agony of love till now 
Not felt, nor shall be twice ; for never more 
Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought, 860 

The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange 
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear. 
This tree is not, as we are told, a tree 
Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown 
Opening the way, but of divine effect 
To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste ; 
And hath been tasted such. The Serpent wise, 
Or not restrained as we, or not obeying, 
Hath eaten of the fruit, and is become 
Not dead, as we are threatened, but thenceforth 870 

Endued with human voice and human sense. 
Reasoning to admiration, and with me 
Persuasively hath so prevailed that I 
Have also tasted, and have also found 
The effects to correspond — opener mine eyes. 


Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart, 

And growing up to Godhead ; which for thee 

Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise. 

For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss ; 

Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon. 880 

Thou, therefore, also taste, that equal lot 

May join us, equal joy, as equal love ; 

Lest, thou not tasting, different degree 

Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce 

Deity for thee, when fate will not permit." 

Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told; 
But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed. 
On the other side, Adam, soon as he heard 
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed, 
Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill 890 

Ran through his veins, and all his joints relaxed. 
From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve 
Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed. 
Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length 
First to himself he inward silence broke: — 

"O fairest of Creation, last and best 
Of all God's works, creature in whom excelled 
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed, 
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet! 

How art thou lost ! how on a sudden lost, 900 

Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote ! 
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress 
The strict forbiddance, how to violate 
The sacred fruit forbidden 7 Some cursed fraud 
Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown. 
And me with thee hath ruined ; for with thee 
Certain my resolution is to die. 
How can I live without thee .'' how forgo 
Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly joined, 
To live again in these wild woods forlorn,? gio 

Should God create another Eve, and I 
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee 
Would never from my heart. No, no ! I feel 
The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh. 
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state 
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe." 

So having said, as one from sad dismay 
Recomforted, and, after thoughts disturbed. 
Submitting to what seemed remediless, 
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned : — 920 


" Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve. 
And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared 
Had it been only coveting to eye 
That sacred food, sacred to abstinence ; 
Much more to taste it, under ban to touch. 
But past who can recall, or done undo ? 
Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate ! Yet so 
Perhaps thou shalt not die; perhaps the fact 
Is not so heinous now— foretasted fruit. 
Profaned first by the Serpent, by him first 
Made common and unhallowed ere our taste, 
Nor yet on him found deadly. He yet lives- 
Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man, 
Higher degree of life : inducement strong 
To us, as likely, tasting, to attain 
Proportional ascent; which cannot be 
But to be God's, or Angels, demi-gods. 
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise. 
Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy 
Us, his prime creatures, dignified so high. 
Set over all his works ; which, in our fall, 
For us created, needs with us must fail. 
Dependent made. So God shall uncreate, 
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labor lose- 
Not well conceived of God ; who. though his power 
Creation could repeat, yet would be loth 
Us to abolish, lest the Adversary 
Triumph and say : ' Fickle their state whom God 
Most favors; who can please him long? Me first 
He ruined, now Mankind; whom will he next?'— 
Matter of scorn not to be given the Foe. 
However, I with thee have fixed my lot, 
Certain to undergo like doom. If death 
Consort with thee, death is to me as life ; 

So forcible within my heart I feel 

The bond of Nature draw me to my own— 

My own in thee; for what thou art is mine. 

Our state cannot be severed ; we are one. 

One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself." 
So Adam ; and thus Eve to him replied :— 

"O glorious trial of exceeding love, 

Illustrious evidence, example high ! 

Engaging me to emulate ; but, short 

Of thy perfection, how shall I attain. 

Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung. 




And gladly of our union hear thee speak, 

One heart, one soul in both ; whereof good proof 

This day affords, declaring thee resolved, 

Rather than death, or aught than death more dread, 

Shall separate us, linked in love so dear, 970 

To undergo with me one guilt, one crime. 

If any be, of tasting this fair fruit; 

Whose virtue (for of good still good proceeds, 

Direct, or by occasion) hath presented 

This happy trial of thy love, which else 

So eminently never had been known. 

Were it I thought death menaced would ensue 

This my attempt, I would sustain alone 

The worst, and not persuade thee — rather die 

Deserted than oblige thee with a fact q8o 

Pernicious to thy peace, chiefly assured 

Remarkably so late of thy so true. 

So faithful, love unequalled. But I feel 

Far otherwise the event — not death, but life 

Augmented, opened eyes, new hopes, new joys, 

Taste so divine that what of sweet before 

Hath touched my sense flat seems to this and harsh. 

On my experience, Adam, freely taste, 

And fear of death deliver to the winds." 

So saying, she embraced him, and for joy 990 

Tenderly wept, much won that he his love 
Had so ennobled as of choice to incur 
Divine displeasure for her sake, or death. 
In recompense (for such compliance bad 
Such recompense best merits), from the bough 
She gave him of that fair enticing fruit 
With liberal hand. He scrupled not to eat. 
Against his better knowledge, not deceived, 
But fondly overcome with female charm. 
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again loor 

In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan ; 
Sky loured, and, muttering thunder, some sad drops 
Wept at completing of the mortal Sin 
Original ; while Adam took no thought, 
Eating his fill, nor Eve to iterate 
Her former trespass feared, the more to soothe 
Him with her loved society ; that now, 
As with new wine intoxicated both, 
They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel 
Divinity within them breeding wings ioi< 


Wherewith to scorn the Earth. But that false fruit 

Far other operation first displayed, 

Carnal desire inflaming. He on Eve 

Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him 

As wantonly repaid ; in lust they burn, 

Till Adam thus gan Eve to dalliance move : — 

" Eve, now 1 see thou art exact of taste 
And elegant— of sapience no small part ; 
Since to each meaning savor we apply, 

And palate call judicious. I the praise io2«. 

Yield thee ; so well this day thou hast purveyed. 
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained 
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now 
True relish, tasting. If such pleasure be 
In things to us forbidden, it might be wished 
For this one tree had been forbidden ten. 
But come ; so well refreshed, now let us play, 
As meet is. after such delicious fare ; 
For never did thy beauty, since the day 
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned 1030 

With all perfections, so inflame my sense 
With ardor to enjoy thee, fairer now 
Than ever — bounty of this virtuous tree I" 

So said he, and forebore not glance or toy 
Of amorous intent, well understood 
Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire. 
Her hand he seized, and to a shady bank. 
Thick overhead with verdant roof embowered. 
He led her, nothing loth ; flowers were the couch, 
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel. 1040 

And hyacinth — Earth's freshest, softest lap. 
There they their fill of love and love's disport 
Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal, 
The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep 
Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play. 

Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit, 
That with exhilarating vapor bland 
About their spirits had played, and inmost powers 
Made err, was now exhaled, and grosser sleep, 
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams 1050 

Encumbered, now had left them, up they rose 
As from unrest, and, each the other viewing. 
Soon found their eyes how opened, and their minds 
How darkened. Innocence, that as a veil 
Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone ; 


Just confidence, and native righteousness, 

And honor, from about them, naked left 

To guilty Shame : he covered, but his robe 

Uncovered more. So rose the Danite strong, 

Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap 1060 

Of Philistean Dalilah, and waked 

Shorn of his strength ; they destitute and bare 

Of all their virtue. Silent, and in face 

Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute ; 

Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed, 

At length gave utterance to these words constrained : — 

"O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear 
To that false Worm, of whomsoever taught 
To counterfeit Man's voice — true in our fall, 
False in our promised rising ; since our eyes 1070 

Opened we find indeed, and find we know 
Both good and evil, good lost and evil got : 
Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know, 
Which leaves us naked thus, of honor void, 
Of innocence, of faith, of purity, 
Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained, 
And in our faces evident the signs 
Of foul concupiscence ; whence evil store. 
Even shame, the last of evils ; of the first 
Be sure then. How shall I behold the face 1080 

Henceforth of God or Angel, erst with joy 
And rapture so oft beheld .'' Those Heavenly Shapes 
Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze 
Insufferably bright. Oh, might I here 
In solitude live sav^age, in some glade 
Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable 
To star or sunlight, spread their umbrage broad, 
And brown as evening! Cover me, ye pines! 
Ye cedars, with innumerable boughs 

Hide me, where I may never see them more! 1090 

But let us now, as in bad plight, devise 
What best may, for the present, serve to hide 
The parts of each from other that seem most 
To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen— 
Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves, together sewed, 
And girded on our loins, may cover round 
Those middle parts, that this new comer. Shame, 
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean." 

So counselled he, and both together went 
Into the thickest wood. There soon they chose noo 


The fig-tree— not that kind for fruit renowned, 

But such as, at this day, to Indians known, 

In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms 

Branching so broad and long that in the ground 

Tiie bended twigs take root, and daughters grow 

About the mother tree, a pillared shade 

High overarched, and echoing walks between: 

There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat. 

Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds 

At loop-holes cut through thickest shade. Those leaves 

They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe, 

And' with what skill they had together sewed. 

To gird their waist — vain covering, if to hide 

Their guilt and dreaded shame! O how unlike 

To that first naked glory ! Such of late 

Columbus found the American, so girt 

With feathered cincture, naked else and wild, 

Among the trees on isles and woody shores. 

Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame in part 

Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind. 

They sat them down to weep. Nor only tears 

Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within 

Began to rise, high passions — anger, hate. 

Mistrust, suspicion, discord— and shook sore 

Their inward state of mind, calm region once 

And full of peace, now tost and turbulent : 

For Understanding ruled not, and the Will 

Heard not her lore, both in subjection now 

To sensual Appetite, who, from beneath 

Usurping over sovran Reason, claimed 

Superior sway. From thus distempered breast 

Adam, estranged in look and altered style, 

Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed : — 

" Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and stayed 
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange 
Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn, 
1 know not whence possessed thee ! We had then 
Remained still happy — not, as now, despoiled 
Of all our good, shamed, naked, miserable ! 
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve 
The faith they owe ; when earnestly they seek 
Such proof, conclude they then begin to fail." 

To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, th 3 Eve :— 
" What words have passed thy lips, Adam severe ^ 
Imput'st thou that to my default, or will 


Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who knows 

But might as ill have happened thou being by, 

Or to thyself perhaps ? Hadst thou been there. 

Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discerned 

Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake; nso 

No ground of enmity between us known 

Why he should mean me ill or seek to harm. 

Was I to have never parted from thy side? 

As good have grown there still, a lifeless rib. 

Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head. 

Command me absolutely not to go. 

Going into such danger, as thou saidst.-* 

Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay, 

Nay didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss. 

Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent, 1160 

Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me." 

To whom, then first incensed, Adam replied : — 
" Is this the love, is this the recompense 
Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve. expressed 
Immutable when thou wert lost, not I — 
Who might have lived, and joyed immortal bliss, 
Yet willingly chose rather death with thee } 
And am I now upbraided as the cause 
Of thy transgressing ? not enough severe. 
It seems, in thy restraint! What could I more .^ T170 

I warned thee, I admonished thee, foretold 
The danger, and the lurking enemy 
That lay in wait; beyond this had been force, 
And force upon free will hath here no place. 
But confidence then bore thee on. secure 
Either to meet no danger, or to find 
Matter of glorious trial ; and perhaps 
I also erred in overmuch admiring 
What seemed in thee so perfect that I thought 
No evil durst attempt thee. But I rue 1180 

That error now, which is become my crime. 
And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall 
Him who, to worth in women overtrusting. 
Lets her will rule : restraint she will not brook ; 
And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue. 
She first his weak indulgence will accuse.'" 

Thus they in mutual accusation spent 
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning; 
And of their vain contest appeared no end. 


Man's transgression known, the guardian Angels forsake Paradise, and return 
up to Heaven to approve their vigilance, and are approved ; God declaring that 
the entrance of Satan could not be by them prevented. He sends liis Son to 
judge the transgressors : who descends, and gives sentence accordingly ; then, in 
pity, clothes them both, and reasceuds. Sin and Death, sitting till then at the 
gates of Hell, by wondrous sympathy feeling the success of Satan in this new 
World, and the sin by Man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confined in 
Hell, but to follow Satan, their sire, up to the place of Man : to make the way eas- 
ier from Hell to this World to and fro, they pave a broad highway or bridge over 
Chaos, according to the track that Satan first made; then, preparing for Earth, 
they meet him, proud of his success, returning to Hell ; their mutual gratulation. 
Satan arrives at Pandemonium ; in full assembly relates, with boasting, his sue 
cess against Man ; instead of applause is entertained with a general hiss by all 
his audience, transformed, with himself also, suddenly into Serpents, according 
to his doom given in Paradise; then, deluded with a show of the Forbidden 
Tree springing up before them, they, greedily reaching to take of the fruit, chew 
dust and bitter ashes. The i)roceedings of Sin and Death : God foretells the final 
victory of his Son over them, and the renewing of all things ; but, for the inesent, 
commands his Angels to make several alterations in the Heavens and Elements. 
Adam, more and more perceiving his fallen condition, heavily bewails, rejects 
the condoiement of Eve ; she iiersists, and at length appeases him : then, to 
evade the curse likely to fall on their offspring, proposes to Adam violent ways; 
which he approves not, but, conceiving better hope, puts her in mind of the late 
promise made them, that her seed should be revenged on the Serpent, and ex- 
horts her, with him, to seek peace of the offended Deity by repentance and sup- 

MEANWHILE the heinous and despiteful act 
Of Satan done in Paradise, and how 
He, in the Serpent, had perverted Eve, 
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit, 
Was known in Heaven ; for what can scape the eye 
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart 
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and jus,t, 
Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind 
Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed 
Complete to have discovered and repulsed 
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. 
For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered, 
The high injunction not to taste that fruit, 
Whoever tempted ; which they not obeying 
Incurred (what could they less ?) the penalty, 

1 88 PARADISE LOST [Book X. 

And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall. 

Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste 

The Angelic guards ascended, mute and sad 

For Man ; for of his state by this they knew, 

Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen 20 

Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news 

From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased 

All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare 

That time celestial visages, yet, mixed 

With pity, violated not their bliss. 

About the new-arrived, in multitudes, 

The Ethereal people ran, to hear and know 

How all befell. They towards the throne supreme, 

Accountable, made haste, to make appear. 

With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance, 30 

And easily approved ; when the Most High, 

Eternal Father, from his secret cloud 

Amidst, in thunder uttered thus his voice : — 

" Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned 
From unsuccessful charge, be not dismayed 
Nor troubled at these tidings from the Earth, 
Which your sincerest care could not prevent. 
Foretold so lately what would come to pass, 
When first this Tempter crossed the gulf from Hell. 
I told ye then he should prevail, and speed 40 

On his bad errand — Man should be seduced. 
And flattered out of all, believing lies 
Against his Maker ; no decree of mine, 
Concurring to necessitate his fall. 
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse 
His free will, to her own inclining left 
In even scale. But fallen he is ; and now 
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass 
On his transgression. Death denounced that day.'' 
Which he presumes already vain and void, 50 

Because not yet inflicted, as he feared. 
By some immediate stroke, but soon shall find 
Forbearance no acquittance ere day end. 
Justice shall not return, as bounty, scorned. 
But whom send I to judge them } whom but thee, 
Vicegerent Son } To thee I have transferred 
All judgment, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell. 
Easy it may be seen that I intend 
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee, 
Man's friend, his Mediator, his designed 60 


Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary, 

And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen." 

So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright 
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son 
Blazed forth unclouded deity. He full 
Resplendent all his Father manifest 
Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild : — 

" Father Eternal, thine is to decree ; 
Mine both in Heaven and Earth to do thy will 
Supreme, that thou in me, thy Son beloved, 70 

May'st ever rest well pleased, I go to judge 
On Earth these thy transgressors ; but thou know'st, 
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light, 
When time shall be ; for so I undertook 
Before thee, and, not repenting, this obtain 
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom 
On me derived. Yet I shall temper so 
Justice with mercy as may illustrate most 
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease. 
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none 80 

Are to behold the judgment but the judged. 
Those two; the third best absent is condemned, 
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law ; 
Conviction to the Serpent none belongs." 

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose 
Of high collateral glory. Him Thrones and Powers, 
Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant, 
Accompanied to Heaven-gate, from whence 
Eden and all the coast in prospect lay. 
Down he descended straight ; the speed of Gods 90 

Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged. 

Now was the Sun in western cadence low 
From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour 
To fan the Earth now waked, and usher in 
The evening cool, when he, from wrath more cool, 
Came, the mild judge and intercessor both. 
To sentence Man. The voice of God they heard 
Now walking in the Garden, by soft winds 
Brought to their ears, while day declined ; they heard. 
And from his presence hid themselves among 100 

The thickest trees, both man and wife, till God, 
Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud : — 

" Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet 
My coming, seen far off.? I miss thee here. 
Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude. 


Where obvious duty erewhile appeared unsought. 

Or come I less conspicuous, or what change 

Absents thee, or what chance detains ? Come forth !" 

He came, and with him Eve, more loth, though first 
To offend, discountenanced both, and discomposed. no 

Love was not in their looks, either to God 
Or to each other, but apparent guilt. 
And shame, and perturbation, and despair. 
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile. 
Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief : — 

" I heard thee in the Garden, and, of thy voice 
Afraid, being naked, hid myself." To whom 
The gracious Judge, without revile, replied :— 

" My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared, 
But still rejoiced ; how is it now become 120 

So dreadful to thee.? That thou art naked who 
Hath told thee.? Hast thou eaten of the tree 
Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat ?" 
To whom thus Adam, sore beset, replied : — 

" O Heaven ! in evil .strait this day I stand 
Before my Judge — either to undergo 
Myself the total crime, or to accuse 
My other self, the partner of my life. 
Whose failing, while her faith to me remains, 
I should conceal, and not expose to blame 130 

By my complaint. But strict necessity 
Subdues me, and calamitous constraint, 
Lest on my head both sin and punishment. 
However insupportable, be all 

Devolved ; though, should I hold my peace, yet thou 
Wouldst easily detect what I conceal. 
This Woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help. 
And gav'st me as thy perfect gift, so good, 
So fit, so acceptable, so divine. 

That from her hand I could suspect no ill. 140 

And what she did, whatever in itself. 
Her doing seemed to justify the deed — 
She gave me of the tree, and I did eat." 
To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied : — 

" Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey 
Before his voice? or was she made thy guide, 
Superior, or but equal, that to her 
Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place 
Wherein God set thee above her, made of thee 
And for thee, whose perfection far excelled 150 


Hers in all real dignit}' ? Adorned 

She was indeed, and lovely, to attract 

Thy love, not thy subjection ; and her gifts 

Were such as under government well seemed — 

Unseemly to bear rule ; which was thy part 

And person, hadst thou known thyself aright." 

So having said, he thus to Eve in few : — 
" Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done ?" 

To whom said Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmed. 
Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge 160 

Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied : — 
"The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat." 

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay 
To judgment he proceeded on the accused 
Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer 
The guilt on him who made him instrument 
Of mischief, and polluted from the end 
Of his creation — justly then accursed. 
As vitiated in nature. More to know 

Concerned not Man (since he no further knew), 170 

Nor altered his offence ; yet God at last 
To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied, 
Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best ; 
And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall : — 

" Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed 
Above all cattle, each beast of the field ; 
Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go, 
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life. 
Between thee and the Woman 1 will put 
Enmity, and between thine and her seed ; 180 

Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel." 

So spake this oracle — then verified 
When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve, 
Saw Satan fall like lightning down from Heaven, 
Prince of the Air; then, rising from his grave. 
Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed 
In open show, and, with ascension bright. 
Captivity led captive through the Air, 
The realm itself of Satan, long usurped. 
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet, igo 

Even he who now foretold his fatal bruise, 
And to the Woman thus his sentence turned : — 

" Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply 
By thy conception ; children thou shalt bring 
In sorrow forth, and to thy husband's will 


Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule." 

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced : — 
" Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, 
And eaten of the tree concerning which 
I charged thee, saying, T/ion shall not eat thereof, : 

Curs'd is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow 
Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life ; 
Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth 
Unbid ; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field ; 
In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread, 
Till thou return unto the ground ; for thou 
Out of the ground wast taken : know thy birth, 
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return." 

So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent. 
And the instant stroke of death, denounced that da)^ : 
Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood 
Before him naked to the air, that now 
Must sufTer change, disdained not to begin 
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume. 
As when he washed his servants' feet, so now, 
As father of his family, he clad 
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain, 
Or, as the snake, with youthful coat repaid ; 
And thought not much to clothe his enemies. 
Nor he their outward only w^ith the skins : 

Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more 
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness 
Arraying, covered from his Father's sight. 
To him with swift ascent he up returned, 
Into his blissful bosom reassumed 
In glory as of old ; to him, appeased. 
All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Man 
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet. 

Meanwhile, ere thus was sinned and judged on Earth, 
Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, 
In counterview within the gates, that now 
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame 
Far into Chaos, since the Fiend passed through, 
Sin opening; who thus now to Death began: — 

• O Son, why sit we here, each other viewing 
Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives 
In other worlds, and happier seat provides 
For us, his offspring dear.? It cannot be 
But that success attends him ; If mishap. 
Ere this he had returned, with fury driven : 


By his avengers, since no place like this 

Can tit his punishment, or their revenge. 

Methinks I feel new strength within me rise. 

Wings growing, and dominion given me large 

Beyond this Deep— whatever draws me on, 

(^r sympathy, or some connatural force. 

Powerful at greatest distance to unite 

With secret amity things of like kind 

By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade 

Inseparable, must with me along; 250 

For Death from Sin no power can separate. 

But. lest the difficulty of passing back 

Stay his return perhaps over this gulf 

Impassable, impervious, let us try 

(Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine 

Not unagreeable !) to found a path 

Over this main from Hell to that new World 

Where Satan now prevails — a monument 

Of merit high to all the infernal host, 

Easing their passage hence, for intercourse 260 

Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead. 

Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn 

By this new-felt attraction and instinct." 

Whom thus the meagre Shadow answered soon: — 
" Go whither fate and inclination strong 
Leads thee ; I shall not lag behind, nor err 
The way, thou leading: such a scent I draw 
Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste 
The savor of death from all things there that live. 
Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest 270 

Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid." 

So saying, with delight he snufTed the smell 
Of mortal change on Earth. As when a flock 
Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, 
Against the day of battle, to a field 
Where armies lie encamped come flying, lured 
With scent of living carcases designed 
For death the following day in bloody fight ; 
So scented the grim Feature, and upturned 
His nostril wide into the murky air, 280 

Sagacious of his quarry from so far. 
Then both, from out Hell-gates, into the waste 
Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark. 
Flew diverse, and, with power (their power was great) 
Hovering upon the waters, what they met 


Solid or slimy, as in raging sea 

Tossed up and down, together crowded drove, 

From each side shoaling, towards the mouth of Hell ; 

As when two polar winds, blowing adverse 

Upon the Cronian sea, together drive 290 

Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way 

Beyond Petsora eastward to the rich 

Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil 

Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry, 

As with a trident smote, and fixed as firm 

As Delos, floating once ; the rest his look 

Bound with Gorgonian rigor not to move. 

And with asphaltic slime ; broad as the gate, 

Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach 

They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on 300 

Over the foaming Deep high-arched, a bridge 

Of length prodigious, joining to the wall 

Immovable of this now fenceless World, 

Forfeit to Death — from hence a passage broad, 

Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell. 

So, if great things to small may be compared, 

Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke, 

From Susa, his Memnonian palace high. 

Came to the sea, and, over Hellespont 

Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined, 310 

And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves. 

Now had they brought the work by wondrous art 

Pontifical — a ridge of pendent rock 

Over the vexed Abyss, following the track 

Of Satan, to the self-same place where he 

First lighted from his wing and landed safe 

From out of Chaos— to the outside bare 

(^f this round World. With pins of adamant 

And chains they made all fast, too fast they made 

And durable ; and now in little space 320 

The confines met of empyrean Heaven 

And of this World, and on the left hand Hell, 

With long reach interposed ; three several ways 

In sight to each of these three places led. 

And now their way to Earth they had descried. 

To Paradise first tending, when, behold 

Satan, in likeness of an Angel bright. 

Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering 

His zenith, while the Sun in Aries rose I 

Disguised he came; but those his children dear 330 


Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise. 

He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk 

Into the wood fast by, and, changing shape 

To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act 

By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded 

Upon her husband — saw their shame that sought 

Vain covertures ; but, when he saw descend 

The Son of God to* judge them, terrified 

He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun 

The present — fearing, guilty, what his wrath 340 

Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned 

By night, and, listening where the hapless pair 

Sat in their sad discourse and various plaint, 

Thence gathered his own doom ; which understood 

Not instant, but of future time, with joy 

And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned, 

And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot 

Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhoped 

Met who to meet him came, his offspring dear. 

Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight 350 

Of that stupendious bridge his joy increased. 

Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair 

Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke: — 

" O Parent, these are thy magnific deeds, 
Thy trophies ! which thou view'st as not thine own ; 
Thou art their author and prime architect. 
For I no sooner in my heart divined 
(My heart, which by a secret harmony 
Still moves with thine, joined in connexion sweet) 
That thou on Earth hadst prospered, which thy looks 360 
Now also evidence, but straight I felt — 
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt — 
That I must after thee with this thy son ; 
Such fatal consequence unites us three. 
Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds, 
Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure 
Detain from following thy illustrious track. 
Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined 
Within Hell-gates till now; thou us empowered 
To fortify thus far, and overlay 370 

With this portentous bridge the dark Abyss. 
Thine now is all this World ; thy virtue hath won 
What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gained, 
With odds, what war hath lost, and fully avenged 
Our foil in Heaven. Here thou shalt monarch reign. 


There didst not ; there let him still victor sway, 

As battle hath adjudged, from this new World 

Retiring, by his own doom .alienated. 

And henceforth monarchy with thee divide 

Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds, 380 

His quadrature, from thy orbicular World, 

Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne." 

Whom thus the Prince of Darkness answered glad : - 
" Fair daughter, and thou, son and grandchild both, 
High proof ye now have given to be the race 
Of Satan (for I glory in the name, 
Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King), 
Amply have merited of me, of all 
The Infernal Empire, that so near Heaven's door 
Triumphal with triumphal act have met, 390 

Mine with this glorious work, and made one realm 
Hell and this World — one realm, one continent 
Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore, while I 
Descend through Darkness, on your road with ease, 
To my associate Powers, them to acquaint 
With these successes, and with them rejoice, 
You two this way, among these numerous orbs. 
All yours, right down to Paradise descend ; 
There dwell, and reign in bliss ; thence on the Earth 
Dominion exercise and in the air, 400 

Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declared ; 
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill. 
My substitutes I send ye, and create 
Plenipotent on Earth, of matchless might 
Issuing from me. On your joint vigor now 
My hold of this new kingdom all depends. 
Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit, 
^f your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell 
Nv> detriment need fear; go, and be strong." 

So saying, he dismissed them ; they with speed ^lo 

Their course through thickest constellations held. 
Spreading their bane ; the blasted stars looked wan. 
And planets, planet-strook, real eclipse 
Then suflfered. The other way Satan went down 
The causey to Hell-gate ; on either side 
Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed, 
And with rebounding surge the bars assailed, 
That scorned his indignation. Through the gate. 
Wide open and unguarded. Satan passed. 
And all about found desolate; for those 420 


Appointed to sit there had left their charge, 

Flown to the upper World ; the rest were all 

Far to the inland retired, about the walls 

Of Pandemonium, city and proud seat 

Of Lucifer, so by allusion called 

Of that bright star to Satan paragoned. 

There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand 

In council sat, solicitous what chance 

Might intercept their Emperor sent ; so he 

Departing gave command, and they observed. 430 

As when the Tartar from his Russian foe, 

By Astracan, over the snowy plains. 

Retires, or Bactrian Sophi, from the horns 

Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond 

The realm of Aladule, in his retreat 

To Tauris or Casbeen ; so these, the late 

Heaven-banished host, left desert utmost Hell 

Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch 

Round their metropolis, and now expecting 

Each hour their great Adventurer from the search 440 

Of foreign worlds. He through the midst unmarked, 

In show plebeian Angel militant 

Of lowest order, passed, and, from the door 

Of that Plutonian hall, invisible 

Ascended his high throne, which, under state 

Of richest texture spread, at the upper end 

Was placed in regal lustre. Down a while 

He sat, and round about him saw, unseen. 

At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head 

And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter, clad 45° 

With what permissive glory since his fall 

Was left him, or false glitter. All amazed 

At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng 

Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld, 

Their mighty Chief returned : loud was the acclaim. 

Forth rushed in haste the great consulting Peers, 

Raised from their dark Divan, and with like joy 

Congratulant approached him, who with hand 

Silence, and with these words attention, won :■ — 

"Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers! — \to 
For in possession such, not only of right, 
I call ye, and declare ye now, returned, 
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth 
Triumphant out of this infernal pit 
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe. 


And dungeon of our tyrant! Now possess, 

As lords, a spacious World, to our native Heaven 

Little inferior, by my adventure hard 

With peril great achieved. Long were to tell 

What I have done, what suffered, with what pain 470 

Voyaged the unreal, vast, unbounded Deep 

Of horrible confusion — over which 

By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved. 

To expedite your glorious march ; but I 

Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride 

The untractable Abyss, plunged in the womb 

Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild. 

That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed 

My journey strange, with clamorous uproar 

Protesting Fate supreme ; thence how I found 480 

The new-created World, which fame in Heaven 

Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful, 

Of absolute perfection ; therein Man 

Placed in a paradise, by our exile 

Made happy. Him by fraud I have seduced 

From his Creator, and, the more to increase 

Your wonder, with an apple ! He, thereat 

Offended — worth your laughter ! — hath given up 

Both his beloved Man and all his World 

To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us, 49° 

Without our hazard, labor, or alarm. 

To range in, and to dwell, and over Man 

To rule, as over all he should have ruled. 

True is, me also he hath judged ; or rather 

Me not, but the brute Serpent, in whose shape 

Man I deceived. That wjiich 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. 500 

Or much more grievous pain ? Ye have the account 

Of my performance ; what remains, ye Gods. 

But up and enter now into full bliss?" 

So having said, a while he stood, expecting 
Their universal shout and high applause 
To fill his ear; when, contrar\^ he hears, 
On all sides, from innumerable tongues 
A dismal universal hiss, the sound 
Of public scorn. He wondered, but not long 
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more. 510 


His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare. 

His arms clung to his ribs, his legs entwining 

Each other, till, supplanted, down he fell, 

A monstrous serpent on his belly prone. 

Reluctant, but in vain ; a greater power 

Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned, 

According to his doom. He would have spoke. 

But hiss for hiss returned with forked tongue 

To forked tongue ; for now were all transformed 

Alike, to serpents all, as accessories 520 

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 Amphisbaena dire, 

Cerastes horned, Hydrus, and Ellops drear. 

And Dipsas (not so thick swarmed once the soil 

Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle 

Ophiusa); but still greatest he the midst. 

Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the Sun 

Engendered in the Pythian vale on slime, 530 

Huge Python ; and his power no less he seemed 

Above the rest still to retain. They all 

Him followed, issuing forth to the open field, 

Where all yet left of that revolted rout. 

Heaven-fallen, 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 540 

They felt themselves now changing. Down their arms, 

Down fell both spear and shield ; down they as fast, 

And the dire hiss renewed, and the dire form 

Catched by contagion, like in punishment 

As in their crime. Thus was the applause they meant 

Turned to exploding hiss, triumph to shame 

Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood 

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 55° 

Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve 

Used by the Ten\pter. On that prospect strange 

Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining 

For one forbidden tree a multitude 

Now risen, to work them further woe or shame ; 


Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce, 
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain, 
But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees 
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks 
That cuVled Megsera. Greedily they plucked 560 

The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew 
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed ; 
This, more delusive, not the touch, but taste 
Deceived ; they, fondly thinking to allay 
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit 
Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste 
With spattering noise rejected. Oft they assayed, 
Hunger and thirst constraining; drugged as oft. 
With hatefulest disrelish writhed their jaws 
With soot and cinders filled ; so oft they fell 570 

Into the same illusion, not as Man [plagued. 

Whom they triumphed once lapsed. Thus were they 
And, worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss. 
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed — 
Yearly enjoined, some say. to undergo 
This annual humbling certain numbered days. 
To dash their pride, and joy for Man seduced. 
However, some tradition they dispersed 
Among the Heathen of their purchase got. 
And fabled how the Serpent, whom they called 580 

Ophion, with Eurynome (the wide- 
Encroaching Eve perhaps), had first the rule 
Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven 
And Ops, ere yet Dictsean Jove was born. 

Meanwhile in Paradise the Hellish pair 
Too soon arrived — Sin, there in power before 
Once actual, now in body, and to dwell 
Habitual habitant ; behind her Death, 
Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet 
On his pale horse ; to whom Sin thus began :— 590 

" Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death I 
What think'st thou of our empire now .^ though earned 
With travail difficult, not better far 
Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch. 
Unnamed, undreaded. and thyself half-starved.?" 

Whom thus the Sin-born Monster answered soon : — 
" To me, who with eternal famine pine. 
Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven — 
There best where most with ravin I may meet : 
Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems 600 


To stuff this maw. this vast unhide-bound corpse." 

To whom the incestuous Mother thus replied :— 
" Thou, therefore, on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers, 
Feed first ; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl- 
No homely morsels; and whatever thing 
The scythe of Time mows down devour unspared ; 
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, 6io 

Both to destroy, or unimmortal make 
All kinds, and for destruction to mature 
Sooner or later ; which the Almighty seeing. 
From his transcendent seat the Saints among. 
To those bright Orders uttered thus his voice :— 

"See with what heat these dogs of Hell advance 
To waste and havoc 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 620 

Folly to me (so doth the Prince of Hell 
And his adherents), that with so much ease 
I suffer them to enter and possess 
A place so heavenly, and, conniving, seem 
To gratify my scornful enemies. 
That laugh, as if, transported with some fit 
Of passion, I to them had quitted all, 
At random yielded up to their misrule ; 
And know not that I called and drew them thither. 
My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth 630 

Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed 
On what was pure ; till, crammed and gorged, nigh burst 
With sucked and glutted offal, at one sling 
Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son, 
Both Sin and Death, and yawning Grave, at last 
Through Chaos hurled, obstruct the mouth of Hell 
For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws. 
Then Heaven and Earth, renewed, shall be made pure 
To sanctity that shall receive no stain : 
Till then the curse pronounced on both precedes." 640 

He ended, and the Heavenly 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. 


Destined restorer of Mankind, by whom 

New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise. 

Or down from Heaven descend." Such was their song, 

While the Creator, calling forth by name 

His mighty Angels, gave them several charge, 650 

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 prescribed ; to the other five 

Their planetary motions and aspects. 

In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite. 

Of noxious efficacy, and when to join 660 

In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed 

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 aerial hall. 

Some say he bid his Angels turn askance 

The poles of Earth twice ten degrees and more 

From the Sun's axle ; they with labor pushed 670 

Oblique the centric Globe : some say the Sun 

Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road 

Like distant breadth — to Taurus with the seven 

Atlantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins, 

Up to the Tropic Crab ; thence down amain 

By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales, 

As deep as Capricorn ; to bring in change 

Of seasons to each clime. Else had the spring 

Perpetual smiled on Earth with vernant flowers. 

Equal in days and nights, except to those 680 

Beyond the polar circles ; to them day 

Had unbenighted shone, while the low Sun, 

To recompense his distance, in their sight 

Had rounded still the horizon, and not known 

Or east or west — which had forbid the snow 

From cold Estotiland. and south as far 

Beneath Magellan. At that tasted fruit, 

The Sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turned 

His course intended ; else how had the world 

Inhabited, though sinless, more than now 690 


Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat? 

These changes in the heavens, though slow, produced 

Like change on sea and land — sideral blast, 

Vapor, and mist, and exhalation hot, 

Corrupt and pestilent. Now from the north 

Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore, 

Bursting their brazen dungeon, armed with ice, 

And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw, 

Boreas and Csecias and Argestes loud 

And Thrascias rend the woods, and seas upturn ; 700 

With adverse blasts upturns them from the south 

Notus and Afer, black with thundrous clouds 

From Serraliona; thwart of these, as tierce 

Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds, 

Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise. 

Sirocco and Libecchio. Thus began 

Outrage from lifeless things ; but Discord first, 

Daughter of Sin, among the irrational 

Death introduced through fierce antipathy. 

Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl, 710 

And fish with fish. To graze the herb all leaving 

Devoured each other ; nor stood much in awe 

Of Man, but fled him, or with countenance grim 

Glared on him passing. These were from without 

The growing miseries ; which Adam saw 

Already in part, tnough hid in gloomiest shade. 

To sorrow abandoned, but worse felt within, 

And, in a troubled sea of passion tost. 

Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint : — 

" O miserable of happy ! Is this the end 720 

Of this new glorious World, and me so late 
The glory of that glory } who now, become 
Accursed of blessed, hide me from the face 
Of God. whom to behold was then my highth 
Of happiness ! Yet well, if here would end 
The misery! I deserved it, and would bear 
My own deservings. But this will not serve : 
All that I eat or drink, or shall beget. 
Is propagated curse. O voice, once heard 
Delightfully, ' hicrease and imdttply ;' 730 

Now death to hear ! for what can I increase 
Or multiply but curses on my head } 
Who, of all ages to succeed, but, feeling 
The evil on him brought by me, will curse 
My head } ' III fare our Ancestor impure ! 


For this we may thank Adam !' but his thanl<s 

Shall be the execration. So, besides 

Mine own that bide upon me, all from me 

Shall with a fierce reflux on me redound — 

On me, as on their natural centre, light; 740 

Heavy, though in their place. O fleeting joys 

Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes I 

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay 

To mould me Man } Did I solicit thee 

From darkness to promote me, or here place 

In this delicious Garden.^ As my will 

Concurred not to my being, it were but right 

And equal to reduce me to my dust. 

Desirous to resign and render back 

All I received, unable to perform 7.<>o 

Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold 

The good I sought not. To the loss of that, 

Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added 

The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable 

Thy justice seems. Yet, to say truth, too late 

I thus contest ; then should have been refused 

Those terms, whatever, when they were proposed. 

Thou didst accept them : wilt thou enjoy the good. 

Then cavil the conditions.^ And, though God 

Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son 760 

Prove disobedient, and, reproved, retort, 

' Wherefore didst thou beget me } I sought it not !' 

Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee 

That proud excuse.^ yet him not thy election. 

But natural necessity, begot. 

God made thee of choice his own, and of his own 

To serve him ; thy reward was of his grace ; 

Thy punishment, then, justly is at his will. 

Be it so, for I submit ; his doom is fair, 

That dust I am, and shall to dust return. 770 

O welcome hour whenever ! Why delays 

His hand to execute what his decree 

Fixed on this day.'' Why do I overlive.^ 

Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out 

To deathless pain ? How gladly would I meet 

Mortality, my sentence, and be earth 

Insensible ! how glad would lay me down 

As in my mother's lap ! There I should rest. 

And sleep secure ; his dreadful voice no more 

Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse 7S0 

Book X.] J\4RADISE LOST 5oS 

To me and to my offspring would torment me 

With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt 

Pursues me still — lest all I cannot die ; 

Lest that pure breath of life, the Spirit of Man 

Which God inspired, cannot together perish 

With this corporeal clod. Then, in the grave. 

Or in some other dismal place, who knows 

But I shall die a living death ? O thought 

Horrid, if true! Yet why? It was but breath 

Of life that sinned : what dies but what had life 790 

And sin ? The body properly hath neither. 

All of me. then, shall die : let this appease 

The doubt, since human reach no further knows. 

For, though the Lord of all be infinite. 

Is his wrath also ? Be it, Man is not so. 

But mortal doomed. How can he exercise 

Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end } 

Can he make deathless death } That were to make 

Strange contradiction ; which to God himself 

Impossible is held, as argument 800 

Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out. 

For anger's sake, finite to infinite 

In punished Man, to satisfy his rigor 

Satisfied never .^ That were to extend 

His sentence be3^ond dust and Nature's law ; 

By which all causes else according still 

To the reception of their matter act, 

Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say 

That death be not one stroke, as I supposed. 

Bereaving sense, but endless misery 810 

From this day onward, which I feel begun 

Both in me and without me, and so last 

To perpetuity Ay me ! that fear 

Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution 

On my defenceless head ! Both Death and I 

Am found eternal, and incorporate both : 

Nor I on my part single ; in me all 

Posterity stands cursed. Fair patrimony 

That I must leave ye, sons ! Oh, were I able 

To waste it all myself, and leave ye none I 820 

So disinherited, how would ye bless 

Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all Mankind, 

For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned.? 

If guiltless ! But from me what can proceed 

But all corrupt — both mind and will depraved 


Not to do only, but to will the same 

With me? How can they, then, acquitted stand 

In sight of God ? Him. after all disputes, 

Forced I absolve. All my evasions vain 

And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still 830 

But to my own conviction : first and last 

On me, me ordy, as the source and spring 

Of all corruption, all the blame lights due. 

So might the wrath ! Fond wish ! couldst thou support 

That burden, heavier than the Earth to bear — 

Than all the world much heavier, though divided 

With that bad Woman ? Thus, what thou desir'st, 

And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope 

Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable 

Beyond all past example and future — 840 

To Satan only like, both crime and doom. 

Conscience ! into what abyss of fears 

And horrors hast thou driven me; out of which 

1 find no way, from deep to deeper plunged !" 
Thus Adam to himself lamented loud 

Through the still night — not now, as ere Man fell. 

Wholesome and cool and mild, but with black air 

Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom ; 

Which to his evil conscience represented 

All things with double terror. On the ground 850 

Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground, and oft 

Cursed his creation ; Death as oft accused 

Of tardy execution, since denounced 

The day of his ofTence. " Why comes not Death," 

Said he, " with one thrice-acceptable stroke 

To end me? Shall Truth tail to keep her word. 

Justice divine not hasten to be just? 

But Death comes not at call; Justice divine 

Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries. 

O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers! 860 

With other echo late I taught your shades 

To answer, and resound far other song." 

Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld. 

Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh. 

Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed ; 

But her. with stern regard, he thus repelled : — 

" Out of my sight, thou serpent ! That name best 
Befits thee, with him leagued, thyself as false 
And hateful : nothing wants, but that thy shape 
Like his, and color serpentine, may show 870 


Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee 

Henceforth, lest that too heavenly form, pretended 

To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee 

I had persisted happy, had not thy pride 

And wandering vanity, when least was safe. 

Rejected my forewarning, and disdained 

Not to be trusted — longing to be seen. 

Though by the Devil himself ; him overweening 

To overreach : but, with the Serpent meeting. 

Fooled and beguiled ; by him thou, I by thee, 880 

To trust thee from my side, imagined wise. 

Constant, mature, proof against all assaults. 

And understood not all was but a show, 

Rather than solid virtue, all but a rib 

Crooked by nature — bent, as now appears, 

More to the part sinister — from me drawn ; 

Well if thrown out, as supernumerary 

To my just number found I Oh, why did God, 

Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven 

With Spirits masculine, create at last 890 

This novelty on Earth, this fair defect 

Of Nature, and not fill the World at once 

With men as Angels, without feminine ; 

Or lind some other way to generate 

Mankind ? This mischief had not then befallen, 

And more that shall befall — innumerable 

Disturbances on Earth through female snares. 

And strait conjunction with this sex. For either 

He never shall find out fit mate, but such 

As some misfortune brings him, or mistake ; 900 

Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain. 

Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained 

By a far worse, or, if she love, withheld 

By parents ; or his happiest choice too late 

Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound 

To a fell adversary, his hate or shame : 

Which infinite calamity shall cause 

To human life, and household peace confound." 

He added not, and from her turned ; but Eve, 
Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing, 910 
And tresses all disordered, at his feet 
Fell humble, and, embracing them, besought 
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint : — 

" Forsake me not thus. Adam ! witness Heaven 
What love sincere and reverence in my heart 


I bear thee, and uinveeting have offended. 

Unhappily deceived ! Thy suppHant 

1 beg, and clasp thy knees ; bereave me not 

Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid. 

Thy counsel in this uttermost distress. 920 

My only strength and stay. Forlorn of thee. 

Whither shall I betake me. where subsist.^ 

While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps. 

Between us two let there be peace ; both joining. 

As joined in injuries, one enmity 

Against a foe by doom express assigned us. 

That cruel Serpent. On me exercise not 

Thy hatred for this misery befallen- - 

On me already lost, me than thyself 

More miserable. Both have sinned ; but thou 930 

Against God only ; I against God and thee, 

And to the place of judgment will return. 

There with my cries importune Heaven, that all 

The sentence, from thy head removed, may light 

On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe. 

Me, me only, just object of His ire." 

She ended, weeping; and her lowly plight. 
Immovable till peace obtained from fault 
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought 
Commiseration. Soon his heart relented 940 

Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight. 
Now at his feet submissive in distress — 
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking. 
His counsel whom she had displeased, his aid. 
As one disarmed, his anger all he lost. 
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon: — 

*' Unwary, and too desirous, as before 
So now, of what thou know'st not, who desir'st 
The punishment all on thyself! Alas! 

Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain 950 

His full wrath whose thou feel'st as yet least part. 
And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers 
Could alter high decrees, I to that place 
Would speed before thee, and be louder heard. 
That on my head all might be visited. 
Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven, 
To me committed, and by me exposed. 
But rise ; let us no more contend, nor blame 
Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive 
In offices of love how we may lighten 960 


Each other's burden in our share of woe; 
Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see, 
Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil, 
A long day's dying, to augment our pain. 
And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived." 

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied : — 
" Adam, by sad experiment I know 
How little weight my words with thee can find. 
Found so erroneous, thence by just event 
Found so unfortunate. Nevertheless, 97° 

Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place 
Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain 
Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart, 
Living or dying from thee I will not hide 
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen. 
Tending to some relief of our extremes, 
Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable, 
As in our evils, and of easier choice. 
If care of our descent perplex us most. 
Which must be born to certain woe, devoured qSo 

By Death at last (and miserable it is 
To be to others cause of misery. 
Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring 
Into this cursed world a woeful race. 
That, after wretched life, must be at last 
Food for so foul a monster), in thy power 
It lies, yet ere conception, to prevent 
The race unblest, to being yet unbegot. 
Childless thou art ; childless remain. So Death 
Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two 990 

Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw. 
But, if thou judge it hard and difficult, 
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain 
From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet. 
And with desire to languish without hope 
Before the present object languishing 
With like desire— which would be 'misery 
And torment less than none of what we dread — 
Then, both our selves and seed at once to free 
From what we fear for both, let us make short ; looc 

Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply 
With our own hands his office on ourselves. 
Why stand we longer shivering under fears 
That show no end but death, and have the power. 
Of many ways to die the shortest choosing, 


Destruction with destruction to destroy?" 

She ended here, or vehement despair 
Broke off the rest ; so much of death her thoughts 
Had entertained as dj^ed her cheeks with pale. 
But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed, loio 

To better hopes his more attentive mind 
Laboring had raised, and thus to Eve replied : — 

" Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems 
To argue in thee something more sublime 
And excellent than what thy mind contemns: 
But self-destruction therefore sought refutes 
That excellence thought in thee, and implies 
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret 
For loss of life and pleasure overloved. 

Or, if thou covet death, as utmost end 1020 

Of misery, so thinking to evade 
The penalty pronounced^ doubt not but God 
Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire than so 
To be forestalled. Much more I fear lest death 
So snatched will not exempt us from the pain 
We are by doom to pay ; rather such acts 
Of contumacy will provoke the Highest 
To make death in us live. Then let us seek 
Some safer resolution — which methinks 

I have in view, calling to mind with heed 1030 

Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise 
The Serpent's head. Piteous amends I unless 
Be meant whom I conjecture, our grand foe, 
Satan, who in the Serpent hath contrived 
Against us this deceit. To crush his head 
Would be revenge indeed — which will be lost 
By death brought on ourselves, or childless days 
Resolved as thou proposest ; so our foe* 
Shall scape his punishment ordained, and we 
Instead shall double ours upon our heads. 1040 

No more be mentioned, then, of violence 
Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness 
That cuts us off from hope, and savors only 
Rancor and pride, impatience and despite. 
Reluctance against God and his just yoke 
Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild 
And gracious temper he both heard and judged. 
Without wrath or reviling. We expected 
Immediate dissolution, which we thought 
Was meant by death that day ; when, lo ! to thee 1050 


Pains only in child-bearing were foretold, 

And bringing forth, soon recompensed with joy, 

Fruit of thy womb. On me the curse aslope 

Glanced on the ground. With labor I must earn 

My bread ; what harm ? Idleness had been worse ; 

My labor will sustain me ; and, lest cold 

Or heat should injure us, his timely care 

Hath, unbesought. provided, and his hands' 

Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged. 

How much more, if we pray him, will his ear 1060 

Be open, and his heart to pity incline, 

And teach us further by what means to shun . 

The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow I 

Which now the sky, with various face, begins • 

To show us in this mountain, while the winds 

Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks 

Of these fair spreading trees ; which bids us seek 

Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish 

Our limbs benumbed — ere this diurnal star 

Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams 1070 

Reflected may with matter sere foment, 

Or by collision of two bodies grind 

The air attrite to fire ; as late the clouds, 

Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock. 

Tine the slant lightring, whose thwart flame, driven down, 

Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine, 

And sends a comfortable heat from far. 

Which might supply the Sun. Such fire to use. 

And what may else be remedy or cure 

To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought, 1080 

He will instruct us praying, and of grace 

Beseeching him ; so as we need not fear 

To pass commodiously this life, sustained 

By him with many comforts, till we end 

In dust, our final rest and native home. 

What better can we do than, to the place 

Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall 

Before him reverent, and there confess 

Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears 

Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air 1090 

Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 

Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek ? 

Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn 

From his displeasure, in whose look serene. 

When angry most he seemed and most severe, 


What else but favor, grace, and mercy shone ?" 

So spake our Father penitent; nor Eve 
Felt less remorse. They, forthwith to the place 
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell 
Before him reverent, and both confessed 
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged, with tears 
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 
Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek. 

:©ool? Ill 


The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of our first parents now re- 
penting, and intercedes for them. God accepts them, but declares that they 
must no longer abide in Paradise ; sends Michael with a band of Cherubim to 
dispossess them, but first to reveal to Adam future things: Michael's coming 
down. Adam shows to Eve certain ominous signs : he discems'Michael's ap- 
proach ; goes out to meet him : the Angel denounces their departure. Eve's 
lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits: the Angel leads him up to a high 
hill ; sets before him in vision what shall happen till the Flood. 

THUS they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood 
Praying ; for from the mercy-seat above 
Prevenient grace descending had removed 
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh 
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breathed 
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer 
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight 
Than loudest oratory. Yet their port 
Not of m.ean suitors ; nor important less 
Seemed their petition than when the ancient pair i 

In fables old, less ancient yet than these, 
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore 
The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine 
Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers 
Flew up. nor missed the way. by envious winds 
Blown vagabond or frustrate : in they passed 
Dimensionless through heavenly doors ; then, clad 
With incense, where the golden altar fumed. 
By their great Intercessor, came in sight 
Before the Father's throne. Them the glad Son ; 

Presenting thus to intercede began : — 

" See, Father, what first-fruits on Earth are sprung 
From thy implanted grace in Man— these sighs 
And prayers, which in this golden censer, mixed 
With incense, I, thy priest, before thee bring; 
Fruits of more pleasing savor, from thy seed 
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those 
Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees 

214 . PARADISE LOST [Book XI. 

Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen 

From innocence. Now, therefore, bend thine ear 30 

To supplication ; hear his sighs, though mute ; 

Unskilful with what words to pray, let me 

Interpret for him, me his advocate 

And propitiation ; all his works on me, 

Good or not good, ingratt ; my merit those 

Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay. 

Accept me, and in me from these receive 

The smell of peace toward Mankind; let him live. 

Before thee reconciled, at least his days 

Numbered, though sad, till death, his doom (which I 40 

To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse), 

To better life shall yield him, where with me 

All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss, 

Made one with me, as I with th^e am one." 

To whom the Father, without cloud, serene : — 
"All thy request for Man, accepted Son, 
Obtain ; all thy request was my decree. 
But longer in that Paradise to dwell 
The law I gave to Nature him forbids ; 
Those pure immortal elements, that know so 

No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul. 
Eject him, tainted now, and purge him off, 
As a distemper, gross, to air as gross, 
And mortal food, as may dispose him best 
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first 
Distempered all things, and of incorrupt 
Corrupted. I, at first, with two fair gifts 
Created hmi endowed — with Happiness 
And Immortality; that fondly lost, 

This other served but to eternize woe, 6<s 

Till I provided Death : so Death becomes 
His final remedy, and, after life 
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined 
By faith and faithful works, to second life, 
Waked in the renovation of the just, 
Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renewed. 
But let us call to synod all the Blest [hide 

Through Heaven's wide bounds ; from them I will not 
My judgments — how with Mankind I proceed, 
As how with peccant Angels late they saw. 70 

And in their staTe, though firm, stood more confirmed." 

He ended, and the Son gave signal high 
To the bright Minister that watched. He blew 


His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps 

When God descended, and perhaps once more 

To sound at general doom. The angelic blast 

Filled all the regions : from their blissful bowers 

Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring. 

By the waters of life, where'er they sat 

In fellowships of joy, the Sons of Light 80 

Hasted, resorting to the summons high. 

And took their seats, till from his throne supreme 

The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will : — 

" O Sons, like one of us Man is become 
To know both good and evil, since his taste 
Of that defended fruit ; but let him boast 
His knowledge of good lost and evil got, 
Happier had it sufficed him to have known 
Good by itself anJ-evil not at all. 

He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite — 90 

My motions in him ; longer than they move. 
His heart I know how variable and vain. 
Self-left. Lest, therefore, his now bolder hand 
Reach also of the Tree of Life, and eat, 
And live for ever, dream at least to live 
For ever, to remove him I decree, 
And send him from the Garden forth, to till 
The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil. 
Michael, this my oehest have thou in charge : 
Take to thee from 9ttiong the Cherubim loc 

Thy choice of flaming warriors, lest the Fiend, 
Or in behalf of Man, or to invade 
Vacant possession, some new trouble raise; >- 
Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God 
Without remorse drive out the sinful pair. 
From hallowed ground the unholy, and denounce 
To them, and to their progeny, from thence 
Perpetual banishment. Yet, lest they faint 
At the sad sentence rigorously urged 

(For 1 behold them softened, and with tears nc 

Bewailing their excess), all terror hide. 
If patiently thy bidding they obey. 
Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal 
To Adam what shall come in future days. 
As I shall thee enlighten ; intermix 
My covenant in the Woman's seed renewed. 
So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace; 
And on the east side of the Garden place, 


Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs, 

Cherubic watch, and of a sword the flame 120 

Wide-wavintj, all approach far ofT to fright, 

And guard all passage to the Tree of Life; 

Lest Paradise a receptacle prove 

To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey, 

With whose stolen fruit Man once more to delude." 

He ceased, and the Archangelic Power prepared 
For swift descent: with him the cohort bright 
Of watchful Cherubim. Four faces each 
Had, like a double Janus; all their shape 
Spangled with eyes more numerous than those 130 

Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse. 
Charmed with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed 
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Meanwhile, 
To resalute the Wor+d with sacred light, 
Leucothea waked, and with fresh dews embalmed 
The Earth, when Adam and first matron Eve 
Had ended now their orisons, and found 
Strength added from abtfve, new hope to spring 
Out of despair, joy, but with fear yet linked ; 
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed : — 140 

" Eve, easily may faith admit that all 
The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends.; 
But that from us aught should ascend to Heaven 
So prevalent as to concern the mind 
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will. 
Hard to belief may seem. Yet this will prayer, 
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne 
Even to the seat of God. For, since 1 sought 
By prayer the oft'ended Deity to appease. 
Kneeled and before him humbled all my heart, 150 

Methought I saw him placable and mild. 
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew 
That I was heard with favor ; peace returned 
Home to my breast, and to my memory 
His promise that thy seed shall bruise our Foe; 
Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now 
Assures me that the bitterness of death 
Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee ! 
Eve rightly called. Mother of all Mankind, 
Mother of all things living, since by tiiec r6o 

Man is to live, and all things live for Man." 

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanor meek : — 
" Ill-worthy I such title should belong 


To me transgressor, who, for thee ordained 

A help, became thy snare ; to me reproach 

Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise. 

But infinite in pardon was my Judge, 

That I, who first brought death on all, am graced 

The source of life ; next favorable thou, 

Who highly thus to entitle me voutsaf'st, 170 

Far other name deserving. But the field 

To labor calls us, now with sweat imposed. 

Though after sleepless night ; for see ! the Morn, 

All unconcerned with our unrest, begins 

Her rosy progress smiling. Let us forth, 

I never from thy side henceforth to stray. 

Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoined 

Laborious, till day droop. While here we dwell, 

What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks .^ 

Here let us live, though in fallen state, content." rSo 

So spake, so wished, much-humbled Eve ; but Fate 
Subscribed not. Nature first gave signs, impressed 
On bird, beast, air — air suddenly eclipsed, 
After short blush of morn. Nigh in her sight 
The bird of Jove, stooped from his aery tour. 
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove; 
Down from a hill the beast that, reigns in woods, 
First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace, 
Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind ; 
Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight. jgo 

Adam observed, and, with his eye the chase 
Pursuing, not unmoved to Eve thus spake : — 

"O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, 
Which Heaven by these mute signs in Nature shows, 
Forerunners of his purpose, or to warn 
Us. haply too secure of our discharge 
From penalty because from death released 
Some days : how long, and what till then our life, 
Who knows, or more than this, that we are dust. 
And thither must return, and be no more.'' 200 

Why else this double object in our sight. 
Of flight pursued in the air and o'er the ground 
One way the self-same hour? Why in the east 
Darknes.« ere day's mid-course, and morning-light 
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws 
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white, 
And slow descends, with something Heavenly fraught?" 

He erred not ; for, by this, the Heavenly bands 


Down from a sky of jasper lighted now 

In Paradise, and on a hill made halt — 210 

A glorious apparition, had not doubt 

And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye. 

Not that more glorious, when the Angels met 

Jacob in Mahanaim. where he saw 

The field pavilioned with his guardians bright; 

Nor that which on the flaming mount appeared 

In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire, 

Against the Syrian king, who, to surprise 

One man, assassin- like, had levied war, 

War unproclaimed. The princely Hierarch 220 

In their bright stand there left his Powers to seize 

Possession of the Garden ; he alone. 

To find where Adam sheltered, took his way, 

Not unperceived of Adam ; who to Eve, 

While the great visitant approached, thus spake: — 

" Eve, now expect great t'dings, which, perhaps, 
Of us will soon determine, or impose 
New laws to be observed ; for I descry. 
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill. 
One of the Heavenly host, and, by his gait, 230 

None of the meanest — some great Potentate 
Or of the Thrones above, such .majesty 
Invests him coming; yet not terrible. 
That I should fear, nor sociably mild. 
As Raphael, that I should much confide, 
But solemn and sublime ; whom, not to offend, 
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire." 

He ended ; and the Archangel soon drew nigh. 
Not in his shape celestial, but as man 

Clad to meet man. Over his luc;^ arms 240 

A military vest of purple flowed, 
Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain 
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old 
In time of truce; Iris had dipt the \\Qoi. 
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime 
In manhood where youth ended ; by his side, 
As in a glistering zodiac, hung the sword. 
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear. 
Adam bowed low ; he, kingly, from his state 
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared : — 250 

" Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs. 
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard, and Death, 
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress. 


Defeated of his seizure many days, 
Given thee of grace, wherein thou may st repent, 
And one bad act with many deeds well done 
Mav'st cover. Well may then thy Lord, appeased, 
Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim ; 
But longer in this Paradise to dwell 

Permits not. To remove thee I am come, 260 

And send thee from the Garden forth to till^ ^^ 
The <yround whence thou wast taken, fitter sou. 
He added not; for Adam, at the news 
Heart-strook, with chilling gripe of sorrow stood. 
That all his senses bound ; Eve, who unseen 
Yet all had heard, with audible lament 
Discovered soon the place of her retire^ ^ 
" O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death . 
Must 1 thus leave thee. Paradise? thus leave 
Thee, native soil? these happy walks and shades, 270 

Fit haunt of Gods, where I had nope to spend, 
Ouiet, though sad, the respite of that day 
That must be mortal to us both ? O flowers. 
That never will in other climate grow. 
My earlv visitation, and my last 
\t even which I bred up with tender hand 
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names, 
Who now shall rear ye to the Sun, or rank 
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount. 
Thee, lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorned 
With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee 
How shall I part, and whither wander down 
Into a lower world, to this obscure 
And wild ? How shall we breathe in other air 
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?" 

Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild :— 
" Lament not. Eve, but patiently resign . 
What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart, 
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine. 
Thy c-oing is not lonely ; with thee goes 290 

Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound; 
Where he abides, think there thy native soil. 
Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp 
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned, 
To Michael thus his humble words addressed :— 

"Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named 
Of them the highest— for such of shape may seem 
Prince above princes— gently hast thou told 

2 So 


Thy message, which might else in telHng wound, 

And in performing end us. What besides 

Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair. 

Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring — 

Departure from this happy place, our sweet 

Recess, and only consolation left 

Familiar to our eyes ; all places else 

Inhospitable appear, and desolate, 

Nor knowing us, nor known. And, if by prayer 

Incessant I could hope to change the will 

Of him who all things can, I would not cease 

To weary him with my assiduous cries; 

But prayer against his absolute decree 

No more avails than breath against the wind, 

Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth : 

Therefore to his great bidding I submit. 

This most afflicts me — that, departing hence. 

As from his face I shall be hid, deprived 

His blessed countenance. Here I could frequent. 

With worship, place by place where he voutsafed 

Presence Divine, and to my sons relate, 

'On this mount He appeared; under this tree 

Stood visible ; among these pines his voice 

I heard ; here with him at this fountain talked.' 

So many grateful altars I would rear 

Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone 

Of lustre from the brook, in memory 

Or monument to ages, and thereon 

Ofifer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers. 

In yonder nether world where shall I seek 

His bright appearances, or footstep trace .^ 

For, though I fled him angry, yet, recalled 

To life prolonged and promised race, I now 

Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts 

Of glory, and far off his steps adore." 

To whom thus Michael, with regard benign : — 
" Adam, thou know'st Heaven his, and all the Earth, 
Not this rock only; his omnipresence fills 
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives. 
Fomented by his virtual power and warmed. 
All the Earth he gave thee to possess and rule. 
No despicable gift; surmise not, then. 
His presence to these narrow bounds confined 
Of Paradise or Eden. This had been 
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread 


All generations, and had hither come, 

From all the ends of the Earth, to celebrate 

And reverence thee their great progenitor. 

But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down 

To dwell on even ground now with thy sons : 

Yet doubt not but in valley and in plain 

God is, as here, and will be found alike 350 

Present, and of his presence many a sign 

Still following thee, still compassing thee round 

With goodness and paternal love, his face 

Express, and of his steps the track divine. 

Which that thou may'st believe, and be confirmed 

Ere thou from hence depart, know I am sent 

To show thee what shall come in futnre days 

To thee and to thy oflfspring. Good with bad 

Expect to hear, supernal grace contending 

With sinfulness of men — thereby to learn 360 

True patience, and to temper joy with fear 

And pious sorrow, equally inured 

By moderation either state to bear. 

Prosperous or adverse : so shalt thou lead 

Safest thy life, and best prepared endure 

Thy mortal passage when it comes. Ascend 

This hill ; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes) 

Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak'st. 

As once thou slept'st while she to life was formed." 

To whom thus Adam gratefully replied : — 370 

" Ascend ; I follow thee, safe guide, the path 
Thou lead'st me, and to the hand of Heaven submit. 
However chastening — to the evil turn 
My obvious breast, arming to overcome 
By sufTering, and earn rest from labor won, 
If so I may attain." So both ascend 
In the visions of God. It was a hill, 
Of Paradise the highest, from whose top 
The hemisphere of Earth in clearest ken 
Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay. 380 
Not higher that hill, nor wider looking round. 
Whereon for different cause the TempLer set 
Our second Adam, in the wilderness, 
To show him all Earth's kingdoms and their glory. 
His eye might there command wherever stood 
City of old or modern fame, the seat 
Of mightiest empire, from the destined walls 
Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can, 


And Samarchand by Oxus. Temir's throne, 

To Paquin, of Sinsean kings, and thence 390 

To Agra and Lahor of Great Mogul, 

Down to the golden Chersonese, or where 

The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since 

In H Ispahan, or where the Russian Ksar 

In Mosco, or the Sultan in Bizance, 

Turchestan-born ; nor could his eye not ken 

The empire of Negus to his utmost port 

Ercoco, and the less maritime kings, 

Mombaza. and Ouiloa, and Melind, 

And Sofala (thought Ophir), to the realm 400 

Of Congo, and Angola farthest south, 

Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount. 

The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus, 

Marocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen ; 

On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway 

The world : in spirit perhaps he also saw 

Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume, 

And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat 

Of Atabalipa, and yet unspoiled 

Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons 410 

Call El Dorado. But to nobler .sights 

Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed 

Which that false fruit that promised clearer sight 

Had bred ; then purged with euphrasy and jiie 

The visual nerve, for he had mucTi to see, 

And from the well of life three drops instilled. 

So deep the power of these ingredients pierced, 

Even to the inmost seat of mental sight. 

That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes, 

Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranced. 420 

But him the gentle Angel by the hand 

Soon raised, and his attention thus recalled : — 

" Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold 
The effects which thy original crime hath wrought 
In some to spring from thee, who never touched 
The excepted tree, nor with the Snake conspired 
Nor sinned thy sin, yet from that sin derive 
Corruption to bring forth more violent deeds." 

His eyes he opened, and beheld a field. 
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves 43° 

New-reaped, the other part sheep-walks and folds ; 
r the midst an altar as the landmark stood. 
Rustic, of grassy sord. Thither anon 


A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought 

First-fruits, the green ear and the yellow sheaf> 

Unculled, as came to hand. A shepherd next, 

More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock, 

Choicest and best ; then, sacrificing, laid 

The inwards and their fat. with incense strewed, 

On the cleft wood, and all due rites performed. 440 

His offering soon propitious fire from heaven 

Consumed, with nimble glance and grateful steam; 

The other's not, for his was not sincere : 

Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talked. 

Smote him into the midrilT with a stone 

That beat out life; he fell, and, deadly pale, 

Groaned out his soul, with gushing blood effused. 

Much at that sight was Adam in his heart 

Dismayed, and thus in haste to the Angel cried : — 

" O Teacher, some great mischief hath befallen 450 

To that meek man, who well had sacrificed : 
Is piety thus and pure devotion paid .?" 

To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied : — 
" These two are brethren, Adam, and to come 
Out of thy loins. The unjust the just hath slain, 
For envy that his brother's offermg found 
From Heaven acceptance ; but the bloody fact 
Will be avenged, and the other's faith approved 
Lose no reward, though here thou see him die, 
Rolling in dust and gore." To which our Sire : — 460 

" Alas, both for the deed and for the cause ! 
But have I now seen Death ? Is this the way 
I must return to native dust } O sight 
Of terror, foul and ugly to behold ! 
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel !" 

To whom thus Michael : — " Death thou hast seen 
In his first shape on Man ; but many shapes 
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead 
To his grim cave — all dismal, yet to sense 
More terrible at the entrance than within, 470 

Some, as thou saw'st. by violent stroke shall die, 
By fire, flood, famine; by intemperance more 
In meats and drinks, which on the Earth shall bring 
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew 
Before thee shall appear, that thou may'st know 
What misery the inabstinence of Eve 
Shall bring on men." Immediately a place 
Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark ; 


A lazar-house it seemed, wherein were laid 

Numbers of all diseased — all maladies 480 

Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms 

Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds? 

Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, 

Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs, 

Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy. 

And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy. 

Marasmus, and wide- wasting pestilence, 

Dropsies and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. 

Dire was the tossing, deep the groans ; Despair 

Tended the sick, busiest from couch to couch ; 49° 

And over them triumphant Death his dart 

Shook, but delayed to strike, though oft invoked 

With vows, as their chief good and final hope. 

Sight so deform what heart of rock could long 

Dry-eyed behold ? Adam could not, but wept, 

Though not of woman born : compassion quelled 

His best of man, and gave him up to tears 

A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess, 

And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed : — 

" O miserable Mankind, to what fall 500 

Degraded, to what wretched state reserved ! 
Better end here unborn. Why is life given 
To be thus wrested from us .'* rather why 
Obtruded on us thus.^ who, if we knew 
What we receive, would either not accept 
Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down, 
Glad to be so dismissed in peace. Can thus 
The image of God in Man, created once 
So goodly and erect, though faulty since, 
To such unsightly sufferings be debased 510 

Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man, 
Retaining still divine similitude 
In part, from such deformities be free. 
And for his Maker's image" sake exempt ?" 

"Their Maker's image," answered Michael, " then 
Forsook them, when themselves they vilified 
To serve ungoverned Appetite, and took 
His image whom they served — a brutish vice, 
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. 

Therefore so abject is their punishment. 520 

Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; 
Or, if his likeness, by themselves defaced 
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules 


To loathsome sickness — worthily, since they 
God's image did not reverence in themselves." 

" I yield it just," said Adam, "and submit. 
But is there yet no other way, besides 
These painful passages, how we may come 
s^To death, and mix with our connatural dust?" 

''There is," said Michael, "if thou well observe 530 

The rule of Not too much, by temperance taugnt 
In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence 
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight, 
Till many years over thy head return. 
So may'st thou live, till, like ripe fruit, thou drop 
Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease 
Gathered, not harshly plucked, for death mature. 
This is old age; but then thou must outlive 
Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will change 
To withered, weak, and grey , thy senses then, 540 

Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forgo 
To what thou hast ; and, for the air of youth. 
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign 
A melancholy damp of cold and dry. 
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume 
The balm of life." To whom our Ancestor: — 

" Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong 
Life much — bent rather how I may be quit, 
Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge, 
Which I must keep till my appointed day 550 

Of rendering up, and patiently attend 
My dissolution." Michael replied :— 

" Nor love thy life, nor hate -, but what thou liv'st 
Live well ; how long or short permit to Heaven. 
And now prepare thee for another sight." 

He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon 
Were tents of various hue : by some were herds 
Of cattle grazing: others whence the sound 
Of instruments that made melodious chime 
Was heard, of harp and organ, and who moved 560 

Their stops and chords was seen : his volant touch 
Instinct through all proportions low and high 
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. 
In other part stood one who, at the forge 
Laboring, two massy clods of iron and brass 
Had melted (whether found where casual fire 
Had wasted woods, on mountain or in vale, 
Down to the veins of earth, thence gliding hot 

226 PARADISE LOST [li<.oK XI. 

To some cave's mouth, or whether washed by stream 

From underground); the liquid ore he drained 570 

Into fit moulds prepared ; from w^hich he formed 

First his own tools, then w^hat might else be wrought 

Fusil or graven in metal. xAfter these, 

But on the hither side, a different sort 

From the high neighboring hills, which was their seat. 

Down to the plain descended : by their guise 

]ust men they seemed, and all their study bent 

To worship God aright, and know his works 

Not hid , nor those things last which might preserv^e 

Freedom and peace to men. They on the plain 580 

Long had not walked when from the tents behold 

A bevy of fair women, richly gay 

In gems and wanton dress! to the harp they sung 

Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on. 

The men. though grave, eyed them, and let their eyes 

Rov^e without rein. till, in the amorous net 

Fast caught, they liked, and each his liking chose. 

And now of love they treat, till the evening-star. 

Love's harbinger, appeared ; then, all in heat. 

They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke 590 

Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked : 

With feast and music all the tents resound. 

Such happy interview, and fair event 

Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers. 

And charming symphonies, attached the heart 

Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight, 

The bent of Nature; which he thus expressed: — 

"True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest. 
Much better seems this vision, and more hope 
Of peaceful days portends, than those two past : 600 

Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse ; 
Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends." 

To whom thus Michael : — " Judge not what is best 
By pleasure, though to Nature seeming meet. 
Created, as thou art, to nobler end. 
Holy and pure, conformity divine. 
Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant were the tents 
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race 
Who slew his brother: studious they appear 
Of arts that polish life, inventors rare ; 610 

Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit 
Taught them : but they his gifts acknowledged none. 
Yet they a beauteous ofispring shall beget ; 


For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seemed 

Of goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, 

Yet empty of all good wherein consists 

Woman's domestic honor and chief praise ; 

Bred only and completed to the taste 

Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance. 

To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye ;— 620 

To these that sober race of men, whose lives 

Religious titled them the Sons of God, 

Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame. 

Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles 

Of these fi^.r atheists, and now swim in joy 

(Erelong to swim at large) and laugh; for which 

The world erelong a world of tears must weep." 

To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft :— 
" O pity and shame, that they who to live well 
Entered so fair should turn aside to tread 630 

Paths indirect, or in the midway faint! 
But still I see the tenor of Man's woe 
Holds on the same, from Woman to begin," 

" From Man's effeminate slackness it begins," 
Said the Angel. ^' who should better hold his place 
By wisdom, and superior gifts received. 
But now prepare thee for another scene." 

He looked, and saw wide territory spread 
Before him — towns, and rural works between, 
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers, 640 

Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war. 
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise. 
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed. 
Single or in array of battle ranged 
Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood. 
One way a band select from forage drives 
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine. 
From a fat meadow-ground, or fieecy flock. 
Ewes and their bleating lambs, over the plain. 
Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly, 650 

But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray : 
With cruel tournament the squadrons join ; 
Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies 
With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field 
Deserted. Others to a city strong 
Lay siege, encamped, by battery, scale, and mine. 
Assaulting ; others from the wall defend 
With dart and javelin, stones and sulphurous tire ; 


On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds. 

In other part the sceptred haralds call 660 

To council in the city-gates: anon 

Grey-headed men and grave, with warriors mixed, 

Assemble, and harangues are heard ; but soon 

In factious opposition, till at last 

Of middle age one rising, eminent 

In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong. 

Of justice, of religion, truth, and peace, 

And judgment from above : him old and young 

Exploded, and had seized with violent hands. 

Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence. 670 

Unseen amid the throng. So violence 

Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law. 

Through all the plain, and refuge none was found. 

Adam was all in tears, and to his guide 

Lamenting turned full sad: — " Oh. what are these .^ 

Death's ministers, not men ! who thus deal death 

Inhumanly to men. and multiply 

Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew 

His brother; for of whom such massacre 

Make they but of their brethren, men of men ? 680 

But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven 

Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost?" 

To whom thus Michael :—" These are the product 
Of those ill-mated marriages thou saw'st, 
Where good with bad were matched ; who of themselves 
Abhor to join, and, by imprudence mixed. 
Produce prodigious births of body or mind. 
Such were these Giants, men of high renown ; 
For in those days might only shall be admired, 
And valor and heroic virtue called. 690 

To overcome in battle, and subdue 
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite 
Manslaughter, shall be held the highest pitch 
Of human glory, and, for glory done. 
Of triumph to be styled great conquerors. 
Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods — 
Destroyers rightlier called, and plagues of men. 
Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth. 
And what most merits fame in silence hid. 
But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheld'st 700 
The only righteous in a world perverse. 
And therefore hated, therefore so beset 
With foes, for daring single to be just, 


And utter odious truth, that God would come 

To judge them with his Saints — him the Most High, 

Rapt in a balmy cloud, with winged steeds, 

Did, as thou saw'st, receive, to walk with God 

High in salvation and the climes of bliss, 

Exempt from death, to show thee what reward 

Awaits the good, the rest what punishment; 710 

Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold." 

He looked, and saw the face of things quite changed. 
The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar; 
All now was turned to jollity and game. 
To luxury and riot, feast and dance. 
Marrying or prostituting, as befell. 
Rape or adultery, where passing fair 
Allured them ; thence from cups to civil broils. 
At length a reverend sire among them came. 
And of their doings great dislike declared, 720 

And testified against their ways. He oft 
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met, 
Triumphs or festivals, and to them preached 
Conversion and repentance, as to souls 
In prison, under judgments imminent; 
But all in vain. Which when he saw, he ceased 
Contending, and removed his tents far off ; 
Then, from the mo-mtain hewing timber tall, 
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk, 

Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth, 730 

Smeared round with pitch, and in the side a door 
Contrived, and of provisions laid in large 
For man and beast : when lo ! a wonder strange ! 
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small. 
Came sevens and pairs, and entered in, as taught 
Their order; last, the sire and his three sons, 
With their four wives; and God made fast the door. 
Meanwhile the South-wind rose, and, with black wings 
Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove 
From under heaven ; the hills to their supply 740 

Vapor, and exhalation dusk and moist, 
Sent up amain ; and now the thickened sky 
Like a dark ceiling stood : down rushed the rain 
Impetuous, and continued till the earth 
No more was seen. The floating vessel swum 
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow 
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else 
Flood overwhelmed, and them with all their pomp 


Deep under water rolled ; sea covered sea, 

Sea without shore : and in their palaces, 750 

Where luxury late reigned, sea monsters whelped 

And stabled: of mankind, so numerous late. 

All left in one small bottom swum embarked. 

How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold 

The end of all thy offspring, end so sad, 

Depopulation I Thee another fiood. 

Of tears and sorrow a flood thee also drowned, 

And sunk thee as thy sons ; till, gently reared 

By the Angel, on thy' feet thou stood'st at last, 

Though comfortless, as when a father mourns 760 

His children, all in view destroyed at once, 

And scarce to the Angel utter'dst thus thy plaint: — 

" O visions ill foreseen ! Better had I 
Lived ignorant of future — so had borne 
My part of evil only, each day's lot 
Enough to bear. Those now that were dispensed 
The burden of many ages on me light 
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth 
Abortive, to torment me, ere their being. 
With thought that they must be. Let no man seek 770 
Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall 
Him or his children — evil, he may be sure. 
Which neither his foreknowing can prevent. 
And he the future evil shall no less 
In apprehension than in substance feel 
Grievous to bear. But that care now is past ; 
Man is not whom to warn ; those few escaped 
Famine and anguish will at last consume. 
Wandering that watery desert. I had hope. 
When violence was ceased and war on Earth, 7S0 

All would have then gone well, peace would have crowned 
With length of happy days the race of Man ; 
But I was far deceived, for now I see 
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste. 
How comes it thus .^ Unfold, Celestial Guide. 
And whether here the race of Man will end." 

To whom thus Michael : — " Those whom last thou saw'st 
In triumph and luxurious wealth are they 
First seen in acts of prowess eminent 

And great exploits, but of true virtue void , 790 

Who, having spilt much blood, and done much waste, 
Subduing nations, and achieved thereby 
Fanjc in the world, high titles, and rich prey. 


Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth, 

Surfeit, and lust, till wantonness and pride 

Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. 

The conquered, also, and enslaved by war. 

Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose, 

And fear of God — from whom their piety feigned 

In sharp contest of battle found no aid 800 

Against invaders ; therefore, cooled in zeal, 

Thenceforth shall practise how to live secure, 

Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords 

Shall leave them to enjoy ; for the Earth shall bear 

More than enough, that temperance may be tried. 

So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved, 

Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot; 

One man except, the only son of light 

In a dark age, against example good. 

Against allurement, custom, and a world 810 

Offended. Fearless of reproach and scorn, 

Or violence, he of their wicked ways 

Shall them admonish, and before them set 

The paths of righteousness, how much more safe 

And full of peace, denouncing wrath to come 

On their impenitence, and shall return 

Of them derided, but of God observed 

The one just man a'ive : by his command 

Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou beheld'st, 

To save himself and household from amidst 820 

A world devote to universal wrack. 

No sooner he, with them of man and beast 

Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged 

And sheltered round, but all the cataracts 

Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour 

Rain day and night ; all fountains of the deep, 

Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp 

Beyond all bounds, till inundation rise 

Above the highest hills. Then shall this Mount 

Of Paradise by might of waves be moved 830 

Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood, 

With all his verdure spoiled, and trees adrift, 

Down the great river to the opening Gulf, 

And there take root, an island salt and bare, 

The haunt of seals, and ores, and sea-mews' clang — 

To teach thee that God attributes to place 

No sanctity, if none be thither brought 

By men who there frequent or therein dwell. 


And now what further shall ensue behold." 

He looked, and saw the ark hull on the flood, 840 

Which now abated ; for the clouds were fled, 
Driven by a keen North-wind, that, blowing dry. 
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decayed ; 
And the clear sun on his wide watery glass 
Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew. 
As after thirst ; which made their flowing shrink 
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole 
With soft foot towards the deep, who now had stopt 
His sluices, as the heaven his windows shut. 
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, 850 

Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed. 
And now the tops of hills as rocks appear ; 
With clamor thence the rapid currents drive 
Towards the retreating sea their furious tide. 
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies, 
And, after him, the surer messenger, 
A dove, sent forth once and again to spy 
Green tree or ground whereon his foot may light; 
The second time returning, in his bill 

An olive-leaf he brings, pacific sign. 860 

Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark 
The ancient sire descends, with all his train ; 
Then, with uplifted hands and eyes devout, 
Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds 
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow 
Conspicuous with three listed colors gay. 
Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. 
Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad. 
Greatly rejoiced ; and thus his joy broke forth : — 

" O thou, who future things canst represent 870 

As present. Heavenly Instructor, I revive 
At this last sight, assured that Man shall live. 
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve. 
Far less I now lament for one whole world 
Of wicked sons destroyed than I rejoice 
For one man found so perfect and so just 
That God voutsafes to raise another world 
From him, and all his anger to forget. 
But say what mean those colored streaks in Heaven : 
Distended as the brow of God appeased } 880 

Or serve they as a flowery verge to bind 
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud, 
Lest it again dissolve and shower the Earth ?" 


To whom the Archangel : — " Dextrously thou aim'st. 
So willingly doth God remit his ire: 
Though late repenting him of Man depraved, 
Grieved at his heart, when, looking down, he saw 
The whole Earth filled with violence, and all flesh 
Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed. 
Such grace shall one just man find in his sight Sgo 

That he relents, not to blot out mankind, 
And makes a covenant never to destroy 
The Earth again by flood, nor let the sea 
Surpass his bounds, nor rain to drown the world 
With man therein or beast ; but, when he brings 
Over the Earth a cloud, will therein set 
His triple-colored bow, whereon to look 
And call to mind his covenant. Day and night. 
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost, 
Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new, goo 
Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell." 


The Angel Michael continues, from the Flood, to relate what shall succeed; 
then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain who that Seed of 
the Woman shall be which was promised Adam and Eve in the Fall : his incar- 
nation, death, resurrection, and ascension ; the state of the Chiirch till his second 
coming. Adam, greatly satisfied and recomforted by these relations and promises, 
descends the hill with Michael; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but 
with gentle dreams composed to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in 
either hand leads them out of Paradise, the tiery sword waving behind them, and 
the Cherubim taking their stations to guard the place. 

AS one who, in his journey, bates at noon, [paused 
Though bent on speed, so here the Archangel 
Betwixt the world destro\^ed and world restored, 
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose; 
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes :-- 

"Thus thou hast seen one world begin and end, 
And Man as from a second stock proceed. 
Much thou hast yet to see ; but I perceive 
Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine 
Must needs impair and weary human sense. 
Henceforth what is to come I will relate ; 
Thou, therefore, give due audience, and attend. 

"This second source of men, while yet but few. 
And while the dread of judgment past remains 
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity, 
With some regard to what is just and right 
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace, 
Laboring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop. 
Corn, wine, and oil ; and, from the herd or flock 
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid. 
With large wine-ofTerings poured, and sacred feast, 
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed, and dwell 
Long time in peace, by families and tribes. 
Under paternal rule, till one shall rise, 
Of proud, ambitious heart, who, not content 
With fair equality, fraternal state, 
Will arrogate dominion undeser\'ed 


Over his brethren, and quite dispossess 
Concord and law of Nature from the Earth- 
Hunting (and men, not beasts, shall be his game) 30 
With war and hostile snare such as refuse 
Subjection to his empire tyrannous. 
A niighty hunter thence he shall be styled 
Before the Lord, as in despite of Heaven, 
Or from Heaven claiming second sovranty, 
And from rebellion shall derive his name. 
Though of rebellion others he accuse. 
He, with a crew, whom like ambition joins 
With him or under him to tyrannize. 

Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find 40 

The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge 
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell. 
Of brick, and of that stufT, they cast to build 
A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven ; 
And get themselves a name, lest, far dispersed 
In foreign lands, their memory be lost- 
Regardless whether good or evil fame. 
But God. who oft descends to visit men 
Unseen, and through their habitations walks. 
To mark their doings, them beholding soon. 50 

Comes down to see their city, ere the tower 
Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets 
Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase 
Quite out their native language, and, instead, 
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown. 
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud 
Among the builders; each to other calls. 
Not understood — till, hoarse and all in rage. 
As mocked they storm. Great laughter was in Heaven, 
And looking down to see the hubbub strange 60 

And hear the din. Thus was the building left 
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named." 
Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased ; — 
" O execrable son, so to aspire 
Above his brethren, to himself assuming 
Authority usurped, from God not given ! 
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl. 
Dominion absolute; that right we hold 
By his donation ; but man over men 

He made not lord — such title to himself 70 

Reserving, human left from human free. 
But this usurper his encroachment proud 


Stays not on Man ; to God his tower intends 
Siege and defiance. Wretched man ! what food 
Will he convey up thither, to sustain 
Himself and his rash army, where thin air 
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross, 
And famish him of breath, if not of bread?" 

To whom thus Michael :—" Justly thou abhorr'st 
That son, who on the quiet state of men 80 

Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue 
Rational liberty ; yet know withal. 
Since thy original lapse, true liberty 
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells 
Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being. 
Reason in Man obscured, or not obeyed, 
Immediately inordinate desires 
And upstart passions catch the government 
From Reason, and to servitude reduce 
Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits go 

Within himself unvyorthy powers to reign 
Over free reason, God, in judgment just. 
Subjects him from without to violent lords, 
Who oft as undeservedly enthral 
His outward freedom. Tyranny must be, 
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse. 
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low 
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong, 
But justice and some fatal curse annexed, 
Deprives them of their outward liberty, 10c 

Their inward lost: witness the irreverent son 
Of him who built the ark, who, for the shame 
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse, 
Servant of servants, on his vicious race. 
Thus will this latter, as the former world, 
Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last, 
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw 
His presence from among them, and avert 
His holy eyes, resolving from thenceforth 
To leave them to their own polluted ways, ii< 

And one peculiar nation to select 
From all the rest, of whom to be invoked — 
A nation from one faithful man to spring. 
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing. 
Bred up in idol-worship — Oh, that men 
(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown. 
While yet the patriarch lived who scaped the Flood. 


As to forsake the living God, and fall 

To worship their own work in wood and stone 

For gods! — yet him God the Most High voutsafes 120 

To call by vision from his father's house, 

His kindred, and false gods, into a land 

Which he will show him, and from him will raise 

A mighty nation, and upon him shower 

His benediction so that in his seed 

All nations shall be blest. He straight obeys ; 

Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes. 

I see him. but thou canst not, with what faith 

He leaves his gods, his friends, and native soil, 

Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the ford 130 

To Haran — after him a cumbrous train 

Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude — 

Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth 

With God, who called him, in a land unknown. 

Canaan he now attains ; I see his tents 

Pitched about Sechem, and the neighboring plain 

Of Moreh. There, by promise, he receives 

Gift to his progeny of all that land. 

From Hamath northward to the Desert south 

(Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed), 140 

From Hermon east to the great western sea ; 

Mount Hermon. 3^onder sea, each place behold 

In prospect, as I point them : on the shore. 

Mount Carmel ; here, the double-founted stream, 

Jordan, true limit eastward ; but his sons 

Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills. 

This ponder, that all nations of the Earth 

Shall in his seed be blessed. By that seed 

Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise 

The Serpent's head ; whereof to thee anon 150 

Plainlie»" shall be revealed. This patriarch blest, 

V^\vom. faithful Abraham due time shall call, 

A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves, 

Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown. 

The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs 

Fron Canaan to a land hereafter called 

Egypt, divided by the river Nile ; 

See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths 

Into the sea. To sojourn in that land 

He comes, invited by a younger son 160 

In time of dearth — a son whose worthy deeds 

Raise him to be the second in that realm 


Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race 

Growing into a nation, and now grown 

Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks 

To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests 

Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves 

Inhospitably, and kills their infant males: 

Till, by two brethren (those two brethren call 

Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 170 

His people from enthralment, they return. 

With glory and spoil, back to their promised land. 

But first the lawless tyrant, who denies 

To know their God, or message to regard, 

Must be compelled by signs and judgments dire : 

To blood unshed the rivers must be turned ; 

Frogs, lice, and flies must all his palace fill 

With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land ; 

His cattle must of rot and murrain die; 

Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss, 180 

And all his people ; thunder mixed with hail. 

Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptian sky, 

And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls; 

What it devours not. herb, or fruit, or grain, 

A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down 

Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green ; 

Darkness must overshadow all his bounds. 

Palpable darkness, and blot out three days ; 

Last, with one midnight-stroke, all the first-born 

Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds 190 

The river-dragon tamed at length submits 

To let his sojourners depart, and oft 

Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as ice 

More hardened after thaw ; till, in his rage 

Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea 

Swallows him with his host, but them lets pass. 

As on dry land, between two crystal walls. 

Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand 

Divided' till his rescued gain their shore: 

Such wondrous power God to his Saint will lend, 200 

Though present in his Angel, who shall go 

Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire — 

By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire — 

To guide them in their journey, and remove 

Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues. 

All night he will pursue, but his approach 

Darkness defends between till morning-watch. 


Then through the fiery pillar and the cloud 

God looking forth will trouble all his host. 

And craze their chariot-wheels : when, by command, 210 

Moses once more his potent rod extends 

Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys; 

On their embattled ranks the waves return. 

And overwhelm their war. The race elect 

Safe towards Canaan, from the shore, advance 

Through the wild Desert — not the readiest way. 

Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed, 

War terrify them inexpert, and fear 

Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather 

Inglorious life with servitude; for life 220 

To noble and ignoble is more sweet 

Untrained in arms, where rashness leads not on. 

This also shall they gain by their delay 

In the wide wilderness : there they shall found 

Their government, and their great Senate choose 

Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordained. 

(jod, from the Mount of Sinai, whose grey top 

Shall tremble, he descending, will himself, 

In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpet's sound. 

Ordain them laws — part, such as appertain 230 

To civil justice; part, religious rites 

Of sacrilice. informing them, by types 

And shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise 

The Serpent, by what means he shall achieve 

Mankind's deliverance. But the voice of God 

To mortal ear is dreadful : they beseech 

That Moses might report to them his will. 

And terror cease ; he grants what they besought, 

Instructed that to God is no access 

Without Mediator, whose high oflice now 240 

Moses in figure bears, to introduce 

One greater, of whose day he shall foretell. 

And all the Prophets, in their age, the times 

Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus laws and rites 

Established, such delight hath God in men 

Obedient to his will that he voutsafes 

Among them to set up his tabernacle — 

The Holy One with mortal men to dwell. 

By his prescript a sanctuary is framed 

Of cedar, overlaid with gold ; therein _ 250 

An ark. and in the ark his testimony, 

The records of his covenant; over these 


A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings 

Of two bright Cherubim ; before him burn 

Seven lamps, as in a zodiac representing 

The heavenly fires. Over the tent a cloud 

Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night. 

Save when they journey ; and at length they come, 

Conducted by his Angel, to the land 

Promised to Abraham and his seed. The rest 

Were long to tell — how many battles fought ; 

How many kings destroyed, and kingdoms won ; 

Or how the sun shall in mid-heaven stand still 

A day entire, and night's due course adjourn, 

Man's voice commanding, ' Sun, in Gibeon stand, 

And thou. Moon, in the vale of Aialon, 

Till Israel overcome I' — so call the third 

From Abraham, son of Isaac, and from him 

His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win." 

Here Adam interposed : — " () sent from Heaven, 
Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things 
Thou hast revealed, those chiefly which concern 
Just Abraham and his seed. Now first I find 
Mine eyes true opening, and my heart much eased,. 
Erewhile perplexed with thoughts what would become 
Of me and all mankind ; but now I see 
His day, in whom all nations shall be blest — 
Favor unmerited by me, who sought 
Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means. 
This yet I apprehend not — why to those 
Among whom God will deign to dwell on Earth 
So many and so various laws are given. 
So many laws argue so many sins 
Among them; how can God with such reside.^" 

To whom thus Michael: — "Doubt not but that sin 
Will reign among them, as of thee begot; 
And therefore was law given them, to evince 
Their natural pravity, by stirring up 
Sin against Law to fight, that, when they see 
Law can discover sin, but not remove. 
Save by those shadowy expiations weak. 
The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude 
Some blood more precious must be paid for Man, 
Just for unjust, that in such righteousness, 
To them by faith imputed, they may hnd 
Justification towards God, and peace 
Of conscience, which the law by ceremonies 


Cannot appease, nor man the moral part 
Perform, and not performing cannot live. 
So Law appears imperfect, and but given 300 

With purpose to resign them, in full time, 
Up to a better covenant, disciplined 
From shadowy types to truth, from flesh to spirit, 
From imposition of strict laws to free 
Acceptance of large grace, from servile fear 
To filial, works of law to works of faith. 
And therefore shall not Moses, though of God 
Highly beloved, being but the minister 
Of Law, his people into Canaan lead ; 

But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call, 310 

His name and office bearing who shall quell 
The adversary Serpent, and bring back 
Through the world's wilderness long-wandered Man 
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest. 
Meanwhile they, in their earthly Canaan placed. 
Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins 
National interrupt their public peace. 
Provoking God to raise them enemies — 
From whom as oft he saves them penitent, 
By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom 320 

The second, both for piety renowned 
And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive 
Irrevocable, that his regal throne 
For ever shall endure. The like shall sing 
All Prophecy — that of the royal stock 
Of David (so I name this king) shall rise 
A son, the Woman's Seed to thee foretold, 
Foretold to Abraham as in whom shall trust 
All nations, and to kings foretold of kings 
The last, for of his reign shall be no end. 330 

But first a long succession must ensue; 
And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed, 
The clouded ark of God, till then in tents 
Wandering; shall in a glorious temple enshrine. 
Such follow him as shall be registered 
Part good, part bad ; of bad the longer scroll : 
Whose foul idolatries and other faults. 
Heaped to the popular sum, will so incense 
God, as to leave them, and expose their land, 
Their city, his temple, and his holy ark, 340 

With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey 
To that proud city whose high walls thou saw'st 


Left in confusion, Babylon thence called. 

There in captivit) he lets them dwell 

The space of seventy years ; then brings them back, 

Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn 

To David, stablished as the days of Heaven. 

Returned from Babylon by leave of kings, 

Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God 

They first re-edify, and for a while 350 

In mean estate live moderate, till, grown 

In wealth and multitude, factious they grow. 

But first among the priests dissension springs — 

Men who attend the altar, and should most 

Endeavor peace: their strife pollution brings 

Upon the temple itself ; at last they seize 

The sceptre, and regard not David's sons ; 

Then lose it to a stranger, that the true 

Anointed King Messiah might be born 

Barred of his right. Yet at his birth a star, 360 

Unseen before in heaven, proclaims him come, 

And guides the eastern sages, who inquire 

His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold : 

His place of birth a solemn Angel tells 

To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night ; 

They gladly thither haste, and by a quire 

Of squadroned Angels hear his carol sung. 

A Virgin is his mother, but his sire 

The Power of the Most High. He shall ascend 

The throne hereditary, and bound his reign 370 

With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens." 

He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy 
Surcharged as had, like grief, been dewed in tears. 
Without the vent of words; which these he breathed: — 

" O prophet of glad tidings, finisher 
Of utmost hope ! now clear I understand 
What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain — 
Why our great Expectation should be called 
The Seed of Woman. Virgin Mother, hail I 
High in the love of Heaven, yet from my loins 380 

Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son 
Of God Most High ; so God with Man unites. 
Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise 
Expect with mortal pain. Say where and when 
Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the Victor's heel." 

To whom thus Michael : — " Dream not of their fight 
As of a duel, or the local wounds 


Of head or heel. Not therefore joins the Son 

Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil 

Thy enemy ; nor so is overcome 390 

Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise. 

Disabled not to give thee thy death's wound ; 

Which he who comes thy Saviour shall recure. 

Not by destroying Satan, but his works 

In thee and in thy seed. Nor can this be. 

But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, 

Obedience to the law of God, imposed 

On penalty of death, and suffering death, 

The penalty to thy transgression due, 

And due to theirs which out of thine will grow: 400 

So only can high justice rest appaid. 

The Law of God exact he shall fulfil 

Both by obedience and by love, though love 

Alone fulfil the Law; thy punishment 

He shall endure, by coming in the flesh 

To a reproachful life and cursed death. 

Proclaiming life to all who shall believe 

In his redemption, acid that his obedience 

Imputed becomes theirs by faith — his merits 

To save them, not their' own, though legal, works. 410 

For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed. 

Seized on by force,'>judged, and to death condemned 

A shameful and accursed, nailed to the cross 

By his own nation, slain for bringing life ; 

But to the cross he nails thy enemies — 

The Law that is against thee, and the sins 

Of all mankind, with him there crucified. 

Never to hurt them more who rightly trust 

In this his satisfaction. So he dies, 

But soon revives ; Death over him no power 420 

Shall long usurp. Ere the third dawning light 

Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise 

Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light. 

Thy ransom paid, which Man from Death redeems — 

His death for Man, as many as offered life 

Neglect not, and the benefit embrace 

By faith not void of works. This godlike act 

Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died. 

In sin forever lost from life ; this act 

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 430 

Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms. 

And fix far deeper in his head their stings 


Than temporal death shall bruise the Victor's heel, 

Or theirs whom he redeems — a death like sleep, 

A gentle wafting to immortal life. 

Nor after resurrection shall he stay 

Longer on Earth than certain times to appear 

To his disciples — men who in his life 

Still followed him ; to them shall leave in charge 

To teach all nations what of him they learned 440 

And his salvation, them who shall believe 

Baptizing in the profluent stream — the sign 

Of washing them from guilt of sin to life 

Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall, 

For death like that which the Redeemer died. 

All nations they shall teach ; for from that day 

Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins 

Salvation shall be preached, but to the sons 

Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world ; 

So in his seed all nations shall be blest. 45° 

Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend 

With victory, triumphing through the air 

Over his foes and thine ; there shall surprise 

The Serpent, Prince of Air, and drag in chains 

Through all his realm, and there confounded leave; 

Then enter into glory, and resume 

His seat at God's right hand, exalted high 

Above all names in Heaven ; and thence shall come, 

When this World's dissolution shall be ripe, 

With glory and power, to judge both quick and dead — 460 

To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward 

His faithful, and receive them into bliss, 

Whether in Heaven or Earth ; for then the Earth 

Shall be all Paradise, far happier place 

Than this of Eden, and far happier days." 

So spake the Archangel Michael; then paused. 
As at the World's great period ; and our Sire, 
Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied : — 

"O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense. 
That all this good of evil shall produce, 470 

And evil turn to good — more wonderful 
Than that which by creation first brought forth 
Light out of darkness ! Full of doubt I stand. 
Whether I should repent me now of sin 
By me done and occasioned, or rejoice 
Much more that nmch more good thereof shall spring — 
To God more glory, more good-will to men 


From God — and over wrath grace shall abound. 

But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven 

Must reascend, what will betide the few, 480 

His faithful. left among the unfaithful herd, 

The enemies of truth. Who then shall guide 

His people, who defend } Will they not deal 

Worse with his followers than with him they dealt.'*" 

" Be sure they will," said the Angel ; " but from Heaven 
He to his own a Comforter will send, 
The promise of the Father, who shall dwell, 
His Spirit, within them, and the law of faith 
Working through love upon their hearts shall write, 
To guide them in all truth, and also arm 490 

With spiritual armor, able to resist 
Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts — 
What man can do against them not afraid. 
Though to the death ; against such cruelties 
With inward consolations recompensed, 
And oft supported so as shall amaze 
Their proudest persecutors. For the Spirit, 
Poured first on his Apostles, whom he sends 
To evangelize the nations, then on all 

Baptized, shall them with wondrous gifts endue 500 

To speak all tongues, and do all miracles. 
As did their Lord before them. Thus they win 
Great numbers of each nation to receive 
With joy the tidings brought from Heaven : at length. 
Their ministry performed, and race well run, 
Their doctrine and their story written left. 
They die ; but in their room, as they forewarn. 
Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolv^es. 
Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven 
To their own vile advantages shall turn sio 

Of lucre and ambition, and the truth 
With superstitions and traditions taint. 
Left only in those written records pure. 
Though not but by the Spirit understood. 
Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names, 
Places, and titles, and with these to join 
Secular power, though feigning still to act 
By spiritual ; to themselves appropriating 
The Spirit of God, promised alike and given 
To all believers; and, from that pretence, 520 

Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force 
On every conscience — laws which none shall find 


Left them enrolled, or what the Spirit within 

Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then 

But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind 

His consort, Liberty? what but unbuild 

His living temples, built by faith to stand — ' 

Their own faith, not another's.? for, on Earth, 

Who against faith and conscience can be heard 

Infallible.? Yet many will presume: 530 

Whence heavy persecution shall arise 

On all who in the worship persevere 

Of Spirit and Truth ; the rest, far greater part, 

Will deem in outward rites and specious forms 

Religion satisfied ; Truth shall retire 

Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of Faith 

Rarely be found. So shall the World go on, 

To good malignant, to bad men benign, 

Under her own weight groaning, till the day 

Appear of respiration to the just 540 

And vengeance to the wicked, at return 

Of Him so lately promised to thy aid. 

The Woman's Seed— obscurely then foretold. 

Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord ; 

Last in the clouds from Heaven to be revealed 

In glory of the Father, to dissolve 

Satan with his perverted World ; then raise 

From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined, 

New Heavens, new Earth, Ages of endless date 

Founded in righteousness and peace and love. 550 

To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss." 

He ended ; and thus Adam last replied : — 
" How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest. 
Measured this transient World, the race of Time, 
Till Time stand fixed ! Beyond is all abyss- 
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. 
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart, 
Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill 
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain ; 
Beyond which was my folly to aspire. 56-^ 

Henceforth I learn that to obey is best, 
And love with fear the only God, to walk 
As in his presence, ever to observe 
His providence, and on him sole depend. 
Merciful over all his works, with good 
Still overcoming evil, and by small 
Accomplishing great things — by things deemed weak 


Subverting worldly-strong, and worldly-wise 

By simply meek; that suffering for Truth's sake 

Is fortitude to highest victory, 570 

And to the faithful death the gate of life — 

Taught this by his example whum I now 

Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest." 

To whorn thus also the Angel last replied : — 
" This having learned, thou hast attained the sum 
Of wisdom ; hope no higher, though all the stars 
Thou knew'st by name, and all the ethereal powers. 
All secrets of the Deep, all Nature's works. 
Or works of God in heaven, air, earth, or sea. 
And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst, 5S0 

And all the rule, one empire. Only add 
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable ; add faith ; 
Add virtue, patience, temperance ; add love, 
By name to come called Charity, the soul 
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth 
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess 
A Paradise within thee, happier far. 
Let us descend now, therefore, from this top 
Of speculation ; for the hour precise 

Exacts our parting hence; and, see! the guards. 590 

By me encamped on yonder hill, expect 
Their motion, at whose front a flaming sword, 
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round. 
We may no longer stay. Go, waken Eve ; 
Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed. 
Portending good, and all her spirits composed 
To meek submission : thou, at season fit. 
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard — 
Chiefly what may concern her faith to know. 
The great deliverance by her seed to come 600 

(For by the Woman's Seed) on all mankind— 
That ye may live, which will be many days, 
Both in one faith unanimous; though sad 
With cause for evils past, yet much more cheered 
With meditation on the happy end." 

He ended, and they both descend the hill. 
Descended, Adam to the bower where Eve 
Lay sleeping ran before, but found her waked ; 
And thus with words not sad she him received : — 

"Whence thou return'st and whither went'st I know^ ; 610 
For God is also in sleep, and dreams advise. 
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good 


Presaging, since, with sorrow and heart's distress 

Wearied, I fell asleep. But now lead on ; 

In me is no delay; with thee to go 

Is to stay here ; without thee here to stay 

Is to go hence unwilling ; thou to me 

Art all things under Heaven, all places thou, 

Who for my wilful crime art banished hence. 

This further consolation yet secure 620 

I carry hence : though all by me is lost, 

Such favor I unworthy am voutsafed. 

By me the Promised Seed shall all restore." 

So spake our mother Eve ; and Adam heard 
Well pleased, but answered not; for now too nigh 
The Archangel stood, and from the other hill 
To their fixed station, all in bright array. 
The Cherubim descended, on the ground 
Gliding meteorous, as evening mist 

Risen from a river o'er the marish glides, 630 

And gathers ground fast at the laborer's heel 
Homeward returning. High in front advanced, 
The brandished sword of God before them blazed. 
Fierce as a comet ; which with torrid heat, 
And vapor as the Libyan air adust. 
Began to parch that temperate clime ; whereat 
In either hand the hastening Angel caught 
Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate 
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast 
To the subjected plain — then disappeared. 640 

They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld 
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat. 
Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate 
With dreadful faces thronged and fierx' arms. 
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon ; 
The world was all before them, where to choose 
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide. 
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, 
Through Eden took their solitary way. 





Paradise Lost differs in its opening from its ancient models, fne 
Iliad, the Odyssey, and the ^neid, in having a double invocat./on. 
The first is to the Genius of Sacred Song, elsewhere called Urjania, 
who is the inspirer of the rhythmical language in versified portions 
of the Holy Scriptures, who appears in Heaven as the sister and 
companion of eternal Wisdom, and who gives to the speech ^of the 
blessed that prompt eloquence and musical sweetness by whiclb it is 
characterized. She has to do with expression. 

The Holy Spirit, who is next invoked for enlightenment and 
instruction, has to do with substance rather than with form. To 
Him the poet pray:, for knowledge and ability to set forth the 
truth. This implies an intention to hold fancy in check and to 
subordinate everything to the correct presentation of great spiritual 
facts. They make a radical mistake who say that certain things in 
the poem may be poetry but are not theology. 

I. Disobedience. This is the principal word of the subject. It 
prepares us for a certain sternness of sentiment, especially in the 
words of the offended Deity. Justice rather than love is the key- 
note ; and the poet's main purpose is to show the righteousness of 
God's dealings. 

1-5. The subject is not fully stated until the end of the fifth 
line. Landor's idea that the fourth and fifth lines might be ad- 
vantageously omitted is erroneous ; they are needed to mark out 
exactly the scope of the poem. Milton carries us forward to the 
period of the restored earth and the establishment of the saved in 
it (xii. 463-465). 

6. Sea-ei means "separate," "retired," "apart." The loneli- 
ness of the desert retreat is contrasted with the publicity of Mount 
Zion, its kingly palace, its architectural beauty, and its tides of 

2 52 PARADISE LOST [Rook I. 

human life. The Heavenly INIuse visits her votaries not only in 
remote solitudes but nlso in crowded cities. 

8. TJuxt shepherd. Moses had been literally a shepherd in the 
district about Horeb and Sinai {Exod. iii. i) ; he is called a shep- 
herd metaphorically as the leader of the Israelites out of Fgypt 
{Isa. Ixiii, ii) ; he is so designated here in allusion to his poetical 
character. The peculiar fitness in this early mention of Moses 
appears from the fact that to him chiefly Milton is indebted for the 
knowledge of " man's first disobedience." 

lo. Zion hill. The names of David and Isaiah, true poets, are 
associated with this spot, which may well, therefore, be regarded 

s a haunt of the Muses. 

, 13. Adventroiis. "Now of the Heaven which is above the 
heuvens no earthly poet has sung, or ever will sing, in a worthy 
mai iner." — Plato's Phadrtis. The task, impracticable to the Pagan 
worl d, Milton was able to undertake with the aid of Divine reve- 

14- '• No middle flight. He celebrates the very throne of God, 
" higljt above all height." Since there is no summit beyond that 
to wlVich he aspires, the -word " middle " is used in its exact sense 
aiKa not in the vague sense of " mediocre " or *' mean." 
/ 16. Unatteiiipted. What does this mean ? The War in Heaven, 
tiie Fall of Lucifer, the Creation of the World, and the Fall of 
Man had been .subjects frequently treated by poets of almost every 
Christian nation. But in the grandeur of his scope and method 
Milton had no predecessor or model. His is a universal poem, not 
bounded by the ordinary limits of space and time. 

18. Before all temples. Whatever mountain or s]jring may be 
the haunt of the tuneful Nine or the Heavenly Muse, the Holy 
Spirit does not favor any particular spot of earth, but dwells every- 
where in pious hearts. " Temple " here does not mean a building 
erected by human hands, l)ut any precinct, whether hill, or grove, or 
spring hallowed by the presence of a deity. 

19. Instruct me. This invocation is not a mere form. It re- 
sults from a conviction deeply felt and long before expressed 
{Reason of Church Government, Introd. to Book II., 1641) that in 
the work which he owed to the world he must rely not upon 
"dame Memory and her siren daughters," but upon "devout 
prayer to that eternal Spirit who can enrich M'ith all utterance and 
knowledge and send out his seraphim with the hallowed fire oi his 
altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases." 

21. Dove-like. "The comparison ' dove-like,' to illustrate the 

Book 1.| NOTES 253 

meaning of 'brooding,' occurs in the Talmiidists or Jewish com- 
mentators on the Bible. There may also be a recollection of Luke 
iii. 22." — Massoii. "Brooded" is said to be a better translation 
of the Hebrew word in Gen. i. 2, rendered " moved." 

Abyss. Chaos, out of a portion of which our universe was 
formed . 

24. To the highfh, as much as the proposed subject demands or 
will bear. 

25, 26. "As to the Paradise Lost, it happens that there is — 
whether there ought to be or not — a pure golden moral, distinctly 
announced, separately contemplated, and the very weightiest ever 
uttered by man or realized by fable. It is a moral rather for the 
drama of a world than for a human poem." — (De Quincey, in the 
Dpi U7n- Eater.) 


Next to the announcement of the subject and the invocation of 
the Muse, each of the great epics of antiquity has a question, the 
answer to which names at once the chief hostile agent and states 
the motives of the struggles and sufferings to be told. The answer 
in detail is the whole epic narrative. The introduction of this 
question, then, is essential to the rhetorical completeness of the 

27. Heaven hides nothiitg, etc. See i Cor. ii. 10 ; Ps. cxxxix. 
7. 8. 

34-49. THE STATUS 

This is another essential part of the epic, which contains in the 
most general terms a statement of the motives that animate the 
chief actor in his malignant course. 

34. Serpent. The first Scriptural designation of the devil as 
well as Milton's first, and perhaps the most general term that could 
have been chosen to denote the power of evil. Rev. xii. g. 

In the Iliad, Apollo is the offended divinity ; in the Odyssey, 
Neptune ; in the jfEneid, Juno ; and in Paradise Lost, Satan, who, 
as we shall see, is identified with Apollo. This means that the 
Iliad 2>.\\A Paradise Lost de.scribe the operation of the same malig- 
nant principle. 

35. Envy and revenge. His hostility was against both man 
and God {Rev. xii. 12, 13). 

36. What time. Commonly regarded as a Latinism, but found 


by Professor Cook in the Ormulum, and believed by liini to be of 
" Northern origin." 

41. Ajuhitious. This word summarizes the motives of Satan. 
He is the origin and inspiration of all evil, positive and negative, 
but the mainspring of his deeds and thoughts is the purpose to 
make himself supreme. He is selfish, but it is not so much posses- 
sion as rule that he covets. 

46. Ruin and combustion. These are general terms, fitting 
their place, for what are further on specified as " sulphurous hail " 
(171) and " red lightning " (175) ; ruin ( ruina, a precipitate 
fall) referring to the former, and combustion to the latter. The 
conception originates in Rev. viii. 7. 


There was a time at the beginning of this world when there was 
no evil in the universe, and all things were' pronounced "very 
good " i^Gen. i. 31). During this period the devils were lying in 
a state of inertness, destruction, or death upon the burning lake 
{Rev. viii. 9). Their condition was that of the great dragon when 
he was bound in the bottomless pit (Rev. xx. 1-3). The opening 
scene of the poem shows the place of punishment and the effect of 
torment upon the Satanic nature, making it more stubborn and 
vindictive. Prometheus bound in adamantine chains on Mount 
Caucasus affords a parallel from classic fable, and the defiant speech- 
es of the Titan have a recognized resemblance to those of Satan. 

50. A^ine times, etc. This period is made up of the triumphal 
sablmth before Creation, the six days, the sabbath after, and the 
next day, on which the commandment to abstain from the tree of 
Knowledge was given to Adam. While there was no law, there 
could be no transgression ; "but when the commandment came 
sin revived " {Rom. vii. 9). The doings on earth have instan- 
taneous effect in Hell. 

ilready the poet introduces us to a series of events in the career 
i Apollo, with whom St. John identifies Satan {Rev. ix. 11). The 
myth of the nine days' and nights' labor of Latona {Atjtu), Death) at 
the birth of her children, Apollo and Artemis, is here satisfied. 
When every other place had refused to receive Latona, Delos, 
which had been floating about in the sea, was moored by Jupiter 
for this purpose. In like manner Hell had been prepared for the 
apostates, but would have fled affrighted had not its foundation, at 
their fall, been fixed too fast and deep (vi. 867-870). 


Book 1.] NOTES 255 

53. Confounded though immortal. The confusion is opposed 
to the immortality and answers to death in spiritual creatures. 

57. Witnessed. His baleful eyes showed his affliction and dis- 
may {Luke xvi. 23). 

63. Darkness visible Job (x. 22) describes the realm of death 
as " a land of darkness as darkness itself, without any order, and 
u<here the light is as darkness." Gregory the Great, commenting 
on this passage in Job, says: "Though there the fire gives no 
light for comfort, yet that it may torment the more, it does give 
light for a purpose. For the damned shall see by the flame light- 
ing them all their followers along with themselves in torment for 
the love of whom they transgressed, that . . . the destruction of 
those very persons may also afflict them for the nicrease of their 
own condemnation." 

66. Hope never comes, etc. Every one is reminded here of the 
inscription over the gate of Dante's Hell, " All hope abandon, ye 
who enter here ;" but the thought is more fully contained in Eccl. 
ix. 4. 

73. As far removed, etc, Landor thinks that this " is not very 
far for creatures who could have measured all that and a much 
greater distance by a single act of the will." No matter ; that is 
the distance, on the authority of Ps. ciii. 11, 12, between blessed 
ness and despair. 

The remarks of Bishop Newton on these lines have misled many. 
He says : "It is observable that Homer makes the seat of Hell as 
far beneath the deepest pit of earth as Heaven is above the earth. 
Virgil makes it twice as far, and Milton thrice as far, as if the 
three great poets had stretched their utmost genius and vied with 
each other in extending his idea of Hell fartliest." A little reflec- 
tion will satisfy any one that such petty artifice by Homer's succes- 
sors to outrival their master would be worthy only of contempt, 
and that Virgil and Milton would have been the last in the world 
to be guilty of such irreverence. On the contrary, they took pains 
to conform to his ideas while varying from his manner of expressing 
them. Each of the poets recognizes below the Empyrean three re- 
gions, one under the other and of equal depth : first, the Earth ; 
second, Hades ; and third, Tartarus. Homer, speaking of the lo- 
cation of Tartarus, teaches that it extends " as far below Hades as 
the distance from heaven to earth "(//. viii. 16). Virgil, measuring 
from the surface of the earth, and of course including Hades, says : 
" Then Tartarus itself sinks deep down and extends towards the 
shades twice as far as is the prospect upward to the ethereal throne 


of heaven " {/En. vi. 577-579). Milton confirms both with the 
statement that the whole distance from Heaven to Hell is three 
times as far as from Heaven to Earth. 

" Hell appears to be situated beyond the limits of this universe. 
. . . Nor are reasons wanting for this locality ; for as the place of 
the damned is tlie same as that prepared for the devil and his an- 
gels {Matt. XXV. 41) in punishment of their apostasy, which oc- 
curred before the Fall of Man, it does not seem probable that Hell 
should have been prepared within the limits of this world, in the 
bowels of the earth on which the curse had not yet passed. This 
is said to have been the opinion of Chrysostom, as likewise of 
Luther and some later divines" (Milton : Chris. Doct., xxxiii). 

7S. Weltering, rolling, especially in blood, in allusion to Rev. 
viii. 8, 9. 

So. Palestine here has the narrower meaning of Philistia, in one 
of the cities of which (Ekron) Beelzebub was specially worshipped 
(2 Kings i. 3). 

81. Beelzebub, the god of Reason, is distinguished from the 
other devils by his superior wisdom. He is also the lunar divinity 
and connected in the Bible with divination and sorcery (2 Kings i, 
2, et seq.; Matt. xii. 24-27). Many of his characteristics, as 
drawn by Milton, are taken from the Homeric Ulysses, who was a 
favorite of the goddess Athene and had his home in Ithaca, an 
island of the Ionian Sea. The name Beelzebub, meaning " God 
of Flies," suggests the mastery of reason over the fancies that tiit 
through the mind (Compare note on v. 102), and also the mental 
torment caused by an unruly fancy as figured by the ilistnis-(\.x'\\t.w 
lo, from whom the Ionian Sea was named. 

82. Satan (Ilebr. Adversary). The name reveals Self- will as 
the core of this leading spirit's character. Ambition is his peculiar 
quality, though he is not specialized like the rest. They are lim- 
ited each to his particular vice, but Satan is present in all and may 
do the work of Moloch, Belial, and the others as occasion calls. In 
his appropriate activity he resembles Apollo and the gods and men 
whom that deity inspires. He is the solar divinity and bears the 
name Lucifer in common with the King of Babylon. He enters 
the haughty spirit of this ruler and many others, and then their acts 
become his own. 

The dialogue that follows has many points of likeness to the one 
between Prometheus (surnamed \\vp<l»6poi;, Fire-bringer) and lo in 
the drama of /Eschylus. The speeches of Beelzebub contain a 
weak protest of Reason against the rash ventures of Ambition. 


Book I.] NOTES 257 

S4. Hoiv changed ! lo complains of the terrible distortion of 
her person and mind {Prom.Vinct. 673). 

86. Didst outshine myriads. Being the lun?ir divinity, he out- 
shone the rest as the moon does the stars. Professor Cook aptly 
quotes Odys. vi. 107, 108 ; " High over all she [Artemis] rears her 
head and brows, and easily may she be known — but all are fair." 

93, 94. He with his thunder, etc. See note on iv. 928. Com- 
pare Prom. Vinct. 1080-1085, 992-997, 

102. Durst dislike, etc. The implication is that even thei*- 
feelings were not free. In an important sense this was true, but it 
does not involve the idea of tyranny in Heaven {Matt. xxii. 37). 

105. What though, etc. The Cambridge edition on this point 
is important : " The second edition has at the end of 108 a colon ; 
of 109 a note of interrogation. . . . The line [109] is an interroga- 
tion, and Satan asks, ' To retain one's hate, one's courage, etc., is 
not that to be still unsubdued : in what else but this lies the test of 
not being overcome ?' " 

T16. Fate literally means " that which is spoken." When God 
declares his will, that is fate. Since God cannot change or repent, 
it is always true that what he wills is fate (vii. 173). Satan con- 
siders fate as something above the will of God, limiting him as 
Jupiter was supposed to be limited {Prom. Vinct. 1053). 

126. Vaunting, etc., like the King of Assyria {Isa. x. 8-14). 
This throws its light back upon what precedes. Satan did not 
shake God's throne, or call out Heaven's utmost power, or gain 
foresight from experience, or even maintain an inflexible will. Yet 
these are not gross lies ; to a narrow vision they might even seem 
like truths. 

127. Compeer. The authority for treating Beelzebub as equal 
with Satan comes from Matt. xii. 26, 27, where the names of the 
two are used synonymously. 

128. O Prince, etc. The King of Babylon, bearing in common 
with Satan the surname Lucifer, was like him in ambition and cov- 
eted the title of " king of kings " {Dan. ii. 37). 

129. Seraphim. See note on 1. 157. 

131. Endangered. Nimrod, the first king of Babylon {Gen. x. 
10), in building the Tower of Babel, tried to usurp the authority of 
God on earth, and would have succeeded but for miraculous inter- 
ference from Heaven {Gen. xi. 6). 

134. / see and rue, etc. The prudence of Beelzebub causes 
him, like his worshippers of Ekron, to cry out the sooner in the 
presence of calamities (i Sam, v. 10-12), 


138. Gods is a title which belongs to them of right. "The 
name of god is not unfrequently ascribed by the will and concession 
of God the Father even to angels and to men " {Christ. Doct. v). 
In the Bible the evil spirits are sometimes spoken of as " strange 

144. Believe almighty. James ii. 19. Probably the highest at- 
tainment of infernal wisdom. 

147. Strongly to suffer, etc. Ulysses, "the much - enduring," 
and Atlas, " the sufferer," this spirit's prototypes, also suffer and 
are silent. * 

149. Mightier service, etc. Like delinquent debtors, the evil 
spirits are cast into prison to toil as slaves until the last mite is 
paid {Lzike xii. 58, 59). 

151. Heart of Hell, etc. The lake of|Jire in the centre of 
Hell was the special place of torment which the devils feared when 
about to be cast out by Jesus {Matt. viii. 29). They also feared 
the " gloomy Deep " {Luke viii. 31). 

153. What can it then avail? Nonentity is better than exist- 
ence under eternal torment {Matt, xxvi. 24). 

156. Speedy words. Not a meaningless echo of Homer's 
" winged words." The wisdom and faith of Beelzebub must not 
be long entertained, or Satan's whole infernal scheme will fail. 

157. Cherub. "Some of the rabbins tell us that the cherubim 
are a set of angels who know most, and the seraphim a set of an- 
gels who love most." — Addison. This statement, though not very 
precise, will serve to suggest the interior distinction between cher- 
ubim and seraphim. The exterior, or physical, distinction corre- 
sponds to this ; spirits of light and heat being seraphim and spirits 
of air and water cherubim. Beelzebub is eminently a cherub, be- 
cause of his wisdom and also because of his association with the 
moon, which shines only by reflected light and rules the night, the 
air, and the sea. Satan, on the other hand, is the leader of the 
seraphim because of his fiery ambition and also because of his asso- 
ciation with the sun. 

170. His ministers. " Bentley points out a contradiction be- 
tween Satan's apparent assumption on the one hand, that the good 
angels pursued the bad to the verge of Hell (confirmed by Moloch, 
Book ii. 78. 79) and the statement by Raphael on the other hand, 
that all the holy angels stood silent witnesses of the almighty acts 
of the Messiah in vanquishing, single-handed, his foes (vi. 882, 883). 
Bentley cites the testimony of Chaos, that Heaven ' poured forth 
by millions her victorious bands pursuing.' " — Sprague. Newton 

Book I.] NOTES 259 

and Sprague have furnished explanations of the apparent inconsist- 
ency. The fact is, however, that Milton is only introducing one of 
those paradoxes so frequently found in the Scriptures. In Matt. 
xiii. 49, 50, it is said that at the judgment the angels shall "sever 
the wicked from among the just and shall cast them into the fur- 
nace of fire." In 2 Tkess. i. 7, 8, Christ himself is designated as 
the one who on the same occasion in flaming fire will take ven- 
geance on them that know not God. The true sense is that the an- 
gels were active as instruments through the whole struggle ; their 
clear faith enabled them to see Messiah as the real victor who gave 
his servants strength to overcome, while the devils with dimmer 
spiritual vision, though they could not fail to recognize his pres- 
ence, saw prominently the immediate instruments of their defeat. 
Raphael attributes all success to the Messiah ; Satan and his asso- 
ciates divide it between him and his followers. During the Sav- 
iour's incarnation the disciples were at first unable to cast out 
devils, but afterwards succeeded through the name of Christ — evi- 
dence that the power lay not with them but with their Lord {Luke 
ix. 38-42). 

172. O'erblown, etc. Compare Isa. xxx. 33. 

180. Yon dreary plain, etc. The plain of Dura, where Babylon 
stood, is, in its desolation, typical of Hell, just as the ambitious 
King of Babylon is sometimes put for Satan. After the Divine 
curse had fallen upon .he land, it was prophetically described as a 
desolation, a dry land, a wilderness, and a land wherein no man 
dwelleth. It also became, like this plain of Hell, "a dwelling- 
place for dragons," " the habitation of devils," etc {Jer. li. 37, 43; 
Rev. xviii. 2). 

191. If not. Bentley suggests, "if none"; Sprague says, 
"supply 'any.' " 


The present scene, based on Rev. xx. 3, 7, shows the loosing of 
Satan, the great dragon, from the chains of his inertness. 

195. Sparkling blazed. Of the leviathan it is said, " His eyes 
are like the eyelids of the morning" {Job xli. 18). Spenser, de- 
scribing the old dragon, says {Faerie Qtieene, 1. xi. 14) : 

"His blazing eyes, like two bright shining shields. 
Did burn with wrath, and sparkled living fire." 

T97. As %vho7n the fables, etc. The list of gigantic beings to 
whom Satan is compared contains one Titan, Uranid, or heaven- 


born (Briareus), one giant or earth-born (Typhon), and one sea- 
beast (Leviathan). When Satan flies, he is the largest creature in 
the air, like the eagle ; when he walks, the largest on the land, like 
the behemoth ; when he floats, the largest in the sea, like the levia- 
than. These creatures are described in succession in the Book of 
Job (xxxix.-xli.) ; and Milton, without much doubt, means Job's 
eagle (the feathers of which are its hundred hands) and behe- 
moth, when he names Briareus and Typhon. 

203. ///;;/ haply, etc. This means that the mysterious monster 
of which sailors speak is probably the leviathan {Ps. civ. 25, 26). 
Nothing is said or hinted about the whale, as commentators usually 

205. As seamen tell. The stories of Olaus Magnus are hardly of 
sufficient standing for even an allusion in this poem. But the ex- 
perience of St. Paul i^Acts xxvii. 20 et seq.) and the remarkably 
similar adventures of Ulysses in apparently the same seas {Odys. v. 
2?)6 et seq.), together with suggestions mjob xli., are perhaps enough 
to account for this passage. 

206. Scaly. Critics generally agree that whales have no scales, 
and Milton does not say that they have, but the leviathan, which he 
is describing, has {Job xli. 15). The poet follows Isaiah (xxvii. i) 
in comparing Satan to this sea-beast, who is "king over all the 
children of pride " {Job xli. 34). 

210. Chained. " We are not told how he loosed himself." — 
Keightley. Compare " ychained in sleep" in the Hymn on the 
Nativity, 156. The chains are stupor and inertia, and it is hardly 
worth while to look for the pieces after they are broken. 

214. That zoith, etc. For similar statements of the Divine pur- 
pose see Exod. ix. 16 ; xiv. 4 ; Roju. ix. 15-18. 

221. Pool. The lake shrinks to a "pool" as the ocean to a 
stream compared with the bulk of the leviathan {Job xli. 30-32). 

227. Felt unusual weight. Many have recognized the close 
resemblance of this to Faerie Queene I. ix. 18, where the air is 
" nigh too feeble " to bear the weight of the flying dragon. \\\Joh 
iii. 8, R. V.,and xli. 25, the rousing of the leviathan means dan- 

230. Hue. The color of the burning land is red, like flame or 
blood, or like the hills of cinders and ashes about the principal cone 
of Etna {Mn. iii. 571-574). Compare Aceldama, the "field of 
blood," purchased by Judas Iscariot {Acts i. 19). 

231. Transports a hill, etc. Rev. viii. 8 \ Jer. li. 25. 

232. Pelorus. The name itself {TrsXvjpog, monstrous, prodigious) 


Book I.] NOTES 261 

is an epithet of the Cyclops, and the whole region about Pelorus and 
Etna was the haunt of this monster race, 

235. Sublimed, used in its etymological sense, "raised aloft." 

239. Scaped, directly from the Italian scappare, does not need 
the apostrophe. 

252, Possessor. Judas went "to his own place" {Acts i. 25). 
But the name Hector ("Eicrwp) also means "possessor," and Sa- 
tan's fortunes resemble in many respects those of the warlike 

254. The mind is its oivn place, etc. These lines are always 
quoted as peculiarly Miltonic rather than diabolic in their senti- 
ment ; but no doctrine is taught more consistently in the poem than 
that disobedience to God causes misery, and that no stoicism can 
expel from the wicked the inner feeling of wretchedness and de- 
spair. The Stoic doctrine, that the wise man is king of circum- 
stances and perfect in himself, is shown by Christ {Par, Reg. iv. 
300-308) to be the offspring of philosophic pride and delusion. 

256. All but less, etc. This is interpreted as meaning " nearly 
equal to." But does Satan think that he " should be," even in the 
least degree, inferior to the Almighty ? Does he not mean that in 
Hell he retains all that he had in Heaven, except that his inferior- 
ity to the Thunderer has been thrown off? In Hell he is first, not 

261. And in my choice, etc. The notorious William Lauder, 
bent on fixing upon Milton the stigma of plagiarism, turned these 
lines into Latin about 1750 and falsely represented them as taken 
from the Adamiis Exul {1601) of Grotius. Lauder's Latin is as 
follows : 

" Nam, me judice, 
Regnare dignum est ambitu, etsi in Tartaro ; 
Alto praeesse Tartaro siquidem juvat, 
Coelis quam in ipsis servi obire munia." 

It is important to be explicit here, for though the forgeries were 
long since exposed, recent editions of Milton still repeat the error 
of Bishop Newton in accepting the Latin as a genuine product of 
\ Grotius. 

272. 77ius ans7aered. Beelzebub, with all his prudence, is less 
wise than Gamaliel before the Sanhedrim {Acts v. 34 et seq.). The 
latter asserted the folly of fighting against God, and the weakness 
of any cause not supported by truth. 

274. That voice. The voice of boasting gained adherents to 


Theudas and Judas, with whose story Gamaliel pointed his speech. 
Satan proposes to use the same means to rouse his partisans. 

276. Edge (Lat. acies), the forefront. Here perished the ad- 
venturers just referred to. Hector, whose name is synonymous 
with " boaster " and " blusterer," fought among the foremost of the 
Trojans (//, vi. 445). 

282. Highth, an accusative of extent of space. 


No sooner is Satan released than he goes forth " to deceive the 
nations " and summon them to battle {^Rev. xx. 8). His strategy 
for the purpose consists in boasting, and equals him in this respect 
with those typical braggarts. Hector and the giant Polyphemus 
{iro\vg-\-<p))fi7], much-speaking). 

284. Ethereal temper. How Hector and Satan came to have 
divinely wrought armor may be understood from the note on vi. 

285. Behind him cast. Hector carried his shield on his back 
when, fearing defeat, he left the field of conflict to solicit the 
prayers of the women in Troy (//. vi. 116- 118), The boaster ap- 
pears as a coward. 

287. Like the moon. The shield of Achilles, and hence its 
double possessed by Hector, was like the moon in splendor (//. 
xix. 373 et seq.). 

289. " The Tuscan artist is Galileo, who first employed the tele- 
scope for astronomical purposes, about 1609 ; Fesole is a height close 
to Florence ; Valdarno is the valley of the Arno, in which Florence 
lies." — Masson. Satan is enlarged to the natural eye by his boast- 
ful spirit. 

292. His spear, etc. Hector, whose spear was eleven cubits in 
length, also used it to lean upon (//. viii. 493-496). Homer com- 
pares the spear of Polyphemus to the mast of a ship {Odys. ix. 
322), Virgil likens it to a pine (^«. iii. 659), while Milton unites 
both ideas, and at the same time enlarges the conception of the 
spear as before he did that of the shield. The Greek word Id^v 
has the two meanings of " timber for a ship," and also " a spear." 

294. Ammiral, a flag-ship. Compare this with ii. 636 and 1043, 
and with Rev. viii. 9. 

296. Marie denotes fertility. Polyphemus lived by Mount Etna, 
at the foot of which the soil is very rich. Among our references to 
this boastful monster it may be well to observe the significant fact 

Book I.] NOTES 263 

that Ulysses escaped from him by pretending to be Nobody {Ovtiq) 
{Odys. ix. 366). 

301. Angel forms. A reminiscence, perhaps, of the other Cy- 
clops who inhabited the shore with Polyphemus, huge in stature 
though less than he. 

303. Vallombrosa {vallis + umbrosd), shady valley. An earlier 
name of the whole district in which the Etruscans settled was Um- 
bria, the land of shade, of which Vallombrosa is part. Milton 
visited this valley, eighteen miles from Florence, in September, 

304. Sedge. The comparison of the apostates to fallen leaves 
and to sedge tossed by waves and winds gives a hint of the fickle- 
ness of such as distrust God and confide in a boaster {James i. 6), 

305. Orion. The mighty Boeotian hunter at his death became a 
constellation, whose setting in November was attended with storms. 
He appears in the heavens as a giant armed with a sword and a club 
(^«, iii. 517). — Clar. Press. 

307. Busiris, a mythical king of Egypt who sacrificed strangers, 
and was slain by Hercules for his cruelty. The individual name 
is used in a general sense suggestive of the sufferings endured by 
the Israelites as " strangers in Egypt." 

Chivalry. Keightley and others say that the word is here used 
in the sense of "cavalry"; but the ordinary sense is better, for 
Pharaoh's host was onj of picked men {Exod. xiv. 7 ; xv. 4). 

314. Deep . . . resounded. The voice of Polyphemus was simi- 
larly resonant and powerful {yEn. iii. 672-674 ; Odys. ix. 395-400). 

318. Have ye chosen, etc. Freedom is the principal boast of an 
ambitious spirit, and Satan's call contains the taunt, Are you any 
V longer free or not ? Compare 2 Pet. ii. 18, ig. 

327. T7-ead us doxvn ... trans fix . The punishment inflicted by 
the Messiah upon his enemies {Rev. xix. 15, 21), also the mocking 
and laughter of Wisdom at those who reject her counsel {Prov. i. 
26, 27). The same lesson was taught where Minerva transfixed 
Ajax Oileus {^n. i. 42-45). 

332. As when men, etc. The fickle multitudes respond prompt- 
ly to the voice of the boaster. 

338. As tvhen the potent rod, etc. Exod. x. 10-15. The plague 
of locusts came in response to an extraordinary outburst of inso- 
lence on the part of Pharaoh. The locusts of Rev. ix. 3 represent 
the curses that follow contemners of the Divine Law. Like the 
mythical Nemesis, the curse comes particularly upon boasters. 

341. Warping. I can see no reason for inventing a new defini- 


tion for this word, as Keightley does, to meet the present case. 
The east wind blowing unevenly, stronger in the middle than on 
the edges, against the side of the cloud of locusts, makes it bend 
or warp towards the east. 

345. Cope. The covering, or roof, of Hell is a hollow hemi- 
sphere, like our sky. 

348. Sultan. In Dunbar's Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins 
Mahoun, or Mohammed, is represented as directing the motions 
of the evil spirits. He is usually understood to be the "false 
prophet '' of the Apocalypse. The Sultan is the chief magistrate 
of Mohammedan countries. 

351. The populous North, etc. The barbarian nations of the 
North, supposed to be referred to in prophecy under the names of 
Gog and Magog, form the armies of the great Enemy of God's 
people {Rev. xx. 8 ; Ezek. xxxviii. and xxxix.). The comparison 
of their incursions to a flood comes from Rev. xvii. 15. 

355. Beneath Gibraltar. In 429 A. D. the Vandals passed from 
Spain over into Africa, where the desert sands were a shore to stop 
the progress of the human flood. 

358. Godlike shapes, etc. Like the Cyclopes, gathered at the call 
of Polyphemus {^n. iii. 678-681). 

365. N'ew names. The Scriptures speak of the idols worshipped 
by the heathen nations as "devils." St. Augustine says: "The 
only true religion has alone been able to manifest that the gods 
of the nations are most impure demons who desire to be thought 
gods " {De Civ. Dei, vii. 33). Milton bridges the chasm between 
these and our modern notions of angels and devils. 


Milton, following the example of Homer and Virgil in their cata- 
logues of ships and forces, makes a register of the chief devils. The 
seven who are distinguished by a separate description represent the 
"Seven Deadly Sins" so much celebrated in English literature — 
prominently in Langknd, Chaucer, Gower, Dunbar, and Spenser. 
Compare Matt. xii. 45. 

376. Muse. Both Homer and Virgil have special invocations to 
the Muse at the beginning of their catalogues of forces. 

378. Emperor. Of the four designations of Satan within about 
forty lines General axvCi ^w/^r^r apparently contain allusions to the 
Roman power, Sultan and Covimander to the Mohammedan. 

392. .Eirst Moloch (Heb. Molech, king). He is the spirit of the 

Book I.] 

NOTES 265 

North wind and personifies Mttrder among the deadly sins. As 
the only divinity among those mentioned whose worship required 
human sacrifices, he becomes the war-god of the infernal hosts and 
is identical with the Mars of Olympus. His impetuous and reck- 
less temper would be reason enough for his priority here and m the 
subsequent council, but he also inspired the first recorded sinful act 
on earth after the Fall, the murder of Abel. 

393. Parents' tears. " In peace, children bury their parents ; in 
M-ar, parents bury their children." 

394 Drums and timbrels, instruments of martial music. 

395'. Passed through fre, etc. Whatever the rite in which he 
was worshipped may have been, it symbolized passing through the 
heat of battle to the cold of death. 

396-399. The proper names in this sentence are suggestive of 
war and strife ; Rabbath (Contentious), the capital of Ammon, is 
especially memorable for its sieges and destruction. 

403. Opprobrious hill, the Mount of Corruption spoken of in 2 
Kings xxiii. 13. more recently known as the Mount of Offence. 
The^vengeful Moloch made the hill "opprobrious" ; the impure 
Chemosh made it " scandalous" ; the proud Astoreth made it " of- 
fensive" (/'r^t^. viii. 13). 

404. Tophet, "the valley of slaughter" in/?;', vii. 32. Acel- 
dama was part of it. 

405. Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom, is a deep narrow glen a 
mile and a half in length to the southwest of Jerusalem. It derived 
its evil associations from the horrid rites of idolatry there practised 
in Solomon's time and later, and from its subsequent use as a pub- 
lic burying-ground. 

406. Chemos personifies Lust among the deadly sins. Of the 
classical divinities he has much in common with Bacchus, whom he 
resembles in dwelling amidst vineyards, in having his worshippers 
wear upon their heads crowns like the vine -leaf and ivy crowns of 
Bacchanalians, and in being honored with the same tumultuous 
and "lustful orgies." Possibly a tradition about the origin of the 
Moabites may have aided in giving character to the people and 
their worship {Gen. xix. 30-37)- 

407-411. The proper names mark out pretty definitely the extent 
of Moab— the first set from north to south, the second from east to 
west. They are representative names and are all associated with 
the worship of Chemosh in prophetic denunciations {Jer. xlviii. 


409. Scons realm. Sihon, king of the Amorites, had conquered 


the northern portion of Moab, before the Israelites had reached 
that neighborhood on the way to Canaan. 

411, Asphaltic pool {lactis Asphaltltiis). The Dead Sea with its 
memorials of Sodom fitly closes this list of places where the god of 
Lust is worshipped. 

417. Lust hard by hate. 2 Satn. xiii. 15. 

419. Bordering flood, etc. The Euphrates is so called because 
it formed the eastern boundary of the Promised Land {Gen. xv. 18), 
as the river of Egypt or Sihor (probably the present Wady-el- Arish) 
formed the western boundary. 

422. Baalim a7td Ashtaroth. These are both plurals, or " gen- 
eral names," and together make up what Scriptural writers call 
" the host of heaven " (2 Kings xxiii. 5, etc.). They are spirits of 
direct and reflected light, of fixed stars and planets, the former be- 
ing regarded as masculine, the latter as feminine (viii. 148-150). 

429. Dilated or condensed, etc. This description applies specifi- 
cally to those spirits who are included under the title, "the host of 
heaven " ; they follow the fortunes of those celestial lights with 
which they are associated. As a mere suggestion, I venture to ^ay 
that comets are dilatations and eclipses obscurations, and according 
to the old astrologic faith stellar influence may be either auspicious 
or malign {Jtidg. v. 20). 

435. Bestial gods. The constellations into which the stars have 
been grouped are generally bounded by the outline of some an- 

437. In troop, in company without any order, like the stars in 
the sky. 

438. Astoreth is the Venus of the Romans and personifies Pride 
among the deadly sins. Her Greek name Aphrodite (from d(pp6g, 
foam) is strikingly suggestive of vanity. Her symbol is the planet 

Phoenicians (^oivt^, purple, or crimson). The countiy and the 
people have taken their name from the discovery and earliest use of 
the color which has become the symbol and synonym of pomp and 
display. The two chief cities of Phoenicia, Tyre and Sidon, are 
denounced in prophecy for their pride {Ezek. xxviii. 17). The 
daughters of Zion fall under the same condemnation {Isa. iii. 

439. Queen of Heave ft, etc.,y<?r. xliv. 17, 25. Venus is sur- 
named Urania, on account of her derivation from Uranus. She is 
the mistress of Adonis (see Thammuz) and the mother of Cupid 
(compare the notion of cupidity found in Dagon). The pride of 

Book I.] 

NOTES 267 

Sidonian Jezebel, the envy of Ahab, his covetousness and theft 
form a connected series of sins (i Kings xvi. 31 ; xxi. 2 4, i6> 

444 Whose heart though large, etc. With all his wisdom (which 
foster; humility) Solomon yielded to pride (i Kings iv. 29-34)- 

446 Thammuz came next. After pride naturally come. Envy 
here personified by Thammuz. His symbol is snow, which melts 
away as if in tears and sorrow, under the heat that brings joy and 
hfe ; nature. Thammuz is identified by St. Jerome with Adorns 
slain by a boar in Lebanon. Lucian tells of the red soil tingmg 
the waters of the river Adonis. , u .^j 

448 Lament his fate. This absurd superstition was celebrated 
about the time of the summer solstice, during the month Thammuz, 
when the river Adonis was swollen with the melting snow of Leb- 
anon (White Mountain). All the conditions of true sorrow are 
reversed and the groundlessness of any real grief appears m the 
use of the word "supposed." In like manner Spenser s Envy 
{Faerie Qtieene, I. iv. 30) : 

"Inwardly chawed his owne mawe 
At neibors welth, that made him ever sad ; 

For death it was when any good he saw ; 
And wept, that cause of weeping none he had ; 
But when he heard of harme, he wexed wondrous glad. 

452. Wounded, reminding us of the secret pain ever cherished by 
Envy (i Kings xxi. 4). 

455 ■ Ezehiel sa7v. Referring to the vision of " women weeping 
for Thammuz " and of the " image of Jealousy '* {Ezek. viii.). _ The 
word here translated Jealousy is often rendered Envy, and the image 
referred to is thought to be that of Thammuz. 

457 Next came one, etc. A natural sequel to envy is Covetous- 
ness which grasps for itself the good things belonging rightfully to 
others This vice is represented by a god of the Philistines, who 
in the very earliest times are on record for their disregard of the 
rights of others {Gen. xxi. 25 : xxvi. 14-21). 

462. Dagon {dag, a fish). The fish was worshipped as a sym- 
bol of fertility, or of the gain accruing from maritime traffic (£;/r)'^- 
Brit vi 761). Dagon resembles Triton, a sea-monster, of fish-hke 
form', with a head human except the beast-like teeth, who was noted 
for his thefts, and had his head cut off on account of them. The 
sea, which receives all the rivers and yet is not full, is a suitable 
type of covetousness. 

463. His temple . . . in Azotus. Azotus, or Ashdod, means 


Theft. Covetousness is the inspiration to theft ; theft is a sacri- 
fice to covetousness. 

467. Him followed Rimjuon. When covetousness has been satis- 
fied Gluttony begins (see parable Luke xii. 15-19). Rimmon is men- 
tioned but once in the Scriptures (2 Kings v. 18), but his nature is 
evident from several facts : First, the name signifies poviegranate, 
a delicious fruit ; and to exalt it into an object of worship is in a 
very literal sense to make a god of the belly. Secondly, the myth 
of Ceres and Proserpina makes the pomegranate a representative of 
the fruits of the earth, and Rimmon seems to have been worshipped 
as a god of agriculture with meat {i. e. , fruit) and drink offerings, 
very much as Ceres was (2 Kings xvi. 15). Thirdly, Damascus, 
the seat of Rimmon's worship, lies in a plain of wonderful fer- 
tility ; but in the days of the disgraceful alliance between Ahaz 
and Syria, Isaiah foretold a time of great scarcity to the devotees 
of Rimmon in both countries ( /jvz. xvii. 4-6, 10, 11). A famine 
upon the worshippers of the god of agriculture would be the fittest 
kind of retribution. 

471. Leper . . . king. See 2 Kings v. and xvi. 

472. Sottish implies stupidity, like that which comes from over- 
burdening the system with food and drink. 

478. Osiris, Isis, Ortis. These divinities appear to have exer- 
cised special influence over agriculture in the land of the Nile, 
and are, therefore, of the same class as Rimmon. Their brutish 
forms suggest that their worshippers have degenerated through 
gluttony into Bestiality {Exod. xvi. 3). 

481. Disguised. Greek tradition represents the gods as having 
fled from the giants and hidden in Egypt under the form of beasts. 

490. Belial catne last. Belial, whose name means "worthless," 
is the spirit of Idleness, the last of the seven deadly sins. There is 
only one "fleshlier incubus," the unfeeling Asmadai, the spirit of 
stolid Indolence {Par. Reg. ii. 150-152). See note on ii. 109. 

494. In temples, etc. When men appointed to instruct and rule 
in the church neglect their duties, evils creep in and corrupt. The 
lack of restraint by proper authority led to the violent acts of Eli's 
sons (i Sam. ii. 12 et seq.). 

497. In courts, etc. Civil as well as ecclesiastical rulers may be 
negligent ; kings and judges may seek their own ease instead of the 
establishment of justice and morality. Riot, injury, and outrage 
then prevail unchecked, chiefly in cities where wealth and luxury 
remove the necessity for toil. Labor itself is a restraint, but idle- 
ness engenders the vices of the sons of Belial. 

Book I.] NOTES 269 

502. Floivn, perhaps "set in motion," like a sluggish stream. 
The usual explanation is " inflated," " flushed." 

503. Sodom. Idleness is called the sin of Sodom and her daugh- 
ters {Ezek. xvi. 49). 

504. Gibeah. It is significant that the hospitality was shown by 
a laboring man {Jiidg. xix. 16), and that the outrage occurred at a 
time when "there was no king in Israel," but "every man did 
that which was right in his own eyes." 

509. Gods, yet confessed later, etc. The function of godhead is 
creative or causative, and is needed to account for the existence 
of the world ; but the myth-writers represent Heaven and Earth 
(Uranus and Gaea) as existing before the gods, and producing 
them instead of being produced by them {^Acts xvii. 24 et seq^. 

510. Titan, etc. The Titans have the air as their element, 
and, therefore, I take the word here to mean the primeval water 
(Oceanus) surrounding the earth in the condition of vapor (^Job 
xxxviii. 9). Primeval darkness associated with Saturn (Kpoj^of, 
Time) coexisted with this cloud and continued into the first night 
after the cloud had passed. The darkness was afterwards dispos- 
sessed by Jove, the god of the sky, or day {^Gen, i. 1-5). These 
deities were worshipped at Athens, and impressed their nature 
upon the character of the people i^Acts xvii. 16-32). 

515. Ida, a mountain in Crete (Candia) where Jupiter was born 
and reared. 

516. Olympus, a mountain in Thessaly covered with perpetual 
snow, and fabled to be the residence of the gods. 

Middle air, probably the stratum which the clouds frequent. 
Satan is " prince of the power of the air" {Eph. ii. 2). The Cam- 
bridge ed. has an interesting discussion of this point. 

517. Delphian cliff. Delphi, with its celebrated oracle of Apollo, 
was on a steep declivity of Parnassus. 

518. Dodona, in Epirus, was the seat of a very ancient oracle of 

519-520. Doric land, Greece ; Adria, the sea between Greece 
and Italy ; Hesperian, Italian, with the significance of "the sun- 
set land." 


The present scene, like some of the preceding, has its origin in 
the Apocalypse. The demon army of the ninth chapter has for its 
commander Apollyon, the Apollo or sun-god of the Greeks, whom 
we have already seen identified with Milton's Satan, or Lucifer. 


In its material aspect the scene consists of a climax whose steps 
are the degrees of light in a sunrise from the dimmest dawn to 
the full-orbed day. First, there is a faint and uncertain prophecy 
(524); then a more decided promise of day (537); then the rosy 
flush of morning about the horizon (546) ; then the brightness of 
the moment before sunrise (564) ; then the sun itself "shorn of 
his beams " in the impressive simile of line 594 ; lastly, the blaze 
of light at the close of the scene (665). The idea is carried over 
into the comparisons of the next book (1-5 ; 488-493), and indeed 
is never lost sight of throughout the poem. 

But, besides, Apollo was the god of fame, poetry, eloquence, 
music, medicine, number, romance, and augury ; all of which, as 
will appear, enter into this remarkable scene. 

524. Glifupse of joy. Job xli. 22. 

534. Azazel \s the name of the scape - goat appointed to bear 
away the sins of God's people into the wilderness {Lev. xvi. 10, 21, 
22). In Hell he represents Fame, the power that commemorates 
and displays what Heaven would have forgotten, the triumphs of 
falsehood "and wrong. He is tall, indicating his haughtiness ; and 
his standard shows like a meteor, suggesting how short-lived is the 
glory that he confers. His essence is but the breath that conveys 
his stories from mouth to mouth, and hence the sounding trumpets 
and clarions and the banner " streaming to the wind." He is the 
^olus (Changeable), the god of the winds, among the infernal 

542. Shout that tore, etc. Fame invades the realm of Chaos and 
Night when the report of evil deeds survives their doers. 

545. Ten thousand banners, etc. A speedy response comes 
from all quarters to the example set by Fame. The " orient colors " 
suggest the poetry, oratory, and rhetoric devoted to the service of 
this power. 

550. Phalanx. This allusion to the Spartans and their array in 
battle has not escaped the notice of commentators. But I am not 
aware that any one has found a reason for the allusion in the name 
Lacedasmon (AdK(K)off + ^a»/iwv, deity, or demon of the pit), or 
Spartan ((T7r£(pw,tosow ; STrajorot, the Sown-men, those who claimed 
descent from the Dragon's teeth sowed by Cadmus). 

Dorian, "grave; as the Lydian was soft and the Phrygian 
sprightly. The Spartans were of Dorian descent." — Sp-ague. 
Grave notes are suited to the dignity of Fame. 

556. A^or wanting power, etc. Paean {Ylaiav) was the physician 
of the gods, and his name has come to mean a triumphal song. 

Book I.] NOTES 11\ 

" If any one, having sadness in his fresh-grieving mind, suffers, 
being pained in heart. Song, a Servant of the Muses, may hymn 
the illustrious deeds of former men and the blessed gods v^^ho pos- 
sess Olympus, and soon he is eased of his uncomfortable thoughts 
and does not remember any of his cares" (Hesiod, Theog. 98-103). 
Compare i Sam. xvi. 14-23; //. v. 899-906. 

560-563. Compare the array, the temper, and the condition of 
the Greek army on the plain of Troy marching to the first of 
Homer's battles (//. ii. end and iii. beginning). 

571. Their mwibcr. St. John, after giving the sum of Apollyon's 
army, adds, " And I heard the number of them," as though it had 
been matter of amazed report {Rev. ix. 16). 

572. His heart distends, etc. Pride was the sin for which David 
was punished, when, at Satan's instigation, he numbered Israel 
(i Chron. xxi.). 

575. That small infantry, etc. A comparison in Homer's de- 
scription of the embattled hosts on the plain of Troy (//. iii. 3). 

Professor Jebb {Homer, p. 16) sums up the following passage : 
"A large range of literature is laid under contribution — the clas- 
sical poets, the Arthurian cycle, the Italian romances of chivalry, t'he 
French legends of Charlemagne. The lost angels are measured 
against the Giants, the Greek heroes, the Knights of the Round 
Table, the champions of the Cross or the Crescent, and the pala- 
dins slain at Roncesva^les. Every name is a literary reminiscence." 
The conclusion is drawn that Paradise Lost is a " literary epic " as 
distinguished from the natural " Homeric epic." This may be, 
though I cannot help thinking Professor Jebb unfortunate in the 
selection of his illustration. Romance is consciously and pur- 
posely introduced as an element in the thought, like fame, mu- 
sic, and number. May not the dragon's teeth sowed by Cadmus 
have some important relation to the letters he brought into 
Greece ? 

577, Phlegra (^Xsyw, to burn), the earlier name of the peninsula 
of Pallene in Thrace, where the giants fought against the gods 
(//. ii. 781-785). 

Heroic race. The heroic age of Hesiod appears to have termi- 
nated with the immediate descendants of the Greeks who returned 
from Troy. 

580. Uthers son. King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, flour- 
ished about the beginning of the sixth century. He and his 
Knights of the Round Table are represented in romance as per- 
forming the most impossible feats of strength and daring. 


581. Armoric. Armorica was the Celtic, or western, part of 
what is now France. 

582. Baptized o?- infidel. " Baptized," usually explained as 
equivalent to Christian, has rather the meaning of "nominally 
Christian." Milton's Christianity had no room for the old chivalry 
with its affairs of honor and deeds of violence. 

583. Aspramont, in Limburg, Netherlands ; Alontalban, on the 
borders of Languedoc ; Tj-ebisond, a city of Cappadocia — all famous 
in romance for jousting. 

585. Biserta, a town of Tunis, the ancient Utica. 

587. Fonterabbia. Milton prefers the romantic to the true ac- 
count of the affair at Roncesvalles, near Fonterabbia, in 778 : " On 
Charlemagne's return from the conquest of Spain the rear-guard 
was assailed and cut off by the mountaineers in the pass of Ronces- 
valles ; Roland, their leader, was slain, and the overthrow of the 
Franks, transformed and wrought up in every possible way, became 
one of the great themes of song and romance. Charlemagne lived 
until 814" {Encyc. Brit. v. 403). 

591. Stood like a tower. The conception of the sky as filled 
with towers in which the stars sit as deities is quite classical. The 
towered crown of Cybele, mother of the gods, embodies the idea in 
mythology. This comparison, therefore, prepares the way for the 
next one. 

597. Disastrous tzvilight, etc. In Isa. viii. 21, 22, unnatural 
darkness, suffering, and famine are said to drive the people to 
curse their king, and consequently to render his throne insecure. 
There is a tradition through Toland that the world " had like to be 
eternally deprived of this treasure by the ignorance or malice of the 
licenser who, among other frivolous exceptions, would needs sup- 
press the whole poem for imaginary treason " in these words. 

600. But his face, etc. As if to remind us of where we are and 
to prepare us for a coming change of scene, the poet recurs to feat- 
ures suggestive again of Polyphemus and his monstrous brethren 
about Mount Etna. Not far from yEtna with its giant race is 
Cumae with its oracle of Apollo. Satan presently undertakes the 
function of Apollo as the god of augury. 

605. Remorse and passion. These words imply nothing so divine 
as pity, but only the guilty feeling that comes from the conscious- 
ness of being the cause of others' misery {Luke xvi. 27-31). 

613. Oaks, pines. The Cyclopes, standing about their angry 
chief, are by Virgil compared to "lofty oaks or cone-bearing 
cypresses" {yEn. iii. 680), The comparison affords Milton an ad- 

Book I.] NOTES 273 

mirable means of transition, for trees are also associated with 
augury. The oracle of Apollo at Cumse is established in the neigh- 
borhood of a dense forest of pine and oak {yEn. vi, 180). The 
' ' singed top " implies loss of intellectual povA'er and prophetic 
insight (Compare Rev. viii. 7 ; Jude 12). 

616. Doubled. " To double upon " is, in military phrase, to en- 
close between two fires ; the wings move so as to look upon their 
leader from opposite directions — they double upon him. The 
figure formed by the troops is semicircular, for the ranks are bent 
at every point, " from wing to wing." 

620. Tears. St. Augustine says that the weakness of the gods 
" is confessed in the story of the Cuman Apollo, who is said to 
have wept four days during the war with the Achaeans and King 
Aristonicus. . . . Shortly afterwards it was reported that King 
Aristonicus was defeated and made a prisoner — a defeat certainly 
opposed to the will of Apollo ; and this he indicated by even shed- 
ding tears from his marble image " (De Civ. Dei iii. 11). See Hymn 
on the Nativity, 195. Compare also the behavior of Ahab (i 
Kings xxi. 18-29) ^"d of Agamemnon (//. ix. 14-16) under the 
shadow of adverse fate. 

622. O myriads, etc. The depression of Agamemnon after being 
deceived and defeated and the confidence of Hector in opposition 
to the advice of the prudent Polydamus, the seer (//. xviii. 285-309) 
are united in this speech. 

633. Emptied Heaven. All the prophets but one were on the 
side of Ahab (i Kings xxii. 6-8). 

641. Strength concealed. Satan before (11. 92-94) placed it in the 
thunder {Hab. iii. 4). Agamemnon saw the folly of fighting against 
Jove, whose might is superior to all other might (//, ix. 18-25). 

645. Our better part, etc. Ahab tried by disguising himself to 
escape the doom foretold by Micaiah (i Kings xxii. 30-37). The 
Greeks having found Jove to be against them in battle, resorted to 
spies and wiles, so that from this fact the name AoXwreta has been 
given to the tenth book of the Uiad. 

650. Space may produce, etc. Satan is a fatalist and does not 
credit God with the creation of anything either spiritual or ma- 

651. Fame. Job xxviii. 22. There was a similar expectation 
of Christ, the second Adam, prior to his advent, and in this expec- 
tation the pagan world shared. 

653. A generation, etc. At the entrance to the sanctuary of 
Apollo at Cumse there was a representation of the death of Andro- 


geus (Man of the Earth) slain by fire-breathing bulls. This natu- 
rally suggests the fall of man through the agency of the devils. 

663. To confirm, etc. The Trojans noisily applauded Hector 
(//. xviii. 310) and the prophets Ahab (i Kings xxii. 12) in their 
defiance of divine auguries. 

665. Cherubim are cloud spirits and the scene which they help 
with their lord to form is like that formed by masses of cloud 
lighted along their edges by the glory of the sun. They are cheru- 
bim (knowing ones) rather than seraphim, probably because the 
poet designed them to sustain the relation of the false prophets 
that encouraged Ahab in his impiety. At all events we have here 
the double climax of the passage, where Satan (Apollo) touches his 
greatest natural brilliancy as the sun-god and his highest intellect- 
ual elevation as an augur forecasting the future. 


The scene widens from Cumae, first south to Vesuvius, then 
north into the Campania, until in the erection of the infernal Capi- 
tol it reaches Rome. This city was believed by the Reformers to 
be the Babylon and Egypt of the Apocalypse and the seat of Satan 
or Antichrist on earth. Milton fully accepts the idea, and devel- 
ops it here and in other parts of the poem. This spiritual Baby- 
lon has three leading characteristics exploited by the poet — its de- 
votion to Wealth, to Art, and to the business of Govermnent. 

670. There stood a hill, etc. This corresponds to Vesuvius, a 
short distance from Cumee. Milton went as far south as Naples in 

674, The work of sulphur. The combination of sulphur with 
iron forms iron pyrites, or " fools' gold " — a substance entirely dif- 
ferent from " gold tried in the fire " {James v. 3). 

678. Cast a rampart. " Money is a defence " {Eccl. vii. 12). 

Mammon (Syriac, Tiches) is the spirit of Worldliness [Faerie 
Queene II. vii. 8) as manifested in the acquisition of material com- 
forts and luxuries to the exclusion of spiritual good. See note on 
ii. 228. 

682. Pavement, etc. Rev. xxi. 21. " Trodden " added to 
"gold" indicates its purity, and distinguishes it widely from that 
hard and brittle counterfeit which is " the work of sulphur " But 
it indicates also that in Heaven material good is lightly esteemed, 
as the mere vantage - ground from which to reach for spiritual 

Book I.] NOTES 275 

694. Babel . . . Memphian. Mulciber, or Vulcan, the archi- 
tect of Pandemonium, had also, under the name of Serapis (?) a 
temple at Memphis, and under the name of Belus, or Baal, at 
Babylon. The temple of Belus is ascribed to Semiramis ; that of 
Ptah (Serapis?) to Menes. " Memphian " suggests the pyramids, 
and properly enough, for there is an intimate relationship between 
Vulcan, the god of fire, and the pyramids (see note on ii. 1013). 

700. Nigh on the plain, etc. The founders symbolize the manu- 
facturing and trading classes in a social state. The plain of Cam- 
pania well illustrates the processes of industry and the operations of 
trade. The natural advantages of this garden of Italy, its genial 
climate, its fertile soil rich in various productions, and its excellent 
harbors, are a favorite theme with the Latin writers, and elicit from 
them many an eloquent tribute of admiration. 

702. Sluiced from the lake. Lake Avernus, in Campania, on 
account of its noxious exhalations and gloomy surroundings, was 
fabled by the ancients to be the inlet to the infernal regions. In 
the course of time M. Vipsanius Agrippa converted the lake into a 
harbor by opening a communication with the sea and the Lucrine 
basin. It was thus made to serve the commercial prosperity of the 
district. Compare /^a;^;7V QiieeneW. vii. 17. 

704. Scunifued the bullion dross. Faerie Queene II. vii. 36. A 
few sentences of Milton's prose will throw light upon the meaning. 
He speaks of the " alchemy that the pope uses to extract heaps of 
gold and silver out of the drossy bullion of the people's sins ;" and 
in close proximity : " Believe it, sir, right truly may it be said that 
Antichrist is Mammon's son. ... If the splendor of gold and sil- 
ver begin to lord it once again in the Church of England, we shall 
see Antichrist shortly wallow here, though his chief kennel be at 
Rome " {Ref. in Eng. ii. ). This is the language not of a religious 
partisan but of a stern, impartial censor of morals. 

705. Within the ground, like Mulciber's house of Ambition 
{^Faerie Queene II. vii. 43). 

708. As in an organ, etc. Possibly to suggest the atmosphere 
of flattery in which the wealthy and powerful live (i Kings xxii. 


711. Like an exhalation. The articles formed by Hephaestus 
(Mulciber) were frequently endowed with automatism. The fleet- 
ing nature of riches is involved in the comparison {Prov. xxiii. 5). 

712. Symphonies, etc. Babylon was well provided with music 
{Rev. xviii. 22). 

713. Built like a temple^ etc. With one exception every part of 


this description applies to the Roman Pantheon, erected doubtless 
of the wealth won from commerce and the industries of the Cam- 
pania. The Pantheon is a temple, of a round shape, encircled with 
two rows oi pilasters, magnificent in its architrave, its cornice, its 
frieze, its statuary, or "bossy sculptures," its roof covered with 
plates of gilded bronze. 

714. Doric pillars. The Pantheon has Corinthian pillars, but 
the Doric order is more consistent (see notes on 1. 550) and also 
more suitable for a council-hall. Though Milton used the works 
of the ancients as models, yet he dared to criticise them. 

720. Belus or Serapis, Babylonian and Egyptian for Vulcan, the 
god of fire and art. The image on the plain of Dura seems to 
have been his, both from the character of the king, his worshipper, 
and from the punishment appointed for those who refused to 
worship {Dan. iv. 30 ; iii. 6). 

721. Egypt with Assyria strove. The rivalry is described in 
Ezek. xxxi. 

723. Stood fixed, when the whole of her stately highth was above 
ground. The entrance and the interior of the structure now show 
its likeness to the Pantheon in another series of particulars. The 
extraordinary air of majesty still impresses all who behold the inte- 
rior of the Pantheon. Its doors are of bronze. By far the largest 
structure of ancient times and having an external diameter of 188 
feet, it was celebrated for its ample spaces, its wonderful pavement, 
and its vaulted roof \medi with silver, representing the firmament, 
but beyond all for its being lighted with magical effect directly 
from the sky through a circular opening of twenty-six feet in 
diameter in the centre of the roof. 

729. Naphtha and asphaltus. Products of the land of Babylon 
{^Isa. xxxiv. 9). 

730. Hasty multitude. The devotees of ambition are always 
eager and hurried. 

733. In Heaven, etc. The temple of the Lord on Mount Mo- 
riah, built after the pattern revealed from above (i Chron. xxviii. 
11-13) and the "towered structures" of Jerusalem furnish suffi- 
cient reasons for declaring art to have originated in Heaven. 

739. Greece . . . Ausonian land. These lands were supreme 
in art. Ausonia is the name especially of that part of Italy where 
art had its highest development. 

740. MuLCiBER {mtilceo, to soften), Vulcan, or Hephaestus, the 
god of fire who became the god of Art, because fire is the great 
agent in reducing and working the metals. Masson and others 

Book I.] NOTES 277 

certainly err in identifying this spirit with Mammon. The two are 
clearly distinguished in Faerie Qiieene II. vii. 

741. They fabled, etc. //. i. 591-593. Baal, the Oriental Vul- 
can, in the contest at Mount Carmel between his priests and the 
prophet of the true God, to determine who had power over fire, 
fell " from morning even until noon" and from noon " until the 
time of the offering of the evening sacrifice." There are indica- 
tions that this fall occurred on "a summer's day," when, on account 
of the heat, the false god's power should have been greatest. Vul- 
can's lameness finds its parallel in the limpingof Baal's worshippers 
(I Kings xviii. 21-29). 

746. Lemnos, the ^geaji isle, ^gean is derived from aiyig, or 
a'i^, a rushing storm or hurricane. Baal's discomfiture was com- 
plete when in the very midst of the dry season, after a drought of 
three and a half years, the power of God was shown in sending " a 
great rain " upon the parched earth (i Kings xviii. 45), 

747. Rout. In allusion to the noises of industrial operations 
{Faerie Queene II. vii. 44). 

748. Nor aught availed, etc. This recalls the fate of King 
Uzziah, who, though very active in fortifying his kingdom, and 
especially the holy city, was punished with leprosy and expulsion 
from the sanctuary for an act of. daring impiety (2 Chron. xxvi. 

751. Industrious crew. Landor censures Milton for using these 
words in a passion, but the epithet " industrious " properly charac- 
terizes the devotees of art, 

755. Pandemonium. "Some think Milton the inventor of this 
word formed on the analogy of Pantheon." — Masson. The Pan- 
theon of the Pagan is the Pandemonium of the Christian {Rev. 
xviii. 2). The government of the spiritual Babylon is a monarchy 
supported by a peerage of the worst. 

759. They anon. It is uncertain whether the pronoun refers to 
the heralds or those who were summoned. Even if the latter, it 
does not follow that Hell was deserted except in and about Pande- 
monium. Johnson and Addison speak of the "multitude and 
rabble " of spirits shrinking themselves into a small compass and of 
the "vulgar" among them contracting their forms, as though all 
the fallen spirits were admitted to the council. This is certainly a 
mistake (compare ii. 515-520). 

763. Like a covered field, etc. Spenser describes such a field 
{Faerie Queene I. v. 5), and also furnishes the hint for the whole 
parenthesis. Pandemonium is a place where the Christian faith 


may be defended for amusement and under hostile conditions, and 
where to win is as fatal as to lose. Spenser speaks at length of 
such contests with paynims (pagans) under the patronage of " proud 
Lucifera," by whom he means the Apocalyptic Babylon. 

768. As bees, etc. Organization under a leader, especially in the 
work of government, is symbolized by bees (//. ii. 87-97 ; yEn. i. 
430. 437)- Milton himself has several remarkable utterances bear- 
ing on this point : " In your introduction to your discourse of the 
Pope's supremacy, you say that some divines in the Council of 
Trent made use of the government that is said to be amongst bees 
to prove the Pope's supremacy. . . . ' The bees,' say you, ' are a 
state, and so natural philosophers call them ; they have a king, but 
a harmless one ; he is a leader or captain, rather than a king ; he 
never beats, nor pulls, nor kills his subject bees ' " {P^v. Pop. Aug. 
Def. ii.). 

773. Straw-built citadel. In shape the Pantheon closely resem- 
bles the ordinary straw-built hive whose inflammability suggests the 
insecurity of material wealth and glory {Dan. iv. 31; Pev. xvii. i6). 

774. Expatiate and confer, etc. The capital of a kingdom is 
the place from which laws issue and to which their operation is 

777. Behold a wonder! It was the sight at which St. John 
" wondered with great admiration " {Pev. xvii. 6). The matter of 
wonder was that the spirits submitted to the reduction. In the 
Bible, Homer, and Plato the bees are symbolical of nations. An- 
gels, too, represent nations: "It appears also probable that there 
are certain angels appointed to preside over nations, kingdoms, and 
particular districts" (Christ. Doct. ix. ; Dan. x. and xii.). The 
idea of a tutelary divinity expressing the genius of a nation is very 
prominent in the classical writings. The spirits summoned by the 
heralds are such tutelaiy divinities, and their treatment here sets 
forth the treatment of nations on earth by some predominant 
power. The authority assumed by Rome is the diminishing wand 
which reduces heroic forms to pygmies, the national gods to trickish 
elves, and bold independencies to degraded apes {Pev. xvii. 18). 

781, Indian mount. Mount Ophir, formerly located in the pen- 
insula of Farther India, is the easternmost point reached by the 
ships of Solomon (i Kings x. 1 1, 22). Among the treasures and 
curiosities brought to the king by this eastern trade were "apes." 
These were probably the Pygmean race referred to ; old supersti- 
tions recognized a close affinity between apes and devils ; and the 
degrading image well suits the poet's purpose. 

Book I.J NOTES 2%g 

Faery elves. The belief in fairies arose in Europe during the 
Middle Ages, near the time when the popes began to assume secu- 
lar as well as spiritual lordship over Christendom. Germany in the 
person of Henry IV., France in the person of Philip Augustus, and 
England in the person of John felt the power of the diminishing 

784. The moon, etc. Referring to the sorceries of the spiritual 
Babylon {De Civ. Dei x. 16 ; Rev. xviii. 23). 

787. Jocund . . . joy and fear. The princes in pursuit of their 
pleasures and ambitions did not feel their humiliation. The peas- 
ants were glad at the limitation of the secular power, but dreaded 
the worse forms of priestly tyranny. 

795. Conclave. These spirits, like the College of Cardinals 
convened to elect a pope who is to set up and pull down whatever 
potentate he pleases, represent organized hostility to human as well 
as divine law, and seem to be treated by St.Jude as a distinct class 
of devils opposed to the Archangel Michael, the spirit of law and 
justice. The real as well as the mystical Babylon undertook the 
humiliation of rulers {Dan. iii. 1-7). For the number, ' ' a thousand," 
see Dan. v. i. 


The second book of the Iliad opens with a council in which the 
subject of debate — to abandon or continue war — much resembles 
the question here. 

1-4. Commentators have noticed the likeness of this to Ovid's 
description of the palace of the Sun i^jSIet. ii. i) and to Spenser's of 
the house of Pride {.Faerie Qtieene I. iv. 8). The Sun's palace, the 
house of Pride, and Pandemonium are properly identical with each 
other through Satan's identity with Apollo. Antetype of the Pan- 
theon, the spiritual centre of Rome and symbol of her sway over 
the nations, the infernal capitol has its throne of power adorned 
with the royal colors, "the gold, the precious stones, and the 
pearls" with which the great city, the seat of Satan, is decked 
{Rev. xviii. 16), 

2. Ormus . . . Ind. "The former was noted for its diamond 
mart, the latter for its diamond mines. An eastern coronation 
ceremony was the sprinkling of the monarch with gold-dust and 
seed-pearl." — Clar. Press. 

7. Uplifted beyond hope. Unexpectedly uplifted, for hope has 
no place in Hell. 

II. Powers and dominions. Only the dignitaries are addressed. 
The "warriors" of i. 316 are not present in the assembly. 

16. More gloi-iotis. Color of truth is given to this assertion by 
the admiration felt for those who exhibit fortitude in suffering. 

18. Just right and fixed laws. In Heaven these two coincide. 
Each rules by the free consent of the rest in that wherein he excels. 
Satan was leader in Heaven because of his superior endowments, 
the only reason for leadership which is founded in absolute justice. 
In Hell he finds the firmest title to his throne in the fact that it is 
unenviable and to be shunned. 

29. Your bulwark, as Hector of the Trojans (//. xxiv. 729, 730). 

37. More than can be, etc. The argument is that envy and am- 
bition, to which there is constant inducement, may raise new broils 

Book II.] NOTES 281 

in Heaven, hence new secessions and expulsions, until there shall 
not be enough left for successful defence. Had we (the defeated) 
won we should have been exposed to those rebellions and revolts 
which must now vex our enemy and divide his forces. But we 
shall be united by misfortune, while the disintegration of the heav- 
enly kingdom goes on. 

43. Moloch. See note on i. 392. 

44. Strongest. After Achilles, Ajax Telamon was the strongest 
warrior in the Grecian army (//. ii. 768). See note on 1. 94. 

46-50, Mars threatens to avenge the death of his son, even if 
he himself falls under Jove's thunderbolt (//. xv. 11 5-1 18). This 
is the spirit of professional warriors. 

52, 53. Those who needy weaklings ; %vhen they need, when they 
are unarmed. 

5$. Oppi'obriotis den of shame. Professional murderers are sen- 
sitive about their honor. Moloch works himself into a fury over 
his disgrace ; Mars, wounded by Diomed, shows the same temper 
(//. v. 872 et seq.). 

60-69. These vigorous lines are based on Rev. ix. 17, 18. 
Even the thrice - repeated mention of the weapons proposed by 
Moloch is there suggested. The " almighty eiigine " is apparently 
Divine law, and " infernal thtmder,'" scorn. 

73. If the sleepy drench, etc. If not more dead than alive ; if 
not spiritless. 

75. In our proper motion, etc. The murderous Jews claimed to 
be Abraham's children and entitled by virtue of their birth to a 
place in the kingdom of God. Jesus rebuked the presumption 
(John viii. 39, 40). 

81, 82. The ascent is easy. The wicked husbandmen expected 
to gain the inheritance for themselves by killing the "heir," but 
the "event" to them was destruction {Luke xx. 14, 16). The 
Jews expected to secure their hierarchy by killing Christ {John 
xi. 50). 

90. Vassals. Bentley suggests " vessels," as in Roju. ix. 22 — an 
absurdity. The word is sufficiently explained by the parable of 
the husbandmen who rebelled against being slaves or underlings. 

94. What doubt lue {Quid dubitamns), why hesitate we ? Com- 
mentators have seen in these lines some resemblance to a speech of 
Ajax (//. XV. 511-513), the Mars of the Grecian forces (//. vii. 208). 
Ajax resembles Moloch in his superior size and strength, in his mad 
impetuosity, in his boast of warlike experience (//. xiii. 811), in his 
gain of new strength from despair (//. xv, 733-741), and in his 


appeal to the sense of shame and the love of glory among his com- 
panions (//. XV, 66i). 

I02. l^o alarm, etc. This savage and truculent spirit is one of 
those who at Rome give counsel against the kingdom of God on 
earth. Kis influence may be seen in the persecutions of Christians 
under the pagan emperors, in the barbarous cruelties of the Inqui- 
sition, in the wars and massacres instigated from the Vatican. 
Milton, at least, had no doubt as to the identity of the great city in 
which *' was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all 
that were slain upon the earth " {Rev. xviii. 24). 

106, Frozujiing, like Shakespeare's " grim - visaged war" with 
" his wrinkled front." 

107. Dangerous to less than gods. Diomed, having wounded 
Venus and turned upon Apollo, was warned by the latter not to 
make himself the equal of a god ; for " the deathless race of gods is 
not as those who walk the earth." Disdaining himself to engage a 
mortal, Apollo called upon Mars, " the slayer of men," to drive 
Diomed off the field, as though that were a more equal match. 
Mars, notwithstanding his physical strength, has a mean reputation 
among the gods. 

109. Belial (see note on i. 490) is a pseudo Mercury, resembling 
that god in oratorical skill, in dishonest sophistry, in giving peace- 
ful counsels, and in warning against the wrath of Jove. He has 
some of the characteristics of Juno, guardian of indolent Argos 
(a epyog), whose obstructive policy against leaders and rulers was ex- 
ercised sometimes with the aid of ^olus {yEn. i. 64 et seq.) and 
sometimes with the help of Venus and Sleep (//. xiv. 188, et seq.; 
y^n. iv. 92 et seq.). Deceived by this false Mercury in a treach- 
erous dream (//. ii. 6 et seq.) and weakened by his tutelary divin- 
ity, Agamemnon, king of Argos and commander of the Greeks, 
manifested his lack of energy in three times proposing to abandon 
the siege of Troy. 

Alore graceful, etc. War is abhorrent and peace agreeable to 
our natural feelings. 

no. A fairer person, etc. Idleness promises well but delays 
performance, finds plausible excuses for delay, waits for conven- 
ient seasons, and lets opportunity pass. 

113. Make the zvorse, etc. This, according to Plato, was the 
charge brought against the Sophists. 

115. To vice industrious. Ge7i. xix. II ; I Sam. ii. 12-17. 

120. Not behind in hate. That Belial is as cruel as Moloch is 
shown in the fate of one of his victims {Jttdg. xix. 25-29). 

Book II.] NOTES 283 

128. After some dire revenge, etc. When the Jews manifested 
similar recklessness in demanding the crucifixion of Christ, Pilate, 
like Belial, advised against the rashness {Matt, xxvii. 24, 25). 

131. On the bordering Deep, on the borders of Chaos, where it 
confines with Heaven, The true Mercury describes what is heard 
in Chaos where it confines with Hell (viii, 240-244). 

134. Scorning surprise. The kingdom of God on earth is 
guarded against surprise by prophetic signs that light up the future 
{Luke xxi.). The sons of Belial may be " overcharged with sur- 
feiting and drunkenness " and taken unawares, but not so the faith- 
ful servants of the Messiah. 

146. To be no more, etc. Having shown that effective revenge 
is impracticable, Belial considers annihilation. He denies first that 
it is desirable, next that it is attainable. 

148. Those thoughts, etc. The supposed "pathos" of this 
sentiment is much diminished by the character of the thoughts. 
Belial is a spirit of drunkenness and lust, one of the " filthy dream- 
ers" mentioned by St. Jude — a fool whose eyes [thoughts] "are in 
the ends of the earth " {Prov. xvii, 24). Juno proposes a journey 
to the " far end of this green earth," to establish household peace 
between Oceanus and Tethys (//. xiv. 200-205) \ her fleetness is 
thus described (//. xv. 80-84) : 

" As the thought of man 
Flies rapidly, when, having travelled far, 
He thinks, ' Here would I be, I would be there,' 
And flits from place to place, so swiftly flew 
Imperial Juno to the Olympian mount." 

Mercury is also compared for fleetness to the wind (//. xxiv. 342). 

156. Belike through impotence, as if unable to control himself 
for passion, like Moloch. 

165. Amain, with all our might, like the murderer fleeing from 
the avenger of blood. 

171. Sevenfold has special application to Moloch. The ven- 
geance that lighted upon the first murderer was to be visited 
sevenfold upon the second {Gen. iv. 15). See note 011 iv. 76. 

174. Red right hand (Horace, Odes I. ii. 2, rubente dextera) suits 
the idea of avenging murder. 

175-178. These impendent ho7'rors did fall in due time upon 
Belial and his followers in his own city of Sodom {Gen. xix. 24). 

t8o. Caught in a Jiery te77ipest, etc. ^n. i. 44, 45. 


182. Simk under, etc. Satan as well as Moloch was in favor of 
war, and his doom is here foreshadowed. He should sink like the 
sun, but forever, into the western waves. 

196. Better these, etc. So Juno in her fear counsels submission 
to Jupiter (//. xv. 104-109). 

204. / laugh, etc. His laugh is full of satire and bitterness like 
that of Juno who smiled with her lips while her brow was con- 
tracted in anger (//. xv. 101-103). 

212. Not juind us not offcjidiug. The mistake of the slothful 
servant {Matt. xxv. 24-30). 

215. Our purer essence, etc. Their moral nature as yet remains ; 
but they may either forget their guilt, if not reminded of it, or be- 
come hardened to its contemplation, or gradually lose the sense of 
right and wrong. 

216. Noxious vapor, WxQ. sulphurous fumes, the "smoke of the 
torment" of Babylon {Rev. xiv. 11). 

219. Void of pain. Conscience eliminated, environment might 
become a matter of indifference. The Stoical doctrine is that pain 
which does not belong to the mind is no evil, and that the wise 
man will be happy in the midst of torture. Many other sentiments 
of Belial, particularly those inculcating a negative sort of virtue, 
resemble maxims of the Stoics, though he was in practice an 

224. Professor Sprague aptly quotes from Thcognis (of Megara, 
583-495 B. C.) 510 : 'Qq £u iiiv, x«^£Taie" wf x^^*^*^^ ^*» A^"^' ^^• 

227. Mercury with his wand is still accepted as the symbol of 
peace and commercial prosperity. 

228. Mammon. See note on i. 678. He is identical with 
Jupiter and is called " the god of this world " (2 Cor. iv. 4). His 
special devotee is the aged Nestor who, like his tutelary divinity, 
overcame Saturn {Kpovog, Time) in surviving three generations, who 
dwelt at Pylos in Elis, where at Olympia Jupiter had a famous 
temple, and who was bent with age as Mammon with his contem- 
plation of the earth. 

229. To disenthrone, etc. Jupiter dethroned his father Saturn 
and ruled in his stead. He is not constitutionally averse to war, as 
is Mercury, or constitutionally dependent upon it, as Mars. Both 
these divinities are his sons, and he inclines to one or the other 
as his advantage prompts. He professes to be the dispenser of 
justice, but justice with him is merely his own honor and ad- 

232. Fate. Jupiter professes to personate Fate, and Nestor en- 

Book II.] NOTES 285 

courages the Greeks with reminders of what is fated (//. ii. 346- 


235. What place, etc. To escape being devoured by Saturn, 
Jupiter, until he grew strong enough to overpower his crafty sire, 
was removed from the light of day and concealed " in a sunless cave 
under the depths of the majestic earth" (Hesiod, Theogony). He 
cannot coexist in any human soul with the world's rightful Ruler 
{Matt. vi. 24). 

239. With what eyes, etc. The Mammon-worshipper is very 
sensitive to shame. Compare //. xv. 657-666 and Luke xvi. 3. 

242. Apollo and the Muses sang at the banquet of Jove, though 
at the same time the gods were all " inly grieved " at the tyrannical 
behavior of their ruler (//. i. 568-570, 603, 604). 

244. His altar. After a new outburst of dictatorial pride, which 
angered the gods, Jove went to the height of Gargarus, where his 
" fragrant altar fumed " (//. viii. 48) and sat there " exulting in the 
fulness of his might." See note on ix. 195. 

252. Seek our otujt good, etc. Contrary to the admonition of 
Christ {Matt. vi. 19-34). 

263. How oft, etc. See Ps. xviii. 11-13 and elsewhere. The 
special propriety of assigning these words to Mammon appears from 
his aspiring to be himself the Thunderer. Wielding the thunder- 
bolt was eminently the prerogative of Jove, the god of Elis {elicere, 
to draw down, as lightning from the skies), and Nestor, his wor- 
shipper, seems to some extent to have shared it, in pursuing his 
enemies "like a black tempest" (//. xi. 747). 

270. Imitate. Salmoneus, a king of Elis, wishing to receive 
divine honors, imitated the thunder, and was struck by a bolt from 
Jove for his impiety. 

273. What can Heaven, etc. Mammon had contemplated ma- 
terial glory until he became blind to spiritual things and even skep- 
tical as to their existence (2 Cor. iv. 4). 

275. Become otir elements. This seems an echo of Belial's sug- 
gestion (1. 217), but is to be understood in a more gross and bodily 
sense. Conscience is still active in Belial, but dead or dormant in 

278. Sensible of pain. The devotees of Mammon are extremely 
sensitive to bodily discomfort. Nestor's sumptuous halls and 
couches and soft, warm blankets and mantles will not be forgotten 
by readers of the Odyssey. 

2lc). Settled state. Peace is the condition of society most condu- 
cive to material well-being. Jupiter professes to like Mars least of 


all the dwellers on Olympus (//. v. 890), but honors Themis (Custom 
or Precedent) by giving her a place near his throne and taking her 

284. Such mtu-}7iiir, etc. Critics cite //. ii. 144, but the true foun- 
dation of the passage is in the description of the landing of /Eneas 
and his companions in Queen Dido's realm, or what from a moral 
point of view is the same — the landing of Ulysses and his men on 
the island of Circe, the goddess of luxury and pleasure (y£w. 1. 
157-173 ; Odys. X. 87-94). After a night of tempest, /Eneas and his 
followers, at daybreak, when the sea had been calmed by Neptune, 
came by chance to a " craggy bay," anchored within a grotto, where 
the waters rose and fell with a soft murmur, ' ' and laid their 
drenched limbs down to repose upon the shore." The experience 
of Ulysses and his band in the neighborhood of Circe's isle was 
much the same, and when they had landed on a like rocky shore 
they " gave two days and nights to rest." 

294. Sword of Michael. See note on vi. 44. 

296. Nether empire. The Babylonian policy is received with 
favor {Gen. xi. 4). 

The three spirits, Moloch, Belial, and Mammon, under Latin 
names, follow each other in the poet's order in the names of the 
days of the week : Tuesday = dies Martis ; Wednesday =: dies 
Merciirii ; Thursday =: dies Jovis. 

The seer of Patmos, standing on the sand of the sea-shore, saw 
two beasts rising, one out of the sea, the other out of the earth 
{Rev. xiii.), as Moloch and Belial here rise from different sides of 
the assembly. The first beast was a combination of three strong, 
fierce, and cruel animals, wore many crowns, had received a deadly 
wound which was healed, had invincible power in war, spoke 
boastfully and blasphemously, made war against the saints, and was 
worshipped by all who were not eminent in faith and patience. 
The beast resembles in every point the fierce Moloch, the "sceptred 
king," who was wounded by Gabriel, had spoken blasphemies 
(vi- 357-362), and was now eager for a renewal of the war. The 
second beast was like a lamb, spake as a dragon, brought worship- 
pers to the first beast, miraculously drew fire from heaven, and 
prevented all who had not the mark of the beast from buying and 
selling. The lamb represents Peace, and its two horns are the two 
spirits — Belial (idleness) and Mammon (industry). Both give 
utterance to their hate of the Almighty, and so speak like a dragon ; 
the hate thus kindled leads to war, a worship of Moloch. Mam- 
mon is Jupiter who brings down false lightning. True lightning is 

Book II.] NOTES 287 

the scorn of Wisdom towards Folly. Mammon's lightning is the 
laughter of the world at those who despise its rewards. The latter 
often deceives men, or, in the language of St. Paul, blinds them 
(2 Cor. iv. 4), as the lightning of Jupiter blinded those whom it 
struck (//. vi. 139). Peaceful industry, too, supplies the "sinews 
of war " and thus gives power to the image of the beast. The 
assumption of control over buying and selling further identifies the 
second beast as the spirit of avaricious worldliness. 

299. Beelzebub. See note on i. 81. 

300. With grave aspect. So Ulysses rose to reprove Agamemnon 
for proposing to abandon Troy (//. xiv. 82). 

302. A pillar of state. Ulysses is often characterized by the 
same epithets — "much-enduring" and "wise-thinking" — that be- 
long to Atlas, " who knows all the depths of the sea, and keeps the 
long pillars which hold heaven and earth asunder " {Odys. \. 52). 

303. Deliberation, etc. Consult //. iii. 216-219 ^"^^ Odys. x. 
373-387 for similar marks in Ulysses. 

305. Majestic though in ruin. When Ulysses is disguised by 
Pallas as a beggar, his rags do not hide his nobility, but he im- 
presses men as " Unhappy seemingly, yet like a king in person" 
{Odys. XX. 194). 

306. Atlantean shoulders. Ulysses is " Less tall than Aga- 
memnon, yet more broad in chest and shoulders" (//. iii. 193, 194). 

308. Still as night. Pallas commands silence when Ulysses rises 
to speak (//. ii. 280). 

310-315. This admonition resembles that given to Ulysses too 
well content with the pleasures of Circe's sumptuous couches to de- 
part for Ithaca {Odys. x. 472-474) and that given to .^neas in the 
palaces of Dido, forgetful of his destined Italy {y^n. iv. 265-267). 
Mercury who bears the admonition to /Eneas lights on his way on 
the top of Atlas. 

322, Curb. See note on iv. 858. 

334. Stripes, etc. Indifference as well as active hostility is pun- 
ished {Luke xii. 47, 48), 

346. Ancient and prophetic fame. Compare notes on i. 651 and 
ii. 831. While yet obedient, Beelzebub possessed that wisdom 
which rejoiced by anticipation in the works of God before they 
were made {Prov. viii. 22-31 \ John viii. 56). 

353. That shook, etc. The things shaken are transitory ; those 
that remain firm are permanent {Heb. xii. 27). Though earth and 
heaven pass away, Jehovah's word shall not fail {Matt, v, 18). 

356. Hoiv endued, with what faculties of soul or thought. 


364. Either -with Hell-fire, etc. The work of Moloch, actually 
undertaken in the days before the Flood, when giants filled the 
earth with violence. 

368. Seduce, etc. The work of Belial and Mammon, performed 
when the sons of God took wives of the daughters of men and gave 
way to luxury {Gen. vi.). 

378. Hatching, etc. The figure seems to be drawn from Jer. 
xvii. II. 

387. Pleased highly. II. ii. 333-335. Mammon's peaceful 
counsel satisfied a majority, but Beelzebub's ingenious plan pro- 
vided" employment in their respective preferences for all. 

391. Synod 2iW(S. States, used so near together, imply an assump- 
tion of both spiritual and secular authority in this infernal govern- 

395. With neighboring arms, etc. Beelzebub was the god of 
Ekron on the border of Israel. The chosen people suffered much 
from the Philistines who, better than any other enemies of Israel, 
knew their opportunity. 

399. Secure. Neighborhood to God's people wins some of their 
blessings and avoids some Divine judgments {Matt, xiii. 30 ; Gen. 
xviii. 23-26). 

405. Abyss. Chaos, including Hell. Just outside of Hell-gates 
is a chasm which is bottomless ; in length, breadth, and depth the 
region is infinite. 

406. Palpable obscure, darkness that may be felt, as in Exod. x. 2 1 . 

407. Uncouth way. It lies through Death's "undiscovered 

409. Abrupt. The whole perpendicular height between the two 
planes of Heaven and Hell, especially the precipice beyond the 
chasm outside of Hell-gates. 

410. Isle. The commentators have had unreasonable trouble 
with this designation. Newton, Keightley, and others take it to 
signify " the earth hanging in the sea of air." Masson and Sprague 
correctly understand it to mean the whole world, or starry universe. 
But Masson goes too far in saying that the devils fancy it "an 
azure sphere or round, insulated between Heaven and Chaos." 
Of such a world they have had no experience ; but they know 
Heaven as a vast continent rising out of the ocean of Chaos (vii. 
210), and the World, being smaller in size, is thought of as an isl- 
and lying in some neighboring part of the same ocean. The epi- 
thet "happy" suggests the Atlantis of political philosophy and 
fable. The conception comes fitly from Beelzebub, chief pillar of 

Book II.] NOTES 289 

the infernal commonwealth and largely identified with the god 
Atlas from whom Atlantis gets its name. 

418. Suspense, as in Belshazzar's palace, while the lords were 
waiting for some wise man to interpret the handwriting on the wall 
{Dan. V. 5-9). 

426. The dreadful voyage. It was to be through the region of 
Hades or death. Ulysses and his companions wept and trembled 
at the prospect when he was called upon to enter the gloomy realm 
{Odys. X. 562-570), /Eneas and his followers were chilled with 
fear under similar conditions {/En. vi. 54, 55). The writing on the 
j wall was a summons to Belshazzar, for on that night he was slain 
' {Dan. V. 30). 

432. Long is the way, ^iz. ALn.v'i. 128, 129, 549-554. 

438. Void profound, the inane profundum of Lucretius. This 
chasm, entirely empty, just outside of Hell-gates, is not the whole 
of Chaos. See note on 1. 918. 

441. Abortive {aborior, opposed to exorior, and so used primarily 
of the heavenly bodies, to set, to disappear). Compare 1. 933. 

445-456. Sarpedon, king of Lycia (Auk//, light), where Apollo 
had an oracle, in like manner recognizes the obligations imposed 
by sovereignty (//. xii. 310-328), 

457. Terror of Heaven. Like the slain of Asshur (Assyria, the 
reahii of Babylon) who, when alive, " caused terror in the land of 
the living " {Ezek. xxxii. 22, 23). 

464. Seek deliverance. Apollo, it was fabled, could restore from 
the realm of death to the light of day ; and he or his priest was in- 
voked for a safe return from Hades {Odys. xi. 32 ; A1.11. vi. 56 ; 
Alcestis 29, etc.). 

466. None shall partake. Turnus, king of the Rutuli, the Vir- 
gilian Hector, forbids his followers to attack Pallas, whom he 
wishes himself to slay {^n. x. 441-444). 

474. Dreaded , . , his voice. The representative powers were 
ruled like those of Babylon whose king " made the earth to tremble 
and did shake kingdoms." 

477. Thunder heard 7'emote ; that is, like the rumble of an earth- 
quake. It was a political earthquake throughout the dependencies 
when a change occurred in the government of Babylon, When 
Belshazzar perished the kingdom was divided and new rulers were 
set up {Dan. v. 28-vi. 2). 

481. For the general safety, etc. This clearly suggests the self- 
sacrifice of Marcus Curtius and the Decii, who devoted themselves 
to the infernal gods for the deliverance of Rome. According to 


Livy (vii, 6) a deep chasm was formed by an earthquake or some 
other means near the middle of the Forum and could not be filled 
up, so the soothsayers said, unless the Romans should devote to it 
what constituted their principal strength. Curtius interpreted this 
to mean their arms and courage, and having arrayed himself in full 
armor, mounted his horse and rode into the gulf. 

484. Specious deeds, deeds that seem generous and self-sacrificing, 
but are incited by a selfish love of glory. Virgil testifies that some 
of the Roman virtues had this origin {^-En. vi. 823). 

490. Lowing element. Water as clouds, not the air or sky, as 
some have thought. 

492. The radiant sun, etc. However gloomily the day opened 
it ends in brightness. "Sorrow is turned into joy" before the 
mighty spirit that leads the fallen hosts (^Job xli. 22). 

497, Firm concord. Alark iii. 22-26. 


The memorial games in honor of Patroclus (//. xxiii.) and Anchi- 
ses {Ain. v.) are the originals of these ; but here the fallen spirits 
commemorate their own doom, not the loss of a friend. In each 
of the three cases, however, the activities immediately precede the 
departure of a leader — Achilles, yEneas, Satan — into the realm of 
Hades. The passions, memories, and speculations here indulged 
give no permanent relief to pain and remorse, but rather intensify 
them, so that finally not memory but oblivion is coveted. The 
division of the spirits on the basis of their physical distinctions is a 
feature of the passage. The scene of action changes from Italy to 

507. Li order, according to rank or precedence. 

508. Midst came, etc. Reproduced from Virgil's description of 
Turnus, an Apollonean chief from Ardea {ardeo, to glow, burn) 
{^n. vii. 783-793)- 

512. A globe. From the description of Turnus. Satan has just 
been compared to the sun in a clear sky, and the fiery seraphim 
with "horrent arms" represent the play of light about the grand 

515. Trumpets' regal sound. The Latin Senate, after having 
decided on war, was accustomed to announce it in this way 
{^n. vii. 611-615). 

516. Cherubim, spirits of air, by whom tidings are conveyed as 
in speech. 

Book II.] NOTES 291 

523. Disband. Referring to those who had stood under arms 
outside of the council-hall during the deliberations. The activities 
and the scenery now become those of Thessaly and its neighbor- 

528. Part on the plain, etc. These are spirits of Water. Clouds 
and mists are the great racers. The order in the next line reverses 
the order in this. 

530. Olympian games, etc. The Olympian and Pythian games 
were celebrated every fifth year — the former at Olympia in Elis, the 
latter on the Crissean plain, near Delphi. The first name suggests 
the races in the air ; the second those on the ground. 

531. Part curb, etc. These are spirits of Fire. The horses of 
the sun were Pyroeis, Eous, ^thon, and Phlegon, the significance 
of whose names is easy to see (Ovid, Met. ii. 153, 154). Compare 
the names of Hector's steeds (//. viii. 185). 

Shun the goal. The places where the heavenly bodies rise and 
set are by Ovid called "goals" {Met. iii. 145). In the Iliad {\xn\. 
327-331) the goal stands 

" An ell above the ground, a sapless post 
Of oak or larch — a wood of slow decay 
By rain, and at its foot on either side 
Lies a white stone ; there narrow is the way 
But level is the race-course all around. 
A monument it is of one long dead." 

535. Battle in the clouds. A prodigy like that which portended 
the fall of Rome (Virgil, Geon^. i. 474) and Jerusalem {Luke xxi. 

540. Rend up both rocks and hills, etc. This is suggested by 
the contests of the Lapithae (Stone-Hurlers?)and the Centaurs (who 
used pine clubs) in Thessaly. The quoit or discus, or as in the 
Iliad {\yi\\\. 836-849) the heavy mass of iron was used in human 
contests instead of the rocks and hills in the games of the gods. 
In the games established by Achilles, Polypoetes, the Thessalian, 
son of Pirithous, king of the Lapithaj, won the prize in this contest. 

542. Alcides. Hercules, the grandson of Alcaeus, was returning 
from the conquest of Eurytus, king of Oichalia in Thessaly, and 
wishing to offer sacrifice, sent to Ceyx for a splendid robe to wear. 
Deianira, his wife, desiring to win back her husband's affection, 
tinged the tunic that was sent him with a philtre furnished by the 
Centaur Nessus, and unwittingly poisoned Hercules. The effects 
of Honor and Shame appear to be symbolized in the myth. 


545. Lie has (Aixag = Xiaaog, a steep cliff) was the bearer of the 
poisoned robe to Hercules. He was changed, through the pity of 
the gods, into a small island. 

547. A silent valley. The charming Thessalian vale of Tempe 
was the first seat of the Muses and of the Pierides who challenged 
them to a contest of skill in song. 

549. Heroic deeds. Achilles drew solace from the music of 
his harp and from singing the deeds of heroes, while his friend 
Patroclus sat in silence by him till the song should cease (//. ix. 

551. Virtue should enthrall, etc. Courage and Freedom are the 
subjects with which the poet Alcseus charms the thronging shades 
in Hades (Hor. Odes II. xiii. 30 et seq.). 

554. Suspended Hell. In the contest of the Pierides with the 
Muses, at the song of the Pierides the sky became dark and all 
nature was put out of harmony. But at the song of the Muses the 
heavens themselves, the stars, the sea and the rivers stood motion- 
less and Helicon swelled up with delight. Those eminent disciples 
of the Muses, Orpheus and Musaeus, produced narrower effects of 
the same kind in Hell. 

557. On a hill. The temple of Minerva (the Parthenon) at 
Athens was on the highest point of the Acropolis, and the colossal 
statue of the goddess overlooked the whole city. At the festival 
of this divinity celebrated at Athens only light-producing deities 
were honored. The most popular ceremony of the festival was the 
torch-race, which symbolized the diffusion of knowledge. Under 
the care of the goddess was a building called the Athenjeum, where 
poets, philosophers, and literary men in general were accustomed 
to assemble and recite their compositions. 

559. Tiiese are the topics, connected with Death and Immortal- 
ity, on which in the time of Socrates the so-called philosophers of 
Athens were teaching their refined speculations. The tragedians, 
too, taught precepts of moral wisdom on the subjects, " Of fate and 
chance and change in human life " {Par. Reg. iv. 265). To show 
the vanity of all these high speculations and moral precepts, Socra- 
tes, the wi est and most honest man of the time, professed *' to 
know only this, that he knew nothing." 

561. Wandering mazes. In prehistoric times Athenian youths 
and maidens were shut into the Cretan labyrinth to be devoured of 
the Minotaur. The story aptly sets forth the fate of those who 
attempt a philosophy not of God. 

562. Good and evil, etc. After the earlier philosophers and 

Book II.] NOTES 293 

sophists came the sects of the Epicureans and Stoics, whose subjects 
of discussion were precisely those here given. 

568. Hope based upon changes of fortune was encouraged by 

569. Stubborn paiience was the aim of Stoicism. 

570. Another part. These are the spirits of Air. The use of 
the word "part" marks out three general divisions of the demons 
on a physical basis of classification. See lines 528, 531. 

Squadrons and gross bands. The former implies concert in move- 
ment ; the latter, absence of concert. " Squadron" was probably 
suggested by Virgil's velut agmine facto (^n. i. 82). 

574. Four zvays. Homer and Hesiod mention four winds — 
Boreas, Eurus, Notus, and Zephyrus, from the four points of the 
compass. Flying march expresses the motion of the winds — through 
the air, but also along the ground. 

575-581. Odys. X. 513, 514. The four rivers of Hell, whose 
names the poet translates, signify, respectively, Hate and Sorrow, 
and their external manifestations. Rage and Lamentation. Christ 
speaks of Hell as a place where there is wailing and gnashing of 
teeth {Luke xiii. 28), the former caused in the inhabitants by a 
contemplation of their own loss, the latter by a view of the happi- 
ness of the good. The elements of punishment, then, are Sorrow 
and Hate augmented by personal sympathy with the manifestations 
of these in others. 

583. Lethe (AtjQtj, Oblivion) sustains in Hell the same relation 
that Sleep does in our earthly life. The mysterious action of the 
mind in sleep may have induced the poet to speak of the stream as a 
" labyrinth." Oblivion is naturally " far off " from pain and pas- 
sion. Professor Cook remarks that " Flato {J^ep. 10: 621) is perhaps 
the first to mention Lethe." If so, we have an explanation of the 
fact that Milton connects with Lethe certain characteristics that 
Homer and the myth-makers associate with the "ocean stream." 

585. State and being. The first of these refers to the environ- 
ment, the second to the spirit itself. Similarly in the next line, 
joy and grief are conditions of the soul, pleasure and pain effects 
of circumstances. 

587. Frozen Continent. This is the land of Despair, the destiny 
of those who can get no relief from Lethe. It consists of two 
parts — one terra firma, presenting the ruin of past hopes ; the rest 
a slough of Despond oppressing with fear of the future. It is 
Hell's borderland, is beaten with the "dire hail" of God's ven- 
geance, and contains very many of the evils enumerated by Virgil 

294 PARADISE LOST [Book 11. 

(y£«. vi. 273-289) as having their place in the " jaws of Orcus." 
The superior art of Milton, however, is exhibited in avoiding a 
mere catalogue of personified evils and in showing their forces in 
operation. Thus instead of a capitalized Hunger, Milton's spirits 
"starve in ice" ; Fear chills and freezes them; the Harpies and 
Furies become their jailers ; Dreams torment them ; Medusa guards 
the water against them ; Death defends the gateway ; Sin keeps 
the key. 

592. Serbonian bog. The bog lies between Damietta (the ancient 
Pelusium, city of mud) and Mount Casius (a mound of sand). It 
is " surrounded by knolls of shifting sand, which in high winds was 
swept into the lake, till the water was hardly distinguishable from 
the land." " Many of those ignorant of the peculiarity of the re- 
gion have disappeared [here] with whole armies" {Diod. Sic. I. 35). 

595. Burns ft'ore, etc. This makes it more like the seventh 
plague of Egypt in which fire was mingled with the hail {Exod. 
ix. 23). 

596. Harpy- footed furies. The Eumenides, Erinnyes or Furies 
of the ancients were Alecto (Relentless Hatred), Megaera (Jealousy), 
and Tisiphone (Revenge), and they were the special avengers of in- 
iquity. The names of some of the Harpies are Aello (Storm-swift), 
Ocypete (Swift-flying), Podarge (White-foot), and Celaeno (Dark- 
ness). Their most important function was to snatch away mortals 
to the other world, and surrender them to the Furies or bring them 
to the banks of Oceanus {Odys. xx. 66 et seq.). 

597. At certain revolutions. Apparently a partial ufiion ol Rev. 
ix. 15 with ^n. vi, 745-751. Euphrates is the biblical name of 
Lethe. Dante connects the two in Purgatorio xxxiii. The " revolu- 
tions" are perhaps those that mark the hour, the day, the month, 
and the year of the evangelist, Milton recognizes no purgatorial 
punishments — only those of Hell. 

607. One stnall drop. Such as Dives in torment craved from 
Lazarus {Luke xvi. 24). 

611. Medusa {fxiSonai, to think on, care for) personifies Care, 
which, according to Spenser, is an enemy that often troubles sleep 
{Faerie Queene I, i. 40). 

614. Tantalus (^aWw, to flourish) is a man flourishing and 
abounding in wealth. Milton seems to identify him with the rich 
man of the parable. Care is peculiarly the enemy of the rich 
{Eccl. v. 12). 

615, Confused viarch. Dreams are a means of punishment 
{Job vii. 12-14). The spirits, though in the neighborhood of 

Book II.] NOTES 295 

Oblivion, did not taste it ; like men who sleep but have their repose 
broken by horrible visions. The "confused march " typifies the 
incoherency of thought in dreams. 

616. Shtiddering horror, etc. Compare the experience of Eli- 
phaz in a dream {Job iv. 14). 

621, Rocks, caves, etc. These are the haunts of monsters, some 
of which are specified in 1. 628, and a fuller catalogue of which is 
found in Virgil {^/En. vi. 285-289). The Chimiera dwelt on a 
mountain with a summit of flame, the Hydra in a marsh, the Gor- 
gons on the border of the ocean. Typhpn, the sire of some of 
these, lay in the Serbonian bog ; Cerberus, whom Virgil puts in the 
same neighborhood, in a cave ; Scylla on a rock. Burke cites this 
line as an example of " a very great degree of the sublime, which is 
raised yet higher by what follows, A universe of death." 

624. Nature breeds perverse, etc. All this brood is in the vicin- 
ity of Lethe and consists of the embodied visions of unhealthy 
slumber — strange and monstrous combinations, wrought by nature 
yet most unnatural, grotesque beyond the power of Fancy in her 
wi-ldest moods to conjure up in waking moments, the essence of 
unreality in themselves but productive of real terror. The effi- 
ciency of dreams as a means of torture is demonstrated in some of 
Shakespeare's plays. 

625. Prodigious {prodigiuni, a prodigy), portentous. The pro- 
phetic character of dreams as boding good or ill is widely recog- 
nized by poets, and seems to be taken for granted in the Scriptures. 
An instance may be found in a dream of Pilate's wife before the 
crucifixion of Christ {Matt, xxvii. 19). 


The foregoing general description of Hell enables us partly to 
anticipate some of the adventures of Satan in his outward progress. 
We know that he must traverse the dry land outside of Pandemo- 
nium, cross Lethe, and find his way over the " frozen continent." 

635. Sotnetimes, etc. Satan exemplifies the crookedness of an 
evil-doer's way by appearing now on one hand and now on the 
other ; at one moment on the deep, the next in the air. 

636-643. This simile contains three prominent thoughts : Satan 
is compared to a fleet ; to a fleet laden with spices ; to a fleet mov- 
ing southward. As the devils are spoken of in the Apocalypse 
under the figure of ships, the comparison is fitly applied to the 
Fiend when passing over Lethe, the ocean of the lower world. 


Incense, the perfume of spices burned, is commonly used in wor- 
ship, and the word itself has become synonymous with flattery and 
praise. With this sort of deceit Satan was well provided. The 
motion of the fleet towards the pole indicates the general course of 
Satan, which is southward until he reaches the World. 

637. Equinoctial winds, etc. At the autumnal equinox the 
ocean currents are aided by the northeast monsoons in propelling 
southern-bound vessels rapidly on their course ( £"«r)r. Brit. xii. 822). 

639. Ternate and Tidore, two of the Spice Islands, or Moluccas, 
whence the Dutch brought spices to Europe. 

642. Nightly. Satan's course, like that of the fleet at night, was 
through darkness. 

644. Hell-bounds . . . roof. A reason for this peculiar form 
of expression may be found in the meaning of a few words. One 
of the commonest names of the world of darkness is Erebus. 
" Erebus is from tps^w, to cover, and is allied to opo^fj, a roof" 
{Encyc. Brit. viii. 520). Gog and Magog are scriptural names to 
designate the enemies of God's people, or the country from which 
those enemies come. St. Augustine finds these names to mean — 
"Gog, a roof ; Magog, from a roof" {De Civ. Dei xx. 11). 

645. Thnce threefold the gates, etc. Compare ^n. vi. 549-554. 
The allegory here becomes too complicated to interpret Avith any 
degree of confidence. 

650. One seemed woman, etc. As sources of suggestions for this 
description of Sin have been cited Spenser's Error, Fletcher's Ha- 
martia, Hesiod's Echidna, etc. But Sin, as here depicted, is 
chiefly the strange, flattering, and foolish woman of Proverbs and 
the "scarlet woman" oi Revelation, ^he combines the character- 
istics of many of the female creations of mythology, but is most 
like Hecate. 

652. A serpent arjned with mortal sting. Corresponding to the 
Hydra within the gates of Tartarus {ALn. vi. 576). Compare 
James i. 15 ; I Cor. xv. 56. 

660. Scylla is by her dogs, by her descent from Hecate (accord- 
ing to some accounts), and through her transformation by Circe 
associated with sorcery, probably with the professional kind which 
is much less dangerous than that of Sin, the arch sorceress {Isa. 
Ivii. 3. 4). 

662. Night-hag. The ancient Hecate, the goddess of witch- 
craft, also named Brimo (/3pe/ia>, to roar) because of her terrific ap- 
pearance when summoned by magic arts. vShe was accompanied 
by a howling pack of infernal dogs with which Milton here equals 

Book II.] NOTES 297 

the whelps of Sin in ugliness. Hecate was the arch-sorceress of 
the ancients. 

664. Infant blood. Horace, Epod. v. 

665. Laboring tfioon, etc. Virgil calls eclipses luncB labores. 
The sorceress Canidia professes to be able to snatch the moon from 
the sky with her charms (incantations) (Hor. Epod. xvii. 65-69). 

666. The other Shape, etc. Corresponding to Virgil's impres- 
sively vague Forma trico7poris timbrce {^En. vi. 289). In this Mil- 
ton discovered a suggestion of the unique and indescribable power 
that has its seat under the tiara (triple crown) of the Papacy (see 
note on x. 294). 

673. Likeness of a kingly crotun. "As it were crowns" {Rev. 
ix. 7). Death is called the " King of Terrors" {Job xviii. 14) and 
rules over transgressors {Rom. v. 12-14). Many of his features 
are taken from the dark-haired ruler of the seas whom Homer 
constantly speaks of as " King Neptune. " ' ' Peoples and multitudes 
and nations and tongues" are the "waters" over which Death 
rules {RetK xvii. 15), and it is noticeable that Neptune calms the 
seas as a man " revered for piety and public services" allays the 
excited feelings of a mob {^En. i. 148-153). Death uses his mace 
as Neptune his trident (x. 295) and carries a scourge like the god's 
(compare x. 311 with //. xiii. 25). The celebrated horses of Nep- 
tune (//. xiii. 23 ; ^n. i. 156) correspond to the horses of Death 
{Rev. vi. 2-8 ; Far. Lost x. 590). Neptune also dwells in a shadow 
(//. XX. 150). 

676. Hoi-rid strides, etc. Neptune hastening against the Trojans 
descended from his seat (//. xiii. 17-19) 

" And trod the earth with rapid strides ; the hills 
And forests quaked beneath the immortal feet 
Of Neptune as he walked." 

681. Execrable. Death was the curse denounced against diso- 

684. To yonder gates. In front of Troy Apollo was opposed to 
Neptune, but agreed with the gritn monarch to refrain from an 
encounter. Afterwards, however, Achilles, son of the marine god- 
dess Thetis, encountered successively two Trojan heroes under the 
protection of Apollo. Agenor first defied Achilles and threatened 
him with death, fear-inspiring and terrible as he was (//. xxi. 588, 
589). Hector next met the Grecian in his path to the gates of 
Troy, and was there slain by his pitiless antagonist. 

687. Spirits of Heaven. Achilles was once deceived into a pur- 


suit of Apollo himself, and was reproved by the god for his folly in 
attacking an immortal. 

68g. Traitor-angel. Like Achilles (the son of Thetis, or Law), 
Death pursues men and spirits who have broken faith with Heaven. 
Neptune reproaches Apollo for assisting the Trojans, whose king. 
Laomedon, faithlessly withheld from the two deities the promised 
reward for building the walls of Troy (//. xxi. 450-460). 

692, 694. Third part, etc. Rev. xii. 4 ; viii. 7-12 ; xii. 9. 

698. Where I reign, etc. Neptune manifests like jealousy of 
trespass upon his realm {/En. i. 138). 

701. Whip of scorpions. Neptune uses a scourge (//. xiii. 25), 
and Tisiphone at the gates of Tartarus wields a lash of snakes 
{^n. vi. 570-572). 

708. Like a comet. Sickness is the menace of Death. Certain 
fevers were known to the ancients as TrXovjjref TrvpEToi — a phrase 
also perfectly descriptive of comets. Comets seem to have been 
regarded by former ages as diseased stars, evidences of derange- 
ment in nature and precursors of pestilence and war. Compare 
Jude 13. 

709. Opliiiuhus (o0ic + t^'^iv, serpent -holder), Serpentarius, a 
northern constellation forty degrees in length, directly over against 
Scorpio. The serpent-bearer, the son of Apollo, named i^iscula- 
pius among men and Paean among the gods, is the god of Medicine, 
Hygeia, the goddess of Health, appears with a serpent in her hand. 
Compare Numb. xxi. 8, 9 \ John iii. 14, 15. 

714. Tivo black clouds. When Apollo descended in anger from 
Olympus, he came as the night and his arrows rattled upon his 
shoulders (//. i. 46, 47). Apollo and Neptune envelop their 
favorites, when endangered, in a cloud. 

716. Caspian. Noted for its tempests, and important here ap- 
parently as separating those two barbarian races, Gog and Magog, 
hostile to each other, but united in enmity to God and his people. 

717. Winds the signal blow. The trumpet used to call warriors 
of old to battle, and trumpeters were called bolides, or sons of 
,^olus, god of the winds. 

721. Once more, etc. All commentators refer to i Cor. xv. 26 
and Heb. ii. 14. I add Rev. xvii. 14. 

723. All Hell had rung, with joy and wonder at a victory over 
Death {Matt. ix. 26 ; Ltike vii. 17). 

726. Outcry. Wounded Venus shrieked when interposing in 
behalf of her son iEneas (//. v. 343). 

727. Father . . . son. The heroes under the inspiration of 



Apollo have generally each a wife and a son. This is true of Hector, 
Sarpedon, ^neas, and Hercules. The case of Hector is especially 
noteworthy. The name of his wife, the "white-armed" Andro- 
mache (Fighting with Men) suggests the twofold nature of Sin, 
while that of his son Astyanax (King of the City) points to the 
King of Terrors. Strangely enough, Andromache regards Hector 
as parents, husband, and brother, all in one (//. vi. 429, 430). 

741. Double-formed. A similar epithet is by Virgil applied to 
Scylla. It suggests duplicity and falsehood, like the name of Spen- 
ser's Duessa. 

744. / knoiv thee not. When David saw his sin in the parable 
of Nathan his " anger was greatly kindled," and he did not recog- 
nize it as his own (2 Sam. xi. xii.). That such blindness is com- 
mon appears from Matt. xxv. 41-46. 

749. At the assembly, etc. The King of Babylon has a similar 
experience {Isa. xiii. 7, 8). It includes the faintness (*' dizzy swum 
in darkness "), the appearance of flames in the face, and the gen- 
eral amazement of beholders. The flames are the Shame which 
comes from the exposure of sin. Vulcan, the god of Fire, was 
fabled to have assisted at the birth of Athene (Minerva) from the 
brain of Jupiter. There is a false as well as a true Wisdom. The 
origin of Sin from Satan's left side is significant. 

757. A goddess armed. The true Wisdom is armed with a threat ; 
the false with an excuse. 

760. A sign portentous. When Pallas Athene, like a meteor, 
lighted on the earth between the Trojans and the Greeks it was 
taken as a sign of wasting war and stubborn combats (//. iv. 73-84). 
Her mission on that occasion was one of falsehood and deceit. 

762. With attractive graces, etc. Pallas in disguise lured Hector 
to his death at the hand of Achilles (//. xxii. 226-247). The 
"strange woman" likewise fools the "simple ones" to destruction 
{Prov. vii. 21, 22). 

764. Perfect image. The devil is " a liar and the father of it " 
{John viii. 44). An image of the pseudo Athene, called the 
Palladium, was thrown from Heaven and taken up and placed 
within the walls of "treaty-breaking" Troy. It received the devo- 
tion of the Trojans, and often inspired them, but always to their 
harm. Troy was secure from capture while the image remained 
within the walls, but it was stolen and carried off by Ulysses and 
Diomed, the wisest of the Greeks. 

770. Clear victory. Pallas Athene had the surname of Wikx], 

Book II.] NOTES 301 

784. Distorted, etc. According to one of the myths, the trans- 
formation of Scylla was wrought in consequence of her intimacy 
with Neptune. 

787. I Jled, etc. So Amphitrite fled from the embraces of 

789. Back resounded Death. When Patroclus had been slain by 
Hector and Apollo, Achilles in distraction wept aloud ; the maidens 
whom he had captured in war smote their breasts and swooned ; 
Antilochus mourned ; Thetis heard in her cavern the cry of her son 
and raised a wail of sorrow ; the nymphs of ocean in concourse 
thronged the glimmering cave and moaned responsive (//. xviii. 
30-66). The Trojans similarly bewailed Hector. 

7go. More . . . tvith lust, etc. Milton, like the divines, reck- 
ons up in his Christian Doctrine four degrees of death : (i) all 
those evils which it is agreed came into the world immediately after 
the fall of man ; (2) spiritual death, which means a loss of divine 
grace and innate righteousness ; (3) the death of the body ; (4) the 
punishment of the damned. Milton's personification includes all 
these degrees. In the second sense Death is in harmony with Sin, 
who thus brings forth " fruit unto death." 

799. Gnazv my bowels, etc. J^ev. xvii. 16. 

807. His end with mine involved. Death came as a punishment 
for sin ; when sin ends, punishment must cease. When Achilles 
had slain Hector, leader of the "treaty-breaking" Trojans, his 
own death soon followed — according to some, the next day. 

808. A bitter morsel. The star called Wormwood represents Sin 
in the Apocalypse {Rev. viii. 10, 11). The end of the strange woman 
is " bitter as wormwood" {jProv. v. 4). 

814. None can resist, etc. The husband of Thetis was fated to 
beget a son stronger than his sire. Death, like Achilles, represents 
retribution, and is stronger than Satan, his sire. 

817. Dear daughter. Thus Jove commonly addresses Athene 
(//. viii. 39 ; xxii. 183). 

829. Unfoimded {fundus, bottom), bottomless. Though itself 
unfounded, it is the foundation of the world {Ps. xxiv. 2). 

831. Concurring signs. When Christ, the second Adam, was 
born there were signs in the heavens leading to a universal expect- 
ancy that a new era was about to begin. Chaldsea and Rome, the 
astrologers of the East and the Sibyl of the West, were predicting 
the appearance of a new head of the human race, the return of 
Saturnian times (Virgil's Pollio). According to calculations of 
Kepler, there was a conjunction of at least three planets Jupiter, 


Saturn, and Mars — about the time of Christ's birth, as though to 
set out anew on their course from their original goal. It is a sug- 
gestive fact that Milton makes the five speakers in Pandemonium 
correspond to five of the planets — the Sun (Satan), the Moon 
(Beelzebub), Mars (Moloch), Mercury (Belial), and Jupiter (Mam- 
mon), who likewise give names to the first five days of the week. 
Sin (Venus, after whom the sixth day is named) is now before us, 
and Chaos (Saturn, the planet and god of Saturday) is met with 
presently. May not these be regarded as the seven kings of Rev. 
xvii, lo, II, and Death, the beast, making the eighth? 

833. Purlieus^ places for walking, as a garden near a house 
{^Gen. iii. 8). 

843. Imbaliiied with odors. As the "strange woman" {Prov. 
vii. 17) and "scarlet woman" {Rev. xviii. 13). 

846. Grinned, etc. Alluding to Cerberus, the fierce watch-dog 
of Hell, who subsided for /Eneas upon being fed with a cake 
steeped in soporific drugs. The word "maw" used soon after 
confirms this idea. 

850, Key. Rev. ix. i. Hecate, the witch-goddess, is repre- 
sented with a key {Encyc. Brit. xi. 609). The key is knowledge 
{Luke xi. 52). 

857. Thrust me down, etc. As in the fall of Babylon {Rev. 
xviii. 21). 

868. Gods who live at ease, ^tol peia Z,ojovt(.q {II. vi. 138). 
Babylon lived " deliciously " and voluptuously with the kings of 
the earth {Rev. xviii. 7). 

869, At thy right hand. Compare Ps. cxliv. 8 and/jiz. xliv. 20. 
The right hand is the place usually assigned to counsellors. Bath- 
sheba, the temptress of David, sat after his death upon the right 
hand of Solomon and may have had more to do than is commonly 
supposed with turning the heart of the wise king to folly. 

We are prepared, I think, to refer to Rev. xvii. as the true origin 
of this passage. The "scarlet woman" becomes Sin ; the beast 
upon which she sits becomes Death ; the seven kings are the seven 
deities associated with the seven planets, ruling over the days of 
the week ; the ten kings that have power with the beast for one 
hour each are the ten hours (excluding morning and evening twi- 
light) of the "black and dark night" when the scarlet woman 
exercises her sorcery {Prov. vii. 9). Since the bright hours of day 
guard the gates of Heaven, there is a fitness — almost a necessity — 
that the hours of night should be the gate-keepers of Hell. Be- 
sides, there is as little doubt that Sin represents the depravity of 

Book II.] NOTES ' 303 

the spiritual Babylon, or Rome, and her son, " the man of sin," or 
the Papacy. Milton admitted a " power of the keys" very differ- 
ent from that which was claimed. 

871-1055. SATAN IN HADES ' 

Chaos is the Hades of both profane and sacred writers. Satan's 
journey through it is like those of Ulysses and ^neas through the 
Underworld. The way is crooked, but its trend is southward and 
upward to the entrance of the World. The conditions befit a 
place of uncreated matter and spiritual non-existence. 

874. PoytculUs, a heavy, harrow-like grating made to slide up 
and down before a castle gate. Spenser speaks of the human lips 
as a portcullis {Faerie Queeiie II. ix. 24). The gate is also the 
mouth of Hell. 

876. Could once have moved. Virgil says that the gates of Hell 
cannot be broken through by all the force of men or gods, though 
apparently opened with ease by the guarding Hydra {^n. vi. 


880. Recoil. After long detention in the "iron furnace" of 
Egypt, the children of Israel were thrust out {Exod. xi. i). The 
recoil of Hell-gates is like the sudden urgency of the Egyptians 
after their sullen resistance. 

882. Lowest bottom s hook. The judgment that delivered the 
Israelites shook Egypt from top to bottom {Exod. xi. 5). 

884. Excelled her power. It is Gabriel, the angel of Divine 
Wisdom, who closes the gates of Hell (compare iv. 965-967 with 
Rev. XX. 1-3). 

885. A bannered host, etc. This should, it seems tome, refer to 
Rev. ix. 15-17, which, however, provides only obscurely, or by im- 
plication, for the banners and ensigns. 

891. Secrets of the hoary Deep. The epithet "hoary" (Lat. 
canns) is often applied to foamy waters (seey^^^^xli. 32). It belongs 
with special fitness to those ante-mundane waters which constitute 
the realm of old Father Time himself (Chaos = Saturn = KpovoQ 
= Time). Saturn was noted for his secrets and concealments ; 
after his banishment by Jupiter he fled for safety to J^atium {lateo, 
to lie concealed). His son, Pluto, who has rule over the shades of 
the dead, no less jealously guards the secrets of his gloomy realm. 
When the gods took part in the war before Troy, Pluto leaped 
from his seat in terror lest the horrible abodes beneath should be 
laid open to gods and mortals (//. xx. 61-65). Isaiah (xlv. 2, 3) 


mentions " treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places " 
as lying beyond certain gates of brass and bars of iron. The treas- 
ures of Pluto (possibly the same as Plutus) seem to consist in 
events of the future of which we know not " what a day may bring 

892. Illimitable ocean, etc. Chaos is the lower of two primal 
infinities {Gen. i. i, 2). It is bounded above by the Empyrean, 
and in one small sphere of space and time by our World, In other 
directions it is "without bound" (circumference) and "without 
dimension " (diameter). 

893. Length, breadth, etc. Those who are in Chaos, the region 
of physical death, know nothing of the things which are the primary 
conditions of all knowledge. Milton cites Aristotle as saying that 
those who slept in the temples of the heroes on awaking " imagined 
that the moment in which they awoke had succeeded without an 
interval to that in which they fell asleep." " How much more," 
the poet adds, "must intervening time be annihilated to the de- 
parted, so that to them to die and to be with Christ will seem to 
take place at the same moment" (Christ. Doct. xiii.). 

895. Ancestors of natwe. Night and Chaos preceded the Crea- 
tion and furnished materials for it {Gen. i. 2). 

898. Hot, Cold, etc. Ovid, describing the same primitive Chaos, 
says : " Cold contended with warm, moist with dry, soft with hard, 
heavy with light " {Met. i. 19, 20). Lucretius also furnishes in the 
second book of his Be Rernm Natura many of the features of this 

901. Faction . . . clans. "Faction" emphasizes the repulsions 
and diversities subsisting among the atoms ; "clans," the attractions 
and kinships. 

904. Barca or Cyrene, etc. The syrtes or quicksands of the 
coast and the sand-storms of the interior make this district a fit 
earthly type of Chaos. The Argonauts were driven on the syrtes 
a ter leaving Scylla and Charybdis. ^neas had the same experi- 

905. Poise their lighter wings, give weight to the winds, which 
would be lighter without this ballast of sand. 

907. Umpire. What Chance does not decide, Time, the judge of 
appeals, will pass upon. Solomon opposes the decisions of time 
and chance to those of reason and justice {Eccl. ix. 11). 

910. Chance. As Chaos is the Saturn so Chance is the Minos of 
Milton. In the realm of the dead, where Minos judged, everything 
was decided by lot. 

Book II.] NOTES 305 

912. The four elements of ancient physics. Their order, as 
regards weight, beginning below with the heaviest, is earth, water, 
air, and fire. Though much intermixed in Chaos, they form recog- 
nizable strata in the order of their weight. The lowest stratum is 
chiefly earth ; the second, chiefly water ; the third, chiefly air ; the 
fourth, pure air and fire, is the Empyrean and is no part of Chaos. 

gi8. Brink of Hell. Since a brink is the margin of a steep 
descent, it is hard to see how such a thing can be outside of Hell- 
gates, if with Masson we suppose the gates to be at the zenith of 
the roof of Hell. But if we put them in the wall, where the gates 
ought to be, nothing is easier than to conceive of the chasm outside 
of the threshold. Here begins the " void profound " of Lucretius ; 
here is the "gulf" or chasm (xadfia) mentioned by St. Luke (xvi. 
26) and by Hesiod {^Theog. 740). Hesiod is very precise : " Nep- 
tune has fixed brazen gates, and a wall lies about it [the place where 
the Titans are punished] on every side. . . . There are the beginnings 
and ends of all things — of the murky earth and dark Tartarus and 
the starry heavens — places hard to be passed over and hateful even 
to the gods — a great chasm. No one in all time would reach a 
footing unless he were first within the gates, but here and there he 
would encounter storms upon storms. And gloomy Night stands at 
the terrible threshold concealed with dark clouds." 

922. Bellona is the war-goddess and is represented sometimes as 
the sister and sometimes as the wife of Mars. She has water for 
her element, while Mars has air for his ; and her " battering en- 
gines " are rain, hail, sleet, and snow. She is outside of Hell-gates, 
as at Rome her temple was outside of the city walls. Spenser 
gives the goddess prominence in his cantos on Mtitabilitie. 

924. Rase some capital city. The Homeric epithet of Bellona is 
" city- wasting." The weather ruins the firmest structures of man, 
but cannot reach Heaven. 

925. Frame of Heaven, etc. The noise attending the fall of this 
universal frame into confusion again is much dwelt upon in escha- 
tology (2 Pet. iii. 10). 

927. Sail-broad vans, like the wings of the dragon in Faerie 
Queene I. xi. 10. In this line the genej-al description of Chaos 
ends, and the account of Satan's particular adventures begins. It 
is Milton's custom thus to put the general before the particular. 

930. As in a cloudy chair. Satan in crossing this chasm has a 
series of adventures that strongly suggest those of Bellerophon. 
The Fiend, like the slayer of Bellerus (monster), has just escaped 
the "beast" called Death. He "spurns the ground" and rides 


audaciously upon a "cloudy chair," as Bellerophon rode upon 
Pegasus (n//ya(Tog, born of Neptune and Medusa near the sources, 
■jTtjydi, of the Ocean). He likewise falls from his seat and encoun- 
ters a "tumultuous cloud instinct with fire and nitre" resembling 
the fire-breathing Chimaera which Bellerophon overcame. Milton 
puts the Chimoera in this neighborhood (1. 628), and no more fitting 
place could be devised for the embodiment of vanity and absurdity 
than this " vast vacuity." CompavQ /od xxvi. 7. 

938. Aloft. Observe the direction indicated by "uplifted," 
"ascending," "aloft." 

941. Treading the crude consistence^ etc. The words now im- 
ply horizontal motion. Satan having ascended the first stratum of 
Chaos now moves along its surface. It is the stratum of ^«;'M, the 
particles of which cohere and form a crude (disorderly) consistence, 
but the upper side of it blends with the water above it, forming 
bogs and quicksands. 

942. Oar and sail. Satan needs both wings and feet in his 
progress, and, because the stratum through which he moves is a 
mixture of water and air, the wings serve the purpose of sails set 
to the air and of oars used in water. He moves on one element 
and through two. 

943. As when a gryphon, etc. /Eschylus speaks of " the keen- 
fanged hounds of Jupiter that never bark, the gryphons, and the 
cavalry host of one - eyed Arimaspians, who dwell on the banks 
of the gold -gushing fount, the stream of Pluto" {Prom. Vinct. 
803-806). The gryphons having lived north of the Arimaspi, the 
pursuit must have been southward, the direction of Satan's journey. 

948. O'er bog or steep, etc. The gryphon pursued the one-eyed 
Arimaspian as Apollo pursued the one-eyed Cyclops. The Cy- 
clopes, children of Neptune, are without government, subsisting 
upon human flesh and blood and upon the uncultivated products of 
the animal and vegetable world. The soil of their land is extreme- 
ly fertile, nourishing dense and shaggy woods. The straits of 
Charybdis and Scylla, the bog of Camarine, the height of Etna and 
the plains of Gela are near by. These features are enumerated in 
connection with the account of the adventures of Ulysses {Odys. ix.) 
and ^neas {^n. iii.) among the Cyclopes. 

951. A universal hubbub, etc. Ulysses, after his escape from 
the Cyclopes, came to another uncultivated land with a city and 
sent messengers to find out who dwelt there. They found the 
I.sestrigonians (\abq + Tpvydu), harvesters of men ; or XaXew + 
rpv^it), to talk excessively), a man-eating race, who attacked them 

Book II.] NOTES ^ 307 

with great clamor and destroyed many of them. Their king was 
named Antiphates {avTi(pT]fii, to speak against ; hence Contradiction). 

960. Chaos, the Anarch, is the ancient Saturn (Kpovog), resem- 
bling him in apprehensiveness, anarchical sway, alliance to dark- 
ness, propensity to devour his own offspring, and unfriendliness to 
order and stability. In Homer and Virgil the king of Hades is 
Aidoneus, or Pluto, the youngest son of Saturn. In Milton, Pluto 
(Ades) is a subordinate. 

Pavi/ion {Fs. xviii. 11) is a shifting or movable dwelling, such as 
suits the ever-varying moods of Chance and Time. 

962. Sad/e-vested Night. Nox (Night), one of the oldest deities, 
is represented in mythology as covered with a black veil, and some- 
times as approaching the earth to extinguish a flaming torch which 
she carries in her hand. The oldest Night had not a starry crown 
like the one who holds in the world divided rule with Day, but co- 
existed with Chaos, unrelieved by sun or starlight (Ovid, Met. i. 
10, 11). Pluto's consort is Proserpina or Persephone (Light- 

964. Orcus (opKog, an oath), the divinity who punishes the false 
or perjured. The punishment of celestial perjury consisted in 
compelling the offending deity to swallow a noxious draught from 
the Styx, and thereupon lie outstretched for one whole year devoid 
of sense and motion and deprived of nectar and ambrosia (Hesiod, 
Theog. 783 et seq.). In brief, Orcus was the divinity who brought 
spirits under the dominion of death. The three of the inner circle 
about the seat of Chaos are distinguished by the powers which they 
exercised over the dead. 

Ades (a + l^tXv, not to see) appears to personify the darkness of 
the grave, and is the divinity who rules the spirits brought by Orcus 
into the region of the dead. 

965. Demogorgon. Faerie QzieenelW.u. i^"]. Associated with 
fate and witchcraft this power is specially invoked in the bringing 
up of ghosts (i Sam. xxviii. 7-14). The terror of his prerogative 
is described by Eliphaz and is manifested by the disciples of Christ 
{Job iv. 13-16 ; Alatt. xiv. 26). 

970. / come no spy, etc. The Sibyl guiding ^neas through the 
Underworld gives like assurance to the apprehensive Charon, ex- 
plains the presence of the living man among the shades, shows the 
golden bough for Proserpina {ALn. vi. 399-407), and at last inquires 
of MusjEus the way to Elysium {ALn. vi. 669-671). 

981. N'o mean recotnpense. His gift to Proserpina (Night) is the 
reduction of the whole World io Chaos (2 Pet. iii. 10-12). 


g86. Standard of ancient Night, the "black flag" under which 
no quarter is given {EccL viii. 8), 

988. Anarch old, etc. Saturn had sway in the first or Golden 
Age, when every man did as he wished. He is an old and infirm 
god with a gloomy countenance that has given us the epithet 
"saturnine." The word "anarch" is supposed to be Milton's 
own invention. 

998. Frontiers. The nearness of. his pavilion implies the speedy 
reduction of nature again to confusion — the passing away of tlie 
fashion of this world. 

looi. Intestine broils. The family quarrels in which old Saturn 
was involved are well known. He made it his rule to devour his 
male children as soon as they were born, but was outwitted by his 
wife, who concealed Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto until they were 

1005. Linked in a golden chain. Spenser speaks of the virtues 
as "a golden chayne," and St. Peter enumerates the component 
links of this chain that binds the World to Heaven. See note on 
iii. 516. 

1009. Havoc and spoil, etc. How familiar are the phrases, 
"the spoils of Time," "the ruins of Time," and the decrepit 
figure of scythe-bearing Saturn ! 

10 13. Springs upward. Note the change of direction at this 

Like a pyramid of fire. The dissolving forces of Hades have 
reduced Satan to simple fire, and in the form of the primitive ele- 
ment of fire he rises out of Chaos. " The solid form of the pyra- 
mid is the original element and seed of fire " (Plato's Tiviccics). 
Compare Varro, quoted by St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei vi. 5. 

1015. Fighting elements. In the middle stratum of Chaos the 
elements of earth, water, and air are contending. The elements 
of earth and water are destructive to the element of fire in which 
Satan rose, and would extinguish it, if brought in contact. To 
avoid these hostile elements was the difficulty. 

1018. Justling rocks. The Cyaneae, Symplegades, or Wander- 
ing Islands, floated about and sometimes united to crush the ships 
passing through the Bosporus. The Argo had a narrow escape 
and lost the extremity of her stern in passing between them. 
Pindar says that they were alive and moved to and fro more swiftly 
than the blasts, until, after the passage of the Argo, Fate "rooted 
them to the deep." 

1020. Charybdis, etc. Satan's peril was like that of the Argo 

Book II.] NOTES 309 

sailing between the rocks, or like that of Ulysses sailing between 
rock and whirlpool. The fiery essence was in danger of extinction 
from the justling atoms of earth and the storm-whirled atoms of 

The three famous voyages of Jason, Ulysses, and .^^neas were 
conceived on the same plan, had nearly the same adventures and 
in the same succession. The monsters, tempests, and hardships 
encountered have an allegorical significance which Milton closely 
studied and interpreted into the language of Christian symbolism. 

1028. Bridge is the proper name for the structure considered in 
its relation to the ocean of Chaos ; regarded in itself, it is a 
"causey" or footwalk (x. 415 ; Matt. vii. 13). The bridge is fast- 
ened to Hell at the gates and to the spherical shell of our World at 
the point farthest to the left. 

1034. Nozv at last, etc. Satan has reached the uppermost of 
the three strata of Chaos, where the element of earth disappears 
and the element of fire takes its part in the chaotic strife. 

Sacred. It is the light of Heaven that makes a dawn in this 
part of space. 

1036. Shoots far, etc. Suggested by Hecate ('E/cdr?;, far-shoot- 
ing), the name of the moon-goddess in the Underworld {^n. iv. 
511). Satan is near the world-ward entrance to Hades, where the 
way lies under, as it were, a treacherous moonlight {y¥ln. vi. 270). 
Heaven is presently rompared to the moon (1. 1053). A title of 
the moon-goddess. Trivia, is explained in this region by the fact 
that it is the point of divergence of the three roads, to Heaven, 
Earth, and Hell (x. 322, 323). 

1037. Nature first begins. Nature means order, organization, 
and life. In what sense it begins within the domain of Chaos be- 
comes clear when we think of the embryonic state in which living 
creatures exist before their birth into the World. 

1043. Like a weather-beaten vessel. Satan is moving along the 
surface of the middle or watery stratum of Chaos, and, as when he 
crossed Lethe, he is compared to a ship. He rises at times into 
the third stratum " resembling air" and has need of wings. The 
motion is now again in a horizontal direction. 

1047. The empyreal Heaven, or Heaven in the Empyrean, as 
distinguished from the intra-mundane heaven, is the place where 
the holy angels dwell. As the dwelling-place of finite beings it 
has limits, but the Empyrean, in which it is situated, has not. 

1048. Square or round. The walls of Heaven are like our own 
horizon wall. The spontaneous opening and closing of the gates, 


the blue of the battlements aloft, the paler opal of the towers below 
and the impossibility of fixing their shape, all establish the fact. 
We speak indifferently of the " four corners of the earth " and the 
" circle of the earth" {Isa. xi. 12 ; xl. 22) ; our horizon wall adapts 
itself to either conception. The appearance, however, of the walls 
from a given point within is always that of a quadrature, or half 
sphere, of which we are the centre (x. 381). 

1052. World. Not the earth, as so many have thought, but our 
whole starry universe. 

In bigness, etc. The two worlds are compared, for their relative 
size, to the largest and the smallest body in our firmament. The 
question at once occurs, Is Satan still so far from the World that 
with all its incomprehensible spaces it seems to him only as a point 
of light ! To this question Professor Masson, in a personal letter, 
replies : " It is not necessary, either for poetical consistency or for 
the syntax of the passage, to suppose that Milton meant to produce 
the exact optical effect, as witnessed by Satan himself. . . . This 
World of ours, in proportion to the Empyrean [Heaven?] from 
which it hangs is but as ' a star of smallest magnitude close by the 
moon.* This idea seems to be confirmed by iii. 422, 423, where 
Milton, resuming the story, says, ' A globe far off it seemed ; now 
seems,' " etc. 



This passage, though in harmony with the sentiment, is an inter- 
ruption to the narrative, and is usually censured as an artistic 
defect, Addison and Masson, however, raise points in Milton's 
defence ; and the lyric beauty of the lines is such that few critics 
vi^ould like to strike them out of the poem. The most serious 
objection is that the poet intrudes himself and his misfortunes, his 
transient personal interests, upon the interests of a World and 
eternity ; but perhaps his view of what man is in the estimation of 
God may have made it seem right for him to do this. It was not 
a mere accident in God's great plan that John Milton became 

I. Offspring of Heaven, etc. Light is reverently conceived of 
either as an attribute of Christ, the first-born of Heaven, or of God 
in his eternal essence {Rev. xxi. 23). In our World light is only 
the "first of things" (vii. 244), a far lower conception. 

7, 8. Or hear st tJiou rather, a classicism for "Art thou rather 
called?" Milton's third suggestion, based upon Job xxxviii. ig, is 
that the origin of light is one of God's secrets purposely hidden 
from human knowledge. 

9. Before the heavens, the visible intra-mundane heavens {Gen. 
i. 3). 

II. The rising ivorld of waters. " Rising " means " being cre- 
ated." Until the third day of creation the earth's surface was all 
of waters. 

17. Other notes, etc. Whatever this may mean, it is not a pre- 
tence to superiority in genius to him " whom universal Nature did 
lament,'" only a difference in inspiration, in purpose, and in mood. 
Neither is it likely that Milton is thinking of the insignificant hymn 
of about a dozen lines " In Praise of Night"' (our star-lit Night) 
attributed to the mythic Orpheus, but rather of the pathetic story 
of this Thracian singer who sought his wife in the world of shades, 
"drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek," and led outward to the 


verge of day "his half-regained Eurydice." Milton's modesty, 
aside from his claim to supremacy in his subject and his divine 
guidance, is evident from ix. 41-47. 

21. Thee I revisit safe. Safe, because at every step he had the 
guidance of his "celestial patroness" who, as we have seen, 
directed him by the Word of God. 

25, 26. Drop se7-ene . . . (/im suffusion. "Two phrases from 
the medical science of Milton's day, Gutta serena, literally ' drop 
serene,' was that form of total blindness which left the eyes per- 
fectly clear, without spot or blemish. Such was Milton's" (see 
Sonnet xxii.), — Massofi. "Suffusio=:cataract." — Bohn. 

27. Muses. He did not disparage classical poetry ; to him it 
was all " sacred," though not equal to that of the Hebrew Script- 

30. Flozvery brooks, Kedron and Siloa. The latter must have 
had precious memories for the poet as the water in which a 
blind man, at the command of Jesus, washed and received his 

32. Nightly, either in his natural or his poetic dreams. Com- 
pare vii. 29 ; ix. 22 ; andy^c<^ xxxv. 10. 

35. Thaviyris, a Thracian mentioned by Homer (//. ii. 595), 
who relates his presumption in challenging the INTuses to a contest 
of song, and his punishment in being deprived by them of sight, 
voice, and skill in music. He is said to have written on the wars 
of the Titans with the gods and on the creation of the World. 

Mceonides, Homer ; so called either from being the son of 
Maeon, or from being a native of Maeonia, a name of ancient 
Lydia, — Clar. Press. 

36. " Tiresias, the blind prophet of Thebes, is a great character 
in the legends and dramas of the Greeks ; Phineus, a blind king 
and prophet, is made by some a Thracian, by others an Arcadian." 
— Masson. The Latin vates was used to designate both poets and 

38. Wakeful bird. Nature's ideal of sweetness in song seems 
to be realized in the nightingale, which sings in darkness. The 
ideal bard, as these examples indicate, is made after the same 
model and shut out from the active world by blindness. Milton 
seems to have thought himself divinely set apart by unmistakable 
indications for the task upon which he is engaged. Such a con- 
viction is of itself an inspiration. 

44. Human face divine. Gen. i. 27. 

Book III.] NOTES 313 


A council opposed to that of the infernal kakistocracy is now in 
session. Critics who despise theology find this part of the poem 
tiresome, but Addison justly remarks: "He [Milton] has repre- 
sented the abstruse doctrines of predestination, free-will, and grace, 
as also the great points of incarnation and redemption (which natu- 
rally grow up in a poem that treats of the Fall of Man) with great 
energy of expression, and in a clearer and stronger light than I ever 
met with in any other writer." The passage now to be considered 
is in fact compacted of hundreds of scriptural texts, easily discov- 
ered with the aid of the Christian Doctrine and a Concordance. 
Though the work has been done, these pages must not be cumbered 
with a multitude of references that would be profitless to most 

57. Pure Empyrean {linrvpiog, in, or on, fire), the highest Heaven 
where the pure element of fire was supposed to subsist. St. Augus- 
tine speaks of that upper fire as " tranquil, pure, harmless, eternal, in 
contrast with earthly fire which is turbid, smoky, corruptible, and 
con-upting" [De Civ. Dei xxii. 12). This highest Heaven Milton 
believes to have been in existence long before the Creation of the 
World, or even that it may have been eternal, though not neces- 
sarily so {Christ. Doct. vii.). 

58. Above all highth. We may think of the throne as at the 
zenith of the Heavenly dome, but the conception dare not be too 

61. Stars, a scriptural designation of the angels {Job xxxviii. 7). 
They receive benediction from God as the planets receive light 
from the sun. 

71, Coasting. "Sailing along the coast," seeking a place for 
attack, as the Spanish Armada sailed along the coast of England. 

75. Without fii'vianient. There is no transpicuous body of air 
resting upon the landscape ; mists conceal it and storms rage over it. 

78, 79. For the manner in which God sees through all time and 
for a Platonic conception of God's way of speaking, consult St. 
Augustine {De Civ. Dei xi. 21 ; xvi. 6). 

95. Pledge. " The tree of knowledge of good and evil was . . . 
a pledge, as it were, a memorial of obedience" {Christ. Doct. x.). 

96. Faithless progeny. " Even such as were not then born are 
judged and condemned in them {Gen. iii. 16, etc.), so that without 
doubt they also sinned in them and at the same time with them " 
{Christ. Doct. xi.). 


102. For a discussion of God's sovereignty as related to man's 
freedom see Christ. Doct. iii. 

io8. " Many there be that complain of Providence for suffering 
Adam to transgress. Foolish tongues ! When God gave him 
reason he gave him freedom to choose, for reason is but choosing ; 
he had else been a mere artificial Adam." — Areopagitica. 

125. Till they enthrall themselves. In the Fall they lost their 
original freedom, so that reason no longer holds sway (y?^?/;?. vii. 15). 

135. Ambrosial fragrance. Fragrance of smell pervades the 
atmosphere of love and here accompanies the promise of mercy. 
What an affluence of rich odors — flowers and fruit, incense and 
spices — there is about the bride and her beloved in Solomon's 
song ! The coming of Raphael, the angel of Love, to Paradise has 
similar associations (v. 286-294). 

136. Elect, "in the sense of beloved or excellent" {Christ. 
Doct. ix.). 

137. Sense of new joy, etc. The rapture of the Bride in the 
presence of her Beloved. 

147. Inmmierable, not reducible to earthly numbers, or verse. 

153-155. The intercession of Abraham for Sodom is the basis of 
these lines (Gen. xviii. 25). 

156-166. The intercession of Moses for the Israelites {Mum: 
xiv. 12-19) proceeds on the argument that if God's peculiar people 
are destroyed, the Egyptians will hear of it and rejoice and question 
the power of God to perform his promises and oaths. 

184. Elect above the rest. God's calling is either general or 
special. His special calling is that whereby he, at the time which 
he thinks proper, invites particular individuals (in preference to 
others), elect as well as reprobate, more frequently and with a 
more marked call than others. Abraham, the Israelites, and Paul 
are given as instances {Christ. Doct. xvii.). 

195. Umpire. Conscience is the moral faculty common to the 
whole race of men and is to be appealed to in judgment {Rom. ii. 

216. Charity so dear. Only divine love could reach so high 
{Rom. V. 7). 

218. Silence was in Heaven. This suggests Rev. viii. i to the 
commentators ; and indeed the poet and the seer are apparently 
describing the same event. In the Apocalypse the silence follows 
the opening of the seals, which may be understood as a disclosure 
of man's destiny such as has just been made by the Almighty. It 
precedes the offering of incense upon the golden altar before the 

Book III.] NOTES 315 

throne — an act which Milton connects with the intercession of the 
Messiah for the penitent of mankind both before and after the 
Fall (xi. 17-44). 

258. By thee raised. " Having triumphed over death and laid 
aside the form of a servant, he was exalted by God the Father 
to a state of immortality and of the highest glory, partly by his 
own merits and partly by the gift of the Father" {Christ. Doct. 

303-322. This passage closely follows Philip, ii. 6-10, containing 
the same argument with a few additions from other parts of the 

322. " This placing Hell in the centre of the earth was probably 
a slip of memory on the part of Milton." — Keightley. The nu- 
merous charges of forgetfulness by this commentator convict him 
of utter ignorance of the poet's mental habits. Milton does not 
here put Hell in the centre of the earth, and he manifests every- 
where a memory, a caution, and a regard for the truth worthy of 
his transcendent intellect. 

353. Amarant (dfidpai'Toi;, unfading), ** Pliny asserts of this 
flower that, though gathered, it keeps its beauty, and even when it 
has faded, it recovers its beauty by being sprinkled with water." — 
Hume. The amaranth is the emblem of Humility, with which 
those are crowned who possess the kingdom of Heaven {Matt. v. 
3). As pride precedes and causes destruction {Prov. xvi. 18), so 
humility brings riches, honor, and life {Prov. xxii. 4). The grace 
is characteristic of children {Matt, xviii. 2-4) and may, therefore, 
fitly be regarded as the crown of perpetual youth. It is com- 
mended by the apostles as an ornament better than braided hair or 
costly pearls, and of great price in the sight of God (i Tim. ii. 9 ; 
dfiapdvTivog, I Pet. iii. 3, 4). 

355. For 7nan s offence to Heaven removed. When at the Fall 
pride took possession of man's natural heart, humility became an 

357. Shading the Fount of Life. The Fount of Life is the 
Redeemer {John iv. 10). Here the flower, though elsewhere but 
an herb, becomes a tree, so far does his humiliation or condescen- 
sion surpass that of any other, angel or man. The word "shad- 
ing " delicately suggests the sorrow which his humiliation cost the 
Son of God. 

358. River of Bliss, etc. The Elysian flowers are the graces, of 
which Humility is chief, covered with benediction by Christ's words 
on the Mount {Matt. v. 3-1 1). 


360. With these, the Elysian' flowers, representing all the 
spiritual graces, 

363. Sea of jasper, the same as the " sea of glass mingled with 
fire" {Rev. xv. 2). The most valued jasper, says Dr. Gill, "is 
green spotted with red or purple," The scene, then, recalls that 
at the dedication of Solomon's temple, when the glory of Jehovah 
filled the house and the people bowed themselves upon the pave- 
ment and offered sacrifices (2 Chron. vii, 1-6), The purple roses 
are substituted for the bleeding victims and the jasper pavement 
for the greensward dyed with blood. These " sacrifices of thanks- 
giving " are the realities corresponding to those grosser sacrifices 
required in the law of Moses. 

365. Then crotvned again. " Before honor is humility." God 
gives "grace to the humble." 

367. Like quivers, because from those harps are drawn the 
psalms and hymns which may be used against spiritual foes 
{Ps. xlv, 5 ; Pev. xv. 2). 

398-402. A similar paean of victory is found in Pev. xv. 1-4. 

413-415. My song . . . my harp. " These expressions suggest 
that, though the passage which they conclude may be read as 
Milton's report of a choral hymn of the angels, Milton himself 
joins the chorus," — Masson. More judicious is the same writer's 
comment on v, 202-204 '• "In the Greek choruses, though many are 
singing, the singular pronoun is used." 


The outside of the World is put by the poet to a use that has 
puzzled commentators and drawn words of severe criticism. Ad- 
dison, Landor, and others condemn the mixture of allegory and 
fact, while Masson, who seldom disapproves, speaks of the passage 
as " extraordinary. " But Milton did not invent this Limbo. In 
the Middle Ages three Limbos were recognized — the Limbus 
Patnim, the Limbus Infantum, and the Limbus Fatuorum. The 
senile, the infantile, and the imbecile are outside the borders of the 
reasonable world ; so are the wicked and impenitent. Though 
Milton did not believe in any intermediate state of activity of the 
soul as separated from the body between death and the Resurrec- 
tion, yet he admits the propriety of speaking of the dead as in two 
distinct spiritual states: " That spiritual state in which the souls as 
well as the bodies of the arising saints previously [/. e., before the 
Resurrection] abode might not improperly be called Paradise " 

Book III.] NOTES 317 

{Chj-ist. Doct. ill.). We have then two Paradises for the dead — 
one for the righteous, apparently within Heaven itself ; the other, 
grimly called the Paradise of Fools, on the reverse side of the 
World in Chaos. 

418. Opacoiis globe. The boundary between Chaos and the 
World and the barrier set by Jehovah to the sea i^Job xxxviii. 11). 

420. Ltiminous infej'ior orbs. " The spheres of the pre-Coper- 
nican system." — Masson. It would seem just as reasonable to say, 
The heavenly bodies as we know them. 

424. Dark, waste, etc. At the entrance to Hades {Odys. xi. 
14-22) Ulysses found the land and the people of the Cimmerians 

"In eternal cloud 
And darkness. Never does the glorious sun 
Look on them with his rays, when he goes up 
Into the starry sky, nor when again 
He sinks from heaven to earth. Unwholesome night 
O'erhangs the wretched race." 

Critics have recognized the resemblance of this to Job iii. 3-9. 

429. Glifimtering, as at the entrance to Virgil's Plades. Old age 
is the natural entrance to Hades, and hence we find the character- 
istics of the place corresponding to those attributed by the Preacher 
to the closing period o^" life {Eccl. xii. 2-6). 

431. Vulture, in allusion to that which fed upon the liver of 
Prometheus. The Iiiiatis (now Altai) range separated the nomadic 
from the settled Tartars, and in more ancient times divided Scythia, 
the country of which Prometheus was king. 

434. Lambs or yeanling kids. Like the liver of the giant these 
symbolize the desires and appetites, the springs of movement and 
action, which fail in age. 

437. Plains of Sericana. The vast sterile spaces known as the 
desert of Cobi symbolize the barrenness in pleasure of unregener- 
ated old age. 

439. Cany wagons. Recent travellers through this region still 
mention the light bamboo wagons bearing sails and driven by the 
wind. Like the grasshopper {Eccl. xii. 5) they represent the trifles 
that are burdensome to the old. 

443. Living or lifeless. Outside of the sphere of light and reason 
already wander in their natural lifetime those of whom the aged 
in their mental imbecility are typical. 

448. All who in vain things, etc. This account of Limbo has 


the same relation to the poem as the book of Ecclesiastes has to the 
Bible and the passage in \\\^\^neid y\. 268-308 has to that epic. 
From these two sources have also come most of the suggestions 
needed by Milton, though he has supplemented them with illustra- 
tions of folly found in sacred history and parable and in profane 

455. Unaccomplished works of Nature, t.\.Q.. This Limbo at the 
entrance of Hades, like the land of the Cimmerians around the 
Palus Maeotis (Maiwrte, apparently from /taievw), is a sort of border- 
land to Life receiving its waste and imperfect physical as well as 
intellectual products. " The rubbish heap of the universe " it has 
been called. 

459. Not in the neighboring juoon. " Milton here alludes to and 
corrects Ariosto {Orlando Fzirioso xxxiv. 70) who makes Astolfo 
ascend, under St. John's guidance, to the moon." — Clar. Press. 
More likely the allusion is to the old astrologic teaching that the 
moon causes madness and disorders of the brain and reason — a doc- 
trine that has given us such words as lunacy, moonstruck, etc. 

461. Translated saints, etc. The moon is a fitter symbol of 
reason than of folly (note on 726-734), and hence may be taken as 
the Elysium of the wise and just, while its " argent fields" are the 
meadows of white asphodel, where the faithful rest as in the bosom 
of Abraham. 

466. Babel. The object of the builders was human glory {Gen. 
xi. 4 ; Luke xiv. 28-30). 

471. Empedocles {t\nn^oc, + kXsoc, lasting glory), a Sicilian phi- 
losopher who flourished B.C. 444. The volcano, by throwing out 
one of his sandals, revealed the manner of his death. He is typical 
of the few who brave hardships and death itself for honor among men. 

473. Cleombrotus {K\eog + d/xfipoTog, glory immortal), an Aca- 
demic philosopher of Ambracia, in Epirus. After reading the 
Phcedo of Plato he killed himself. He typifies those who seek 
escape from the hardships of life and the fear of death by suicide. 

474. Embryos. Those who, convinced of the truth of Christian- 
ity, are deterred by the fear of man from professing it {John xii. 
42, 43)- 

Idiots. In contrast with the embryos, those who having the out- 
ward semblance lack the inward knowledge or Christianity {Rovi. 
ii. 28, 29). 

Eremites. Those \\\\o put the light under a bushel {Matt. v. 14-16). 

Friars. In contrast with the hermits, those whose religion con- 
sists in externals, who wear it as a cloak for selfishness. 

Book III.] NOTES 319 

475. White, black, and grey. Carmelites, Dominicans, and 

476. Pilgrims. Ltike xxiv. 5, 25. 

479. " Alluding to the old superstition that if a man were buried 
in a friar'shabit he never came into Hell." — Clar. Press. Compare 
Matt. xxii. 11-13 ; Zech. xiii. 4. 

481-483. Milton uses the language of the Ptolemaic system as 
modified by Alphonso of Castile in which the Earth was the centre 
of the Universe, and the ten spheres revolved about the Earth, 
carrying the heavenly bodies with them. The connection in which 
this reference stands forbids the belief that the poet meant to give 
his approval to the correctness of the system. 

Planets seven. The seven planetary spheres, beginning with the 
lowest, were those of the Moon, Mercury. Venus, the Sun, Mars, 
Jupiter, and Saturn. 

The Fixed. The eighth sphere was that of the fixed stars. 

482. Crystalline Sphere. " To account for the very slow change 
called the 'precession of the equinoxes,' it had been necessary to 
imagine a ninth sphere, called the ' Crystalline Sphere,' beyond 
that of the Fixed Stars ; and finally, for further reasons, it had 
been necessary to suppose all enclosed in a tenth sphere called the 
' Primum Mobile,' or ' First Moved.' " — Masson. 

484. Saint Peter. In Christ. Doct. xxix., Milton argues at some 
length that not to Peter exclusively or in a higher sense than to the 
other apostles were the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven committed, 
and that therefore the authority derived from him by the Roman 
pontiffs is without foundation. Fools above all men are those who 
are so easily deceived in matters of the highest importance (2 Thess. 
ii. II). 

487. Cross wind, the whirlwind of judgment which those who 
sow the wind (vanity) are to reap {Hos. viii. 7 ; Prov. xxii. 8). 

496, Few. Matt. vii. 14 ; yFln. vi, 744. The use of the words 
"long after" indicates that the "few " especially referred to are 
such as here and there saw and withstood the stupendous fraud of 
mediaeval ecclesiasticism, the last conspicuous folly on a continental 


The gate of Solomon's temple and the gates of the new Jerusa- 
lem supply many features of this description. As in them, every 
feature is the embodiment of some spiritual Iruth. 

505, Kingly palace-gate. The gate to the Kingdom of Heaven 



[Cook III. 

is Righteousness {Ps. cxviii. 19, 20), The temple at Jerusalem 
was sometimes called a palace (i Chron. xxix. i, 19), and, built 
under divine instruction (2 Chron. iii. 3), became to men the visible 
symbol of Heaven. 

506. Diamond and gold. It is everlasting and incorruptible 
— thieves cannot break through and rust cannot corrupt. The two 
pillars at the entrance to Solomon's temple were named Jachin and 
Boaz — stability and strength. 

507. Sparkling orient gems. The gates of the new Jerusalem 
are of pearls {Rev. xxi. 21). To those who enter it is like the 
coming of day, and the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in 
his wings {Mai. iv. 2). 

510. The stairs -were such, etc. Gen, xxviii. 10-22. Jacob 
named the place where he dreamed Bethel, the house of God, and 
spoke of it as the gate of Heaven. It is a necessar\^ conclusion 
that he took the ladder as a stairway leading up to the gate. 

516. Mysteriously was meant. The one transcendent mystery of 
our religion is the incarnation of Christ {Christ. Doct. xiv.). The 
poet probably means that each of the steps implies a virtue found 



Tht: GAT£- 






LIMB OX ->>'' 



in perfection only in ^Christ. The chain binding the World to 
Heaven (ii. 1005, see note) on a nearer approach resolves itself 
into a stainvay, the steps of which are faith, virtue, knowledge. 

Book III.] XOTES 321 

temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, 
and lead by a sure way ' ' into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ " (2 Pet. i. 5-12). 

51S. A bright sea. These were the waters under the threshold 
of Ezekiel's temple {Ezek. xlvii. 1-5). The "argument" to this 
book speaks of them as " the waters above the firmament." They 
are, therefore, on the border of this World, and to cross them 
means to go out of the World. They are thus clearly distinguished 
as the waters of death. 

520. Sailing arrived. Most of those who came from earth to 
Heaven passed through the river of Death, sustained by God's 
angels in the passage {Luke xvi. 22). 

522. Rapt in a chariot. A few, as Elijah, were translated, borne 
over the river of Death without touching its waters (2 Kings ii 11,12). 

524. To aggravate, etc. The way of righteousness is clearly 
seen and deliberately rejected (2 Fet. ii. 21). 

529. Wider, etc. The enlargement of the width of the opening 
beyond the extent of the Promised Land along the whole eastern 
frontier of which the Jordan (river of Judgment), the conventional 
emblem of death, flows is probably intended to express symboli- 
cally the fact that before Satan entered the World death was not a 
necessity in passing from Earth to the heavenly Canaan. 

539. Such as bound the ocean wave. Job xxxviii. 9-20. The 
continent of Heaven forms its shore and the empyreal air rests 
upon it. 


The interior of the World, particularly the Sun, is now described. 
The light of the Sun typifies Truth, whose effect upon a corrupt 
spirit is to engender falsehood and hypocrisy. The mysticism is 

540. On the lower stair. This stair is Faith, which devils have 
in common with saints ; the devils also believe and tremble {James 
ii. 19). 

543-553. As -when a scout, etc. The comparison is an allusion 
to the adventures of yEneas after his landing near Carthage, city of 
the Poeni {whence punica Jdes, i. e., bad faith, treachery). Driven 
ashore by a dark and perilous storm and having wandered through 
an uncultivated land, in the morning he ascended a high hill and 
was affected with wonder at his first view of the rising city with its 
massive and beautiful structures {^n. i. 419-438). The quality of 
Satan's faith is thus suggested. 


556. Above the circling canopy. The conical shadow cast by the 
opaque earth reaches not near the point whence Satan views the 
World. Material objects do not interfere with the view from the 
lofty stand-point of Faith. 

557. From eastern poitit , etc. When Satan entered the World 
Libra was in the east and Aries in the west. According to tradi- 
tion the World was created in the spring-time ; the sun was there- 
fore in Aries (x. 329) and with that constellation beyond the west- 
ern horizon at Satan's entrance. It follows that the time was soon 
after sunset. 

558. Fleecy star that bears Andromeda. When Aries is in the 
west, Andromeda lies above it. Andromeda (dW/p + firjSta, Human 
Care) represents the anxiety and weariness accumulated during 
the day and borne away by sleep, typified in the "fleecy star" 
(compare " dewy- feathered Sleep," // Fenseroso, 146). Aries de- 
scending in the west takes with it the cares of the day as night 
comes on inducing sleep. The "Atlantic seas'* symbolize the 
troubled scenes of human life. Doubtless the words also have 
some reference to the Lamb of God, the bearer of all human sin 
and care {John i. 29 ; i Pet. v. 7). 

562. World's Jirst region. At this hour the zenith was occupied 
by the Milky Way which marks the path taken by the Fiend. The 
description of the Milky Way by Ovid {Met. i. 167-177) furnishes 
many of the objects mentioned as lying along Satan's course. 

564. Oblique. The Galaxy extends transversely across the heav- 
ens and furnishes a suitable highway for Satan, who always seeks 
crooked courses. Ovid declares it to be the way of the gods to 
the palace of Jupiter. 

568. Hesperian gardens. The stars are the true Hesperides, or 
islands of the evening, from which toil and care are absent. Home 
joys flourish under their genial light. 

572. Likest Heaven. Because it is a symbol of the Divine Law 
{Ps. xix.) which is an "example and shadow of heavenly things" 
{Heb. viii. 5). The poet seems to have the nineteenth Psalm in 
mind throughout his whole description of the sun. 

574. But tip ordozvn, etc. The phrase "hard to tell," as well as 
the various kinds of motion described, points to Pjvv. xxx, 18, 19, 
which mentions as hard to understand the way of an eagle through 
the air, the way of a serpent on a rock, and the way of a ship on 
the sea. The serpent moves by undulations up and down ; the 
eagle flies in a spiral with the sun, sometimes central, sometimes 
eccentric ; the ship moves from side to side to escape the force of 

Book III.] NOTES 32^ 

adverse winds. Satan's crooked course may have resembled any or 
all of these (compare ix. 510-518, 631-633). 

583. Magnetic beam. The attractiveness of the light is matched 
by that of God's law {Ps. xix. 10). There is abundant evidence 
that the spiritual conception proceeds /an /a; jjz< with the natural, 

586. Shoots invisible virtue, etc. Ps. xix. 6. The classical 
epithet of the sun-god is "E/carof, the far-shooting. 

588. A spot, etc. Satan seeking information from the angel of 
the Sun is like the murderous Herod consulting the sacred oracles 
to find the birthplace of the second Adam {Matt. ii. 4-6). 

596. If stone, etc. Milton combines the stones in Aaron's 
breastplate with those in the foundation of the New Jerusalem, 
thus bringing together the beginning and the end of the Divine 
Word. Carbuncle is mentioned in the first but not in the second ; 
chrysolite in the second but not in the first. These two kinds, red 
and gold, are pre-eminently the colors of light. 

600. That stone, etc. The Spirit of the Lord, acting through 
the Word, converts the soul {Ps. xix. 7, 12). The "philosopher's 
stone " which was to transmute all baser metals into gold was no 
more eagerly sought by the studious alchemists than a means of re- 
storing the human heart to purity was by the moralists. Gifts, sac- 
rifices, and carnal ordinances were vain to satisfy the conscience 
{Heb. ix. 9, 10). 

603. Bind volatile Hermes. In physical science this means to 
solidify quicksilver ; in mental science, the power of synthesis. 

Call tip iinbotind, etc. " Proteus, in legend the sea-god whom it 
was almost impossible to fix in his nature or real shape, so many 
disguises could he assume, stands here for the elementary matter or 
' prime substance ' of the alchemists. " — Masson. In mental sci- 
ence this represents the power of analysis. The meaning of the 
whole is that with all their powers of analysis and synthesis men 
have failed to devise that which will purify a defiled conscience. 

607. Elixir pure . . . potable gold. The elixir vitce and the 
aurum potabile were sought after as means to secure perpetual 
youth and health. The Word of God is a cordial "rejoicing the 
heart " {Ps. xix. 8) ; it converts the soul {Ps. xix, 7), and even in 
the unfriendly atmosphere of earth produces glorious effects by its 
wondrou alchemy {Ps. xix, 12, 13), 

614. bndazzled, because he has not the vision to see the truth 
in its power {Ps. cxix, 18 \Job xxxviii, 15). 

616. As when his beams, etc. I John i. 5-7. At the sun the 
rays are everywhere vertical as they are on the earth's equator at 


noon. Within the temple of Jove on Mount Lycseus (Xvkt;, light) 
no shadows were projected from the bodies of animals. The whole 
of Peloponnesus might be seen from this mountain {Fausanius 
viii. 28). 

620. Sharpenea his visttal ray. Ps. xix. 8. 

625. Tiar, the crown of oriental kings. Phoebus, the sun-god, 
has a crown of rays (Ovid, Met. ii, 40, 41). "The prudent are 
crowned with knowledge." 

630. Glad was the spirit, etc. Truth and hypocrisy meet here 
as when the wise men from the East met Herod, The cruel king 
was glad to meet the sages, and deceitfully professed devotion to 
Christ in order to accomplish his murderous purpose {Matt. ii. 1-8). 

636. A stripling cherub, Cupid in the borrowed form which he 
often assumed in order to deceive and destroy {ALn. i. 670-711). 
The flowing hair, the coronet, the youth, the grace, the many-col- 
ored plumes, all belong to Cupid. Compare Faerie Queene II. 
viii. 5, 6. 

645. Drew not nigh unheard. Hypocrites are fond of proclaim- 
ing their zeal {Matt. vi. 2). 

648. Uriel (God's Light) is prominent as an archangel in 2 
Esdras. In the natural world he is the angel of Light ; in the 
moral world, the angel of Truth. Of the angels Milton says 
{Christ. Doct. ix.) : "Seven of these in particular are described as 
traversing the earth in the execution of their ministry. Zech. iv. 10, 
' those seven are the eyes of Jehovah which run to and fro through 
the whole earth.' Rev. v. 6, ' which are the seven Spirits of God 
sent forth into all the «arth.' See also i. 4 and iv. 5." 

657. Interpreter. The light enables men to see the works which 
declare the glory of God. The sun is therefore the chief interpreter 
{Ps. xix. 1-4). 

658. All his Sons attend. When the light of God's truth comes 
among men, few heed its message ; in Heaven all obey gladly — 
witness the joy at the first dawn of Creation {Job xxxviii. 7, 24). 

666. Fro7n quires of Cherubim. As a lover of wisdom this was 
his proper resort. 

667. Brightest Seraph. The designation of Uriel, though some 
question it, is exact. As an angel of light he is a Seraph ; as the 
angel of the chief orb of light he is the brightest of his class ; 
and because his orb is the ruler of the day, by divine appoint- 
ment {Gen. i. 16) he is an archangel. 

671. That I may find him, etc. The pretence of Herod by 
which the Magi were temporarily deceived. 

Book III.] NOTES 325 

686. Suspicion sleeps, etc. Suspicion (Subtilty, Prov. i. 4) is the 
Argus set as a watch-dog at the gate of Wisdom's house (see Odys. 
xvii. 292). The original hundred-eyed Argus (surnamed Panoptes, 
All-seeing) was lulled to sleep, it is said, by Mercury with the music 
of his flute. 

697. Merits praise. The Queen of Sheba is praised {Matt. xii. 
42) for having come in person, not satisfied with report, to hear the 
wisdom of Solomon. 

709. Came to a heap. A heap in Scripture means a ruin {Isa. 
XXV. 2). It stands as an intermediate step between Chaos and 
order. It is the material collected for the building. 

711. Infinitude confined. When the Almighty "set a compass 
on the face of the depth " {Prov. viii. 27). 

712. Second bidding. The first brought Silence, the second 
Light. In the spiritual sense the first is necessary to the second. 

716. Quintessence. "Aristotle supposed besides the four ele- 
ments a fifth essence out of which the ethereal bodies were formed, 
and of which the motion was orbicular." — Clar. Press. This quin- 
tessence is Light (vii. 244). 

721. The rest, etc. The materials not needed for the interior 
were made into a wall to protect the treasures of Creation. 

726. Moon. Uriel fully describes the manner in which the 
World is lighted— information of the first importance to this spirit 
of spoliation and murde". 

734. Those lofty shades, etc. Like Hezekiah showing his treas- 
ures to the emissaries of Babylon {Isa. xxxix. 2). Uriel exposes to 
the covetous spirit the most precious things within his charge. 
The shades were intended for secrecy and careful concealment. 

736. Bowing lozu. Satan for once does reverence to Truth. 
Uriel is accustomed to such honor in Heaven, where all respect 
the truth and act in accordance with it. Nothing is here which 
ought to shock even M. Taine's democratic soul. 

742. Niphates {^KpaTrjg, quasi 'Ni(piTU)dT]g, snowy), now Nimroud 
Tagh, is a lofty mountain range in Armenia and the northern 
boundary of Eden (Assyria). Armenia is mentioned in the Bible 
only as the country to which the murderers of Sennacherib, king of 
Assyria, fled {Isa. xxxvii. 38). Satan selects the murderers' refuge. 


Satan on the border of Assyria (Eden) manifests the emotions of 
one who is about to take an innocent life. The temper and feel- 
ings of many murderers spoken of in the Scriptures are attributed 
to him. 

I. for that warning voice, etc. The wish has a partial fulfil- 
ment in the visit of Raphael, the angel of Rev. viii. 13, who 
brings a warning. The poet's prayer, however, seems to be for 
the more specific and stirring alarm of Rev. xii. 12. 

3. Second rout. The first was in the expulsion from Heaven, as 
narrated in the sixth book. 

13. Not rejoicing. Compare //. vii. 216. Herod Antipas, the 
slayer of John the Baptist, was "sorry" when asked to kill the 
prophet, though heartily desiring the death {Matt, xiv, 9). 

18. Horror and donht, etc, " Horror " is the revulsion of nature 
from the crime ; " doubt" is the fear of consequences. Both ele- 
ments entered into the hesitation of Herod and Pilate {Mark vi. 
20, 26 ; John xix. 8, 12), Thus Hell was at once within them and 
round about them, 

32, O thou, etc. Edward Phillips, Milton's nephew, tells us 
that the six lines beginning here were at first intended by the poet 
as the opening of Lucifer's part in the tragedy to be called Adam 

41. Matchless, etc, Paul (Saul), while persecuting and slaying 
Christians, was engaged in a like insane contest {Acts xxvi. 14), 

48. How due, etc. The owner of the vineyard {Matt, xxi, 34- 
41) who sent at the proper season to collect his fruits typifies God 
who seeks for gratitude from his creatures, Satan is like the hus- 
bandmen who killed the messengers from their lord, and intend- 
ed after slaying his son to seize the inheritance and escape the 

63, Drawn to his part, etc. When the rebel Absalom stole the 
hearts of the Israelites from his father, many of the best and brav- 

Book IV.] NOTES 

est, either from love to the rightful monarch or from outw ■ > i 
nections, adhered to David (2 Sam. xv. 6, 15). 

67. What to accuse, etc. David's great love for his 
gave Absalom the opportunity for concocting rebellion, ; 
rebellion produced a Shimei who cursed the good king 
xviii. 5 ; xvi. 5-13). 

76. A lower deep, etc. Under his curse the first murde 
out, " My punishment is greater than I can bear," yet sevenioia 
vengeance was to overtake the slayer of Cain, and seventy-seven- 
fold the slayer of his descendant, the murderer Lamech {Gett. iv. 
15. 24). 

79. O then at last relent. Addressed by Satan to himself, and 
not, as Keightley thinks, to God. 

82. Disdain . . . shame. Herod could not endure the humilia- 
tion of breaking his oath and the fear of ridicule when the question 
of killing John was decided {Matt. xiv. 9 ; //, xxii, 99-108). 

88. Under what torments, etc. Even while Herod was being 
worshipped as a god he was smitten for his impiety with a loath- 
some disease {Acts xii. 21-23). 

93-99. Compare this with the history of Absalom, especially the 
last lines with 2 Sam. xvi. 21, 22. 

103. This knows my Punisher, etc. The law of Moses per- 
mitted no satisfaction for the life of a murderer {Mum. xxxv. 31). 
Achilles contemptuously refused to make a compact with Hector 
(//. xxii, 260-267). 

108. With hope farewell fear. The murderous Moloch has 
lost both hope and fear (ii. 45-50). 

112. More than half. "By reigning in Hell and the World 
and leaving to God only Heaven." — Clar. Press. 

115. Thrice changed, etc. Probably in allusion to Lycaon 
{kvKTj, light) who was changed into a wolf for his cruelty. The 
name Lycaon is suggestive of that *' angel of light " into which the 
ravenous Satan had been transformed. 

120. Outward calm, etc. The sheep's clothing worn by moral 
wolves {Matt. vii. 15-20). 

128. Fierce. Like the murderous spirits in Matt. viii. 28 and 
Mark v. 2-5. 


Satan is now within the direct influence of Paradise, The gar- 
den has not only (i) the natural features of Gen. ii. but also the 
marks and qualities of (2) God's Holy Mountain, (3) the Congrega- 

323 J'A.kADISE lost [Book IV. 

tion of the Faithful, and (4) the Bride of Christ. All these, in- 
fleed, are bat different forms of expression for the same thing. 
For the allegorical interpretations of Paradise in the early church 
see St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei xiii. 21. 

132. Eden, in Hebrew, means Pleasantness or Joy, and is sy- 
nonymous with Asshur ,'A.ssyria). 

Faradise is a Persian word whose meaning is contained in the 
epithet here joined with it. 

133. Enclosure here is not the same as the " wall" below, but 
the whole mount of Paradise considered as a feature in the land- 
scape. " Ezekiel xxviii. 13, 14 appears to have led to the notion 
that the garden was on the summit of a hill, as described by Dante 
and Ariosto." — Clar. Press. 

135. Wilderness. The approach to the dwelling-place of the 
Bride in the Song is through a wilderness {Cant. iii. 6 ; viii. 5). 

Hairy. The Latin cof/ia and the Greek ko^i} are used to desig- 
nate the foliage of trees. 

139. Cedar, etc. Cedars and firs are among the trees "in the 
garden of God^" {Ezek. xxxi. 8). The cedar, the fir, and the pine are 
trees of God's planting for his servants in the wilderness {Isa. xli. 
19). The good man is symbolized by the palm and the cedar [Fs. 
xcii. 12). 

140. As the ranks ascend. The trees outside of the wall, but a 
part of the general enclosure, represent those righteous men who, 
obeying the voice of conscience and following the light of nature, 
served God without the fuller revelation of his love in the Redeemer. 

142. Higher than their tops. Christ taught that the least in the 
Kingdom of Heaven is greater than the greatest saint outside 
{Matt. xi. II ; xiii. 17). 

143. Verdurous wall. The Bride in the Song {Ca^it. iv. 12) is 
spoken of as "a garden enclosed ;" and the house of Israel is de- 
scribed as a vineyard on a very fruitful hill and enclosed with a 
hedge. Both are typical of the church of God. 

147. Goodliest trees, etc. Emblematical of true disciples who 
bear much fruit and gladden the heart of the Saviour {John xv. 

8, II). 

155. Vernal delight. It is always Spring when the Beloved 
meets the Bride. " The winter is past, the rain is over and gone " 
{Cant. ii. 11-13). 

156. Gentle gales, etc. The south wind, wafting the odors of 
Paradise, whispers to Satan yet at a distance of its loveliness and 
wealth {Cant. iv. 13-16). 

Book IV.] NOTES 329 

159. As when to them 7vho sail, etc. Keightley thinks that the 
poet here imagines an impossibility: "When a vessel going to 
India has passed Mozambique, the coast of Arabia is due north of 
her, and at an immense distance, with a portion of the east coast 
of Africa interposed." But perhaps the voyage is not to India ; it 
may be through the gulf of Aden (Eden) to the town of the same 
name, before the Christian era an important commercial point in 
the trade between Europe and Asia. In passing through the gulf 
the ship's crew might enjoy the spicy odors wafted out to sea from 
Arabia Felix, 

168. Than Asmodeus, etc. " The commentators unanimously 
condemn the semi-burlesque ending of a beautiful passage." — Clar. 
Press. But consider the poet's object. The odor of prosperity 
from Paradise came to Satan as the odor of fish comes to a cormo- 
rant (196), stimulating the appetite instead of nauseating. The 
material wealth and comfort which crown the industry of a 
Christian community are attractive even to those who cannot en- 
dure the spiritual conditions. Many follow Christ for " loaves 
and fishes " rather than for the " bread of life " {John vi. 26, 27). 

170. TobWs son. Masson's summary of the points in the story 
is brief and clear. " In the book of Tobit the evil spirit Asmodeus, 
in love with a Jewess named Sara, living in the Median city of 
Ecbatane, destroys her husbands in succession, till at last, after 
her betrothal to Tobias, the son of Tobit, he is foiled. Instructed 
by the archangel Raphael, Tobias burns the heart and liver of a 
fish, ' the which smell when the evil spirit had smelled, he fled 
into the utmost parts of Egypt, and the angel bound him.' " 


In Paradise there are three very distinctly marked localities — 
the Entrance, the Bower with its surroundings, and the neighbor- 
hood of the trees of Life and of Knowledge. These localities 
correspond to the three parts of the human soul — the Intellect, the 
Sensibilities, and the Will. The last is the seat of Authority. 
There is also such a seat in the church {Matt, xxiii. 2), and Satan 
assumes it in mounting the Tree of Life. 

175. Brake, etc. A hedge is at the foot of the hill as a wall is 
about its top. When Jehovah descended upon Mount Sinai to 
declare his law, bounds were set about the mount so that neither 
man nor beast might touch it {Exod. xix. 12, 13). The requisites 
for citizenship on Mount Zion are given in Psalm xv. 


i8i. At one slight bound, etc. He despises both Law and 

183, As when a prowling wolf, etc. //. xii. 299-306 ; John 
X. 12. 

188. Or as a thief, etc. John x. i ; Matt. xxiv. 43. 

193. In one of his prose pamphlets Milton says that it is the 
scent of gain that attracts hireling teachers into the church. To 
get rid of such hirelings he favored the abolition of compulsory 
church rates. 

194. On the Tree of Life, etc. Its elevation and central posi- 
tion put it in the place of Authority. Hirelings assume the high- 
est seats and most vital offices in the church, namely, those of 
instruction and rule. Instruction is the life of the soul {Prov. iv. 
13) ; and when the people are not fed v/ith spiritual truth, they 
starve and become morally rotten {Lycidas 1 13-129). 

196. Like a cormorant. The cormorant {corvus f?iai'inus) is a 
sea-bird that lives entirely on fish. Christian ministers are " fish- 
ers of men'" {Matt, iv, 19) ; they take men to save them ; while 
false teachers, like the cormorant, take them to devour them, 

199 Only used for prospect, etc. " This passage has puzzled all 
commentators. What use could Satan have made of the tree ? 
He was immortal already." — Clar. Press. The answer is easy 
when Satan's attitude is considered. He is like those hypocrites 
who have seized places of power and influence in spiritual affairs 
for material advantage. The holding of a sacred office and even 
the preaching of the Gospel from mercenary motives will not in- 
sure salvation {Matt, xxiii ; vii. 21-23). 

203, Pei'verts best things. " Godliness is gain " is changed to 
" Gain is godliness" (i Tim. vi. 5, 6), 

210. Eden stretched her line, etc. How positive the poet is in 
fixing the site of Paradise, which has been variously assigned to 
every quarter of the globe ! How does he reach such definite 
knowledge ? In the first place he gets from the prophet Daniel 
(xi. 45) the site of the " Holy Mountain " on whose summit Para- 
dise was planted at the spot where Seleucia, the capital of the 
Grecian conquests in Upper Asia, afterwards arose on the banks 
of the Tigris. Then he is apparently justified by Ezekiel (xxxi.) 
in regarding Eden as synonymous with Assyria. Telassar is sup- 
posed to be, like Assyria, derived from Asshur (Happy). For a 
time the western boundary of the Assyrian empire, under the Ma- 
cedonian dynasty {Dan. viii, 9), was Palestine. On the eastern 
border of the ancient land of Israel was Auran or Hauran (the 

Book IV.] NOTES ^^l 

modern name of Bashan). This point of measurement is evidently 
selected by Milton because of Ps. Ixviii. 15, " The hill of God is 
as the hill of Bashan ; an high hill as the hill of Bashan." The line 
is stretched from the high hill of God on the east, across a once 
fertile almost perfectly level plain, to a similar hill of Bashan on 
the west. 

219. Ambrosial fruit. Ambrosia was the food of the gods and 
the support of their immortality. Such fruit is still furnished 
from Heaven to heirs of the celestial Paradise {John vi. 27-65). 

223. A river large, etc. The river is the Tigris (ix. 71) on which 
Paradise was situated at the point where Seleucia was subsequently 
built, and where the Euphrates and the Tigris were formerly 
joined by a channel uniting the two. The Tigris at several places 
in its course falls into subterranean caverns and disappears, reap- 
pearing again many miles farther on. It gets its name from the 
swiftness of its waters. 

233. Four main streams, etc. Gen. ii, 10-14. 

241. Not nice Art, etc. The spiritual graces are now the result 
of much attention and discipline, developing here and there in fre- 
quented spots under careful culture and training ; in Paradise they 
flourished spontaneously and universally, in retirement (shade) as 
well as in publicity (sunlight). 

248-256. Wept odorous gums, etc. These features of the Gar- 
den are all found in the garden of the Song. The "odorous 
gums" (myrrh) represent Pity {Cant. v. 5) ; "balm" is Sympathy; 
the " fruit of golden rind" seems to be Love {Caitt. ii. 3, 4). 

257. Another side, etc. Some thirty lines, beginning here, pre- 
sent features of the landscape that correspond to parts in the head 
of the Bride. 

258. The mantling vine, etc. " The hair of thine head [is] like 
purple {Cant. vii. 5). 

261. Or in a lake, etc. " Thine eyes [are] like the fish pools in 
Heshbon {Cant. vii. 4). The myrtle wreath was given of old to 
bloodless victors, and fitly adorns the brows of those who conquer 
by love. The lake crowned with myrtle typifies the eyes of the 
Bride full of gentleness— " Thou hast doves' eyes within thy 

266. Universal Pan. Pan (Health) is the god of shepherds and 
of music and the dance, like the Lover in the Song {Cant. i. 7 ; 
ii. 8-13). Of the head the tongue is the tuneful member, and in 
perfect health is full of joyful eloquence and poetry. 

269. Enna, whence Proserpina, the daughter of Ceres, was car- 


ried off by Dis, or Pluto, was in the centre of Sicily in a region 
of corn-fields. See Ovid, Met. v. 341, etc. 

273. Daphne, etc. The famous Castalian spring was on Mount 
Parnassus in Greece ; but the one here meant was near Apollo's 
sacred grove of Daphne not far from Antioch. 

275. N'yseian isle. The name Nysa was applied to several 
places sacred to Bacchus. Milton's " Nyseian isle " is supposed to 
be an island in Lake Tritonis, about the middle of the northern 
coast of Africa, where the river Triton flows from the lake. In 
the common legend Bacchus is brought up secretly at Nysa to 
avoid the wrath of Juno ; here it is to avoid the wrath of Rhea, 
Saturn's wife and Jupiter's step-mother. — Masson. 

281. Todd quotes from Heylin's Microcos/mis, published 1627: 
"The hill of Amara is a day's journey high: on the toppe 
whereof are 34 pallaces, in which the younger sons of the em- 
peror are continually enclosed to avoid sedition." The four 
places mentioned are noted for very different features, and, judged 
from comparisons in the Song, are intended to furnish an analogy 
to the Cheeks, Ikows, Nose, and I.ips of the Bride in their perfect 
proportions and beauty. The possible remoteness of the lips from 
the heart and the danger of mistaking the one for the other are 
set forth in the opposition between Mount Amara and true Para- 
dise {Matt. XV. 8). 

289. Ej'ect . . . native, etc. Eccl. vii. 29. "Native" is op- 
posed to borrowed. Their majesty is not due to dress ; their 
righteousness is their own {Ps. viii. 5-8). 

293. Sanctitiide severe and pure. By the former of these he 
means Justice — that virtue which decides with strict fairness be- 
tween man and man ; by the second Honesty, which decides with 
like fairness between self and others. Here truly we have the 
foundation of " authority in man." 

299. He for God only, etc. The relation and distinction of the 
sexes are set forth in i Cor. xi. 3-15 and i Tim. ii. 8-14. Observe 
that Satan beholds the indications of supremacy and subjection 
from his seat on the Tree of Life, the place of authority and 

311. The coyness of the Bride and her " amorous delay " appear 
in the Song of Songs. She hides from view that she may hear the 
voice of her Lover calling her forth ; she seems reluctant that the 
sweet urgency of love may compel her {Cant, ii, 14 ; i. 4). 

325. Under a tuft of shade, etc. The fifteen lines beginning 
here are based upon Cant. ii. 3-6, where the Bride banquets with 

Book IV.] NOTES 333 

her Beloved. The shade probably signifies a temporary relaxation 
of authority in the tenderness and perfect equality of love. 

340. About them frisking played, etc. In the Holy Mountain 
the fiercest animals were in subjection {Isa. xi. 6-9). Like them, 
the bodily instincts in the spiritual analogue were at first under the 
control of reason. Both animals and instincts now too often 
spurn control. 

354. Oceati Isles. Apparently the Azores named in line 592, 

Ascending scale. Easily suggested by the rising of Libra as the 
sun went down with Aries. But the whole heaven is conceived of 
as a balance with its fulcrum on the Tree of Life, the highest 
point in Paradise. 

361. A^ot spirits, etc. Ps. viii. 5. 

366. Ah! gentle pair, etc. The plot of Satan against the first 
Adam and his consort is a parallel to that against the second 
Adam and his band of disciples. Satan entered Judas and was 
thus able to observe the most tender intercourse at the last Supper ; 
through the traitor a league ("covenant") was made with the mor- 
tal enemy ; this enemy brought out all his dignitaries to seize the 
victims ; and state reasons were advanced to justify the seizure 
(see Ltike xxii. 3, 5, 52 and John xi. 47-52). Compare also the 
devices of the tempter, Prov. i. 10-14. 


Satan descends from his lofty seat of authority to the earth and 
mingles with the lower animals, entering the body now of one, then 
of another. In so doing he assumes the character of Bacchus, the 
wine-god, whose chariot — a chariot denotes rapture — is drawn by 
wild beasts and who himself enters the bodies of lions and other 
fierce, cruel, and deceitful creatures. This idea may have been 
suggested to the poet by the fact that when the traitor Iscariot 
had received the sop dipped in wine Satan entered into him and 
hurried him to the execution of his fiendish design {John xiii. 26, 
27). The scene probably signifies that Satan has here determined 
to make his approach to man through the animal instincts and 

402. A lion. When Bacchus assisted the gods in their war 
against the giants he assumed for the occasion the form of a lion. 

403. A tiger. Bacchus is fabled to have conquered India, the 
haunt of the tiger, and sometimes jid«..s in a chariot drawn by 


404. Two gentle fawns. Bacchus is sculptured by the ancient 
artists with a nebris, or fawn skin, thrown over his shoulders. 

410. Turned him all ear, etc. Satan became all ear, or all at- 
tention with his ear, to absorb "new utterance," other than that 
of expressive gesture, look, and attitude, namely, that of articulate 
speech, to which up to this moment he had been a stranger. 

424. By the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life and the Tree of 
Knowledge were both in the midst of the Garden and hence near 
together {Gen. ii. 9). The intimate relation of volition and obe- 
dience is easily recognized. In prose Milton gives a somewhat 
more materialistic conception to the Tree of Life and the Tree of 

440. For whom, etc. i Cor. xi. 8, g, 

449. That day I oft j-emember, etc. Masson, overlooking the 
symbolism of the passage, is puzzled by the "apparent inconsist- 
ency between this and the thread of time given in the action of 
the poem." Eve expresses the sentiment of the Bride in the 
Song, "We will remember thy love more than wine" {Cajit. 
i. 4). 

451. Under a shade on flowers. The Bride was born under the 
apple-tree {Cant. viii. 5). Eve, like the Bride, is supported by the 
graces. Adam, as the surroundings of his birth show, also has 
some of them, but the virtues are in larger proportion (viii. 254). 

454. From a cave, etc. The nymph Echo was fabled to live in 
a cave near the river Cephisus. In giving the story of Echo and 
Narcissus, Ovid tells of a lake of pure water surrounded by grass, 
unruffled by shepherds, or goats, or flocks of any kind, or birds, or 
wild animals, or the fallen branches of trees {Met. iii. 394-412). 
The story of Echo is interwoven with that of Narcissus, and her 
fate is essentially like his. 

466. Pmed with vain desire. In the loneliness of her maiden- 
hood Eve surrenders herself to reflection, as Adam on his first 
awakening gave himself to reason and speculation (viii. 261 etseq.), 
and with like unsatisfactory results. 

475. Mother of human race. Gen. iii. 20; Gal. iv. 26. 

478. Under a platane . Virgil applies the epithet "sterile" to 
the platane {Georg. ii. 70). Horace calls the tree ccelebs {Odes II. 
XV. 4). It signifies, then, that Eve found Adam unwedded. 

481. Return fair Eve, etc. Cant. vi. 13 ; Gen. ii. 23. The 
Song contains most of the elements found in about twenty lines 
beginning at this point. 

500. As Jupiter on Juno smiuz^ etc. As the blue sky looks 




upon the earth between the showers of Spring. The special favor 
of Heaven is frequently spoken of under the figure of descending 

505. Sight hateful, etc. The story of Bacchus is interwoven 
by Ovid with that of Jupiter and Juno. In the amours of Jupiter 
with Semele, the mother of Bacchus, she extorted from her lover 
a promise to visit her as he visited Juno. He came in storm and 
lightning , she perished in the flame and descended to Erebus. 
The love which is health and joy to Eve consumes Satan with rage 
and jealousy. 

509. Fierce desire. Bacchus sometimes takes the form of a kid 
and thus evinces his lustful nature. His foster-mother, Amalthea, 
was a goat, and is represented in the sky by the constellation 

515. Knotvledge forbidden ! Bacchus is one of the light-bearing 
deities of the ancients. Not only was his statue sculptured with a 
torch (the symbol of knowledge) in his hand, but his worshippers 
bore torches at festivals in his honor. The Dionysia, or theatri- 
cal exhibitions, in which yEschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides dis- 
tinguished themselves at Athens, were established in honor of 

530. A chance but chance, etc. A wandering Spirit of Heaven 
unemployed and, therefore, ready for gossip with the devil, thirsty 
at a fountain, and with appetite for the wine-god's garrulous bev- 
erage, or drowsy in retirement, and therefore incautious of its 
utterances would be a very remote contingency. 

The story of the evil spirit in the guise of Bacchus is written in 
the heavens among the constellations. In the northern sky is 
Auriga, the charioteer, having his head wreathed with ivy like the 
wine-god's. In his bosom, over his heart, he fondles a goat whose 
heart is the bright star, Capella. Below her are two kids, her off- 
spring. On the head of the charioteer is the foot of the Camelo- 
pard, whose haughty step and lofty head denote Pride. Behind, 
are lynxes (ounces), bears, lions, and a dragon. 

A larger use is made of the episode of Jupiter and Juno in the 
fourteenth Iliad than would appear from the single mention of 
their names. A number of delicate touches, here and there, are 
traceable to this origin. It is an intermediate link between the 
mythological story of Bacchus and the story of the Lover and the 
Bride in the Song. From the last named, as the notes indicate, 
are drawn the principal sentiments and acts ascribed to the human 

Book IV,] NOTES 337 

536-597. THE WARNING 

The spirit of Truth warns the spirit of Wisdom of Satan's pres- 
ence, as the Word of God perpetually warns the Church. The 
warning is directed to that part of Paradise which symbolizes the 
head or intelligence (i Cor. x. 15). The entrance to Paradise is 
through the intellect or reason, thence to the heart, and thence to 
the will. Satan precisely reverses this order. 

536. Proud step. In this consists the Fiend's likeness to the 

537. Sly circumspection. The lynx is extremely sharp-sighted 
with regard to things nigh at hand. 

542. Eastern gate. Keightley is confident that Milton here 
committed an oversight and that he did not mean the inner side of 
the eastern gate. But compare 11. 782-784. 

543. Rock of alabaster, etc. The rock is analogous to the white 
forehead of the human countenance, within which is the seat of the 
intellect. ' ' Brow of alabaster " is a phrase so common as to be trite. 

549. Gabriel (Man of God) is mentioned by Daniel and Luke. 
He is the spirit of Heavenly Wisdom, with the loftier attributes of 
Homer's Pallas Athene and the heroes and demigods whom she 
rules. His characteristics are those of the wise and prudent man 
depicted in the book of Proverbs. His clear and accurate reason- 
ing fits him to be the appointed judge of Paradise. Beelzebub is 
his corrupted counterpart among the fallen hosts. 

551. Heroic games. As bodily training improves physical 
strength and agility, so the discipline of noble thoughts improves 
the spiritual graces and virtues. 

553. Celestial armory. The Bride with all her tenderness and 
grace has an arsenal from which she draws spiritual weapons 
against her foes {Cant. iv. 4). 

556. On a sunbeam. In contrast with the crookedness of Satan's 
course, Uriel's was direct, neither up nor down, to the right hand 
nor to the left {Prov. iv. 18). 

As a shooting- star. This seems to be derived from //. iv. 75-77, 
though in Homer the warning is carried by the spirit of Wisdom 
instead of to it. Pallas 

"In haste 
Shot from the Olympian summits, like a star 
Sent by the crafty Saturn's son, to warn 
The seamen or some mighty host in arms — 
A radiant meteor casting sparkles round." 


560. Impetuous winds. Attention has been called to Satan's 
transformation into Auriga, who bears the Goat in his bosom. 
The ancient navigators had observed that the constellation of the 
She-goat and the Kids {Capella and Ilcedi) brought stormy and 
rainy weather, and they were therefore regarded as inauspicious 
for mariners and dangerous for ships. Hence the name di%, applied 
to the constellation of the She-goat, has also the meaning of "a 

561. By lot^ etc. This does not mean that chance controlled 
the selection ; the lot was a direct appeal to the decision of God 
{Prov. xvi. 33). 

576. Winged warrior. The epithet " winged" may be derived 
from Da}t. ix. 21, The power of Wisdom in war is declared in 
Eccl. ix. 13-18. The goddess Athene, who represented Wisdom 
to the Greeks, was noted for her warlike temper and strength. 

581. Since meridian hour, etc. Wisdom and Folly cannot be 
entertained together. Satan's entrance to Paradise had prevented 
the coming of good spirits from Heaven. 

588. By iuorrow dawning, etc. Probably because night is the 
time when evil manifests itself {Prov. iv. 16). 

592. Beneath the Azores. The Azores (Azor or A9or, a hawk) 
are directly west of Paradise and nearly go° distant, so that when 
the sun had passed these islands it had set in Paradise. The hawk 
denotes vigilance ; the descent of the sun marks the time for a 
change of sentinels and a strengthened guard. 

Prime orb. The Sun is so called because it is the most important 
body in our firmament. Masson takes the " Prime Orb " to mean 
the Primum Mobile ; but why should the poet withdraw our 
thoughts from the two bodies on which they have long been fixed, 
the Sun and the Earth ? 

596. Purple and gold. Promising a fair day on the morrow 
{Matt. xvi. 2). 

598-775. AT THE BOWER 

The foregoing scene was enacted in that part of Paradise which 
represents the head ; this is enacted in that which represents the 
heart. Naturally the passion of Love controls the choice of senti- 
ment. Hints continue to be furnished by the relations of the Lover 
and the Bride, of Christ and the Church, and of Jupiter and Juno. 
But the story of Cupid and Psyche is blended with them, and in- 
vests the whole with its dreamy charm. 

598. Evening is the time devoted to sentiment and tenderness. 

Book IV.] NOTES 339 

The present description harmonizes in general with Virgil's account 
of the night when Dido was kept awake by her unfortunate passion 
for Y^neas {Mn. iv. 522-528). 

602. Wakeful nightingale. The nightingale (^i\oixi]\a, fond of 
apples) is the bird of Love, Compare with the Greek name, 
" Comfort me with apples," etc. — Cant. ii. 3-5. 

605. Hesperus is the planet of Love (viii. 519), and leads forth 
the stars representing the saints with their pure influence ; while the 
Moon, the symbol of Wisdom, rules majestically over all {Dan. 
xii. 3 ; Cant, vi, lo). 

614. Dew of sleep. Compare note on v. 56. 

626, Yon flowery arbors. The Lover is found at noon in the 
paths made by the footsteps of the flocks or in the shepherds' tents 
{Cant. i. 7, 8). The shepherds' tents are Milton's "arbors," and 
the foot-paths of the flocks his " alleys." 

630. Those blossoms, etc. "Blossoms" and "gums" represent 
gifts of love and pity coming from Christian benevolence {Acts iv. 
32-37. See note on 1. 248). 

635. Author and disposer. The relation of husband to wife is 
constantly used to symbolize the relation of Christ to the Church. 
Here Adam is called the "author and disposer" in allusion per- 
haps to Ileb. xii. 2. 

639. IVith thee conversing, etc. Todd refers to Geji. xxix. 20. 
It is relevant to this to say that in the vale where Cupid had his 
palace there was perpetual spring. 

641. Sweet is the breath of morn, etc. Cant. ii. 10-13. 

649. Gems of heaven. The pair are supposed as yet to know 
nothing of the true nature of the stars, and the aesthetical Eve is 
impressed chiefly with their beauty. God's saints, who are com- 
pared to the stars, are also called his jewels {Mai. in. 17). 

650. Neither breath of tnorn, etc. When Cupid deserted Psyche, 
she roamed through the world in fruitless search of him, often in 
despair vainly endeavoring to destroy herself. The pain and the 
despair of the Bride in a similar plight are told in Cant. v. 6-8. 

660. This line has been much criticised. Landor, apparently 
forgetting that Eve was formed from the rib of Adam, objects to 
calling her the daughter of man. The epithet "accomplished" 
has been censured for its frigidity, but it identifies Eve with Pan- 
dora whom the gods endowed with all their gifts. 

665. Lest total darkness, etc. The saints keep truth aglow upon 
the earth, and thus prevent spiritual darkness from regaining sway. 
Their lavish deeds of love and intercessions deliver men from .spir- 


itual death. Their example, instruction, and influence prepare for 
Christ the Sun of Righteousness. 

677. Millions, etc. Mount Zion (Paradise) entertains "an in- 
numerable company of angels." 

681. Echoing hill or thicket, i. e., publicly or privately, as God 
is worshipped by men. Public devotion, of which the tribes going 
up to Jerusalem were a type, is where the utterance of one finds an 
echo in many hearts. Saints delight to speak of God's kingdom 
and talk of his power {Fs. cxlv. 10, ii). Milton believed it the 
special office of some angels to be present at religious assemblies 
{Christ. Doct. ix.). Praise from the thicket typifies devotion in 
the family. 

687. Hai'monic number. The number needed for a full chorus. 

688. Divide the night, etc. In Cupid's palace Psyche was re- 
galed with music by invisible performers. The festival seasons of 
Israel were celebrated with songs in the night {Isa. xxx. 29). 

689. Hand in hand, etc. The Bride leads her Lover to the 
Bower, her home {Cant. viii. 2). The home of Love is in the 
heart, and the Bower is the heart of Paradise. 

694. Laurel and myrtle. Laurel was used to crown blood- 
stained, myrtle to crown bloodless victors ; hence they stand for the 
moral qualities of Courage and Kindness. 

696. Acanthus, etc. The acanthus, on account of the beautiful 
form of its dark and shining leaves, was used as a model in 
architecture for the capitals of Corinthian columns. It may typify 
Fortitude, while the yielding and flexible shrubs with which it is 
joined represent Gentleness. 

698. L'is all hues, etc. These flowers symbolize the Affections ; 
those " under foot " the Desires ; the former flourish, the latter are 
kept in subjection. Adam and Eve have been compared to Jupiter 
and Juno. The flowers here mentioned reproduce the colors — the 
rainbow hues, the purple, and the white — with which the couch of 
the god and the goddess was surrounded, when they were overshad- 
owed by a golden cloud (//. xiv. 342-348). Pope long ago recog- 
nized a part of this resemblance between Homer and Milton. 

702. More colored, etc. Alluding to the house of costliest stones 
built by Solomon for his wife, Pharaoh's daughter (i Kings vii. 8- 
12). Christ preferred the glory of the flowers to that of Solomon 
{Matt. vi. 28, 29). 

703. Other creatures here, etc. Love can exist only among rea- 
sonable beings. 

705. In shadier bower, etc. Pan and Sylvanus are Joy and Sor- 

Book IV.] NOTES 34i 

row ; the Nymphs and Fauns are the more violent emotions of 
Grief and Mirth. Pan was fond of sunshine in the mountains and 
pastures and was the favorite of Bacchus ; and his entrance means 
the coming of Joy. Sylvanus was old and carried about with him 
a cypress, the symbol of mourning, and his approach threatens 
Sorrow. The Nymphs (j/u/3a>, to cover, or veil) represent the more 
demonstrative emotions of Grief (compare note on ii. 789). The 
Fauns are round-faced, frolicsome beings and represent Mirth. 
Joy and Sorrow, Mirth and Grief, all visit the heart, the former 
two more permanent, the latter more transient guests {Prov. xiv. 10). 
709. Flotuers, garlands, etc. Thoughtful readers will find in 
this the same meaning as in Cant. vii. 13. The simplicity of this 
bridal couch contrasts strongly with the luxurious tapestry, fine 
linen and perfumes of the bed of the " strange woman " {Prov. vii. 

16, 17). 

712. Genial angel. Milton has been censured for self-contra- 
diction here and in viii. 485, where he represents Eve as brought 
to Adam by her Maker. But there is no contradiction. Milton 
shows {Christ. Doct. v.) from Ho sea xii. 3, 4 that God and Angel 
are sometimes interchangeable terms. The "genial Angel" is 
Love, and " God is Love ;" hence where God is there Love is also. 
In one place prominence is given to the spiritual attraction, in the 
other to the divine ordinance in the marriage relation. 

716, Unwiser son, Epimetheus, because he did not share his 
brother's distrust of the gift of the gods and became the unfortu- 
nate husband of Pandora. 

719. Authentic {avOkvTtjQ, an absolute master) means that the fire 
referred to was Jove's to command as a sole and special prerogative. 

720. At their shady lodge. The praise offered came from the 

738. Which God likes best. Milton was strongly opposed to 
formalism in religion, and took in their strict sense such passages 
as Matt. vi. 7, 8. 

740. Troublesome disguises. Bodily attire is suggestive of the 
far more reprehensible disguises which sin has caused men to wear 
over their thoughts and feelings. The absolute sincerity of the 
state of innocence is here expressed. 

751. Sole propriety. The ownership of husband and wife in 
each other is the only ownership that was provided for in Paradise ; 
and in the early church there was a strong tendency to return to 
this paradisaic condition {Acts iv. 32-37). 

755. Founded in reason, etc. Descriptive of "wedded love," 


and not of " relations." In his works on Divorce Milton insists 
on the difference between those unions made by God and founded 
in reason and love, and those alliances formed " under the influence 
of some evil genius," and "pregnant with dishonor, with misery, 
with hatred, and with calamity." 

75g. Unbefitting holiest place. " Marriage is honorable in itself 
and prohibited to no order of men ; wherefore the Papists act con- 
trary to religion in excluding the ministers of the church from this 
rite" {Christ. Doct. x.). 

762. Present or past, etc. From the practice of the patriarchs 
Milton drew the inference that polygamy is right and lawful. This 
is by far the most serious error to be found in his writings ; and it 
is difficult to conceive how a man so sternly pure in thought and 
act could defend so disgusting a dogma. 

763. Here Love, etc. The story of Cupid shines through the 
narrative, but here is a direct reference to the winged god with his 
golden and flower-tipped shafts. 

768. Mixed dance, etc. The orgies with which Cotytto, the 

goddess of licentiousness, was worshipped at Corinth. One aim of 

St, Paul's letters was to bring about pure relations between the 
sexes among the Corinthian Christians. 

773. Sho'cvered roses, etc. The "bright golden cloud" over 
Jupiter and Juno shed upon them ' ' its drops of glistening dew " 
(//. xiv. 351). 


The influences set in motion culminate in the discovery and 
arrest of Satan, his trial before Gabriel, and his expulsion from 
Paradise, The Homeric treatment of Pallas Athene, her favorites, 
and their triumphs over brute force and folly is largely drawn upon 
in the scene. The antitheses of Wisdom and Folly in the book of 
Proverbs are still more freely used to set forth the antagonism be- 
tween Gabriel and Satan. 

776. Now had Night 7tieastired, etc. "Prosaically it was nine 
o'clock in the evening, but the clock here is that vast astronomical 
clock, of which the great circle of the starry heavens is the dial- 
plate, and the earth's shadow the moving hour-hand," — Masson. 
The ancients divided the night into four watches ; the time here 
indicated is the beginning of the second watch, which, with the 
third, was the time of special danger from insidious foes {Luke xii. 
38, 39). 

778. Ivory Port. As the alabaster rock over the gate corre- 

Book IV.] NOTES 343 

' sponds to the human forehead, so the gate itself is the lips whose 
changeful hues are like those of the ivory {Faerie QtieeiieW. ix. 41). 
This suggests the " ivory palaces" of Fs. xlv. 8, and also the two 
gates of Sleep, one of horn, the other of ivory, through which the 
shades pass {yEn. vi. 893-896). The true shades pass through the 
gate of horn, as the soul escapes through the lips in the paleness of 
death ; the false shades pass through the gate of ivory as dreams, 
when the lips have the hues of healthful slumber. 

781. Gabriel to his next in power. Pallas (Minerva, Wisdom) 
had among the Homeric heroes two favorites, Ulysses and Diomed. 
Ulysses (note on i. 81) serves as a model for Beelzebub, while Dio- 
med (Divinely Counselled) is in some respects a model for Gabriel 
and has his second in command, Sthenelus {pQkvoQ, strength) as Ga- 
briel has his second Uzziel (Strength of God). Wisdom and 
Strength are constant companions in Scripture, but Wisdom is 
always the superior {Reel. ix. 16). 

782. Uzziel . . . south, etc. This puts Uzziel (Strength) on 
the right hand of Paradise, where he belongs, and Gabriel on the 
left. "The Hebrews, in speaking of the quarters of the world, 
imagine themselves turned with the face to the East, the back to 
the West, the right hand to the South, and the left hand to the 
North " (Cruden's Co)tcordance). 

784. Circuit . . . yiame, etc. Zech. ii. 5. "Gabriel breaks 
his company of angels into two divisions by the order, ' Right 
wheel ' and ' Left wheel ' (the Latin equivalent for which was, 
'Wheel to the spear,' 'Wheel to the shield,' the right hand of 
course being the spear hand and the left holding the shield)." — 

788. Ithuriel afid Zephon. Ithuriel (ith-Uriel, a servant of 
Uriel, or Truth) is Memory. Zephon (Searcher, the name of the 
North wind) is Conscience. Memory, bearing the Law of God, and 
Conscience are both searchers of the heart {Heb. iv. 12 : Fi'ov. xx. 


796. Hither bring. To the place of judgment where Wisdom 
sits as magistrate {Prov. viii. 15, 16). 

798. Dazzling the moon. Because armed with the Law of God, 
superior to all human reason (Exod. xxxiv. 29-35). 

800. Squat like a toad. It is the bloated appearance and the 
(supposed) venom of the toad that makes it an emblem of the 
tempter. St. Augustine says that knowledge without charity (i 
Cor. viii. i) is what puffs up the demons. 

810. Ithuriel . . . touched, etc. The spear is the divine com- 


mand with which, as in the temptation of Christ, the devil is un- 
masked, discomfited, and finally put to flight. Tertullian says : 
" Let some one be brought forward here at the foot of your judg- 
ment seat, who, it is agreed, is possessed of a demon. When com- 
manded by any Christian to speak, that spirit shall as truly declare 
itself a demon as elsewhere falsely a god " {Apol. i. 23). A test for 
spirits is given i John iv. 1-3. 

814-827. As when a spark, etc. The ideas of this passage may 
be traced in Isa. xxix. — the intrusion of a secret plotter (15), the 
unconsciousness of the victim (10), the discovery of the scorner 
(20), and the emotion of the imperilled sleeper when awaked (g, 22). 
The comparison has its basis in 3-7. First comes a threat of 
war (like the "rumored war" of the poet); then a "familiar 
spirit " speaking from the ground (like Satan in the form of a toad) ; 
then a mass with the characteristics of dust and chaff (like powder, 
which has the appearance of the one and the inflammability of the 
other) ; then a sudden, instantaneous change (like the explosion); 
then thunder, earthquake, and flame (like the earth-shaking and the 
blaze attending the explosion) ; and, lastly, the general effect as of 
" a dream of a night vision " (compare v, 30-35). 

829. Sitting where ye durst not soar. When all the angels yet 
held their thrones through love to God, condemning Law and 
rebuking Conscience could not reach them. Satan had truly been 
far above the possible flight of Ithuriel and Zephon. Law and 
Conscience are a terror to evil-doers, and fear is a lower motive to 
obedience than love {1 John iv. 18). 

844. Chertib. The idea of knowledge contained in the word 
conscience makes Milton call Zephon a cherub. 

845. Severe in youthjul beanty. Innocence, or an undefiled 
conscience, belongs particularly to children. The rebuke of the 
Lord seems to have come to the negligent Eli more effectively 
through the youthful Samuel than through the "'man of God" 
(i Sa77i. ii. and iii.). 

847-849. Patrick Hume pointed out that this is almost a literal 
translation of Persius iii. 35-38. 

852. Best with the best, etc. It is more honorable to contend 
with the master than with the servant. In like spirit Goliath 
" disdained " the boyish David. 

858. Like a proud steed. The goddess Athene, Gabriel's classical 
duplicate, is a manager of horses, one of her titles being Hippeia. 
She directed the construction of the Trojan horse, acted as the 
charioteer of Diomed, the horse-tamer (//. v. 837-841). conducted 

Book IV.] NOTES 345 

that warrior and Ulysses in stealing the horses of Rhesus from the 
Trojan camp at night (//. x. 498-501), and presented to Bellero- 
phon in a dream a magic bridle with which to control the flying 
steed Pegasus. The reining signifies the restraint which Wis- 
dom enables Conscience to place on the tongue of the guilty 
one. Athene and her favorites are also distinguished by their 
power of self-restraint under provocation (//. iv. 22, 23; 401, 

862. Western point. According to the Hebrew way of fixing 
direction this would be behind the back (note on 1. 782). Compare 
the rebuke of Christ to the Tempter, Luke iv. 8, etc. 

863. Squadron. The spirit of Wisdom is a spirit of order. 
The Greeks, conducted by Athene, marched to battle in "serried 
phalanxes," with unbroken ranks, and in silent obedience to the 
command of their leaders ; while the Trojans, ruled by Mars, 
rushed forward with disorder, tumult, shouting, and clamoring in 
many languages (//. iv. 427-438). 

866. / hear the tread, etc. Others have noticed the resemblance 
of this speech to that of the wise Nestor at the return of Ulysses 
and Diomed from the Trojan camp with the horses of Rhesus 
('Pj>og > 'pr;(Tte, a saying, a speaking). Restraint upon the tongue 
is thus symbolized {James iii. 2-5). 

868. Through the shade. Gabriel's vision is like that of the 
owl-eyed Athene. 

871. Fierce demeanor. Luke ix. 42. Athene encourages Dio- 
med to resist "the fiery, frantic Mars" (//. v. 829-838). Her 
anger on this occasion suggests the "stern regard" with which 
Gabriel addresses Satan, 

885. Contemptuous, etc. Like a fool Satan begins his defence 
by despising the wholesome rebuke of Wisdom {Prov. i. 7, 30). 
To him obedience and submission are folly. " It is an abomination 
to fools to depart from evil " {Prov. xiii. 19). 

903. Disdainfully, half smiling. The irony with which Wis- 
dom mocks those who despise her counsels and reproofs {Prov. i. 
26 ; Job xii. 2). 

912. Presumptuous. Many points in this description of Satan 
remind us of Thersites, the typical fool of the Iliad (ii. 217-219) : 

"Squint-eyed, with one lame foot, and on his back 
A lump, and shoulders curving towards the chest ; 
His head was sharp, and over it the hairs 
Were thinly scattered." 


Compare this with the description of him who goes under the 
name of the fool, the scorner, and the wicked person in Proverbs. 
For the squinting we have Matt. vi. 22, 23 ; for the lameness, Prov. 
xxvi. 7 ; for the humped shoulders and narrow chest of crouching 
i\n\\<\\{.y, Prov. xxviii. i; for the sharpness of the head signifying 
lack of capacity, Prov. xiv. 6, etc. ; for the thinness of the hair im- 
plying inability to conceal the lack, Eccl. x. 3 etc. Satan mani- 
fests all these characteristics in the present colloquy. 

914. Scourge that wisdom. The scourge is the reward of folly 
{Prov. xxvi. 3). Thersites was chastised by Ulysses (//. ii. 265, 

920. Cowageous chief, etc. Athene had great capacity for en- 
durance, and taunted Aphrodite, when slightly wounded by Dio- 
med, with her fear of pain (//. v. 418-425). 

924. Frowning. The scorner rewards his reprover with hate 
{Prov. ix. 8). 

928. Blasting volleyed thunder. The special antagonist of 
Gabriel in the war in Heaven was Moloch (Mars), but the spirit of 
Satan was in all his hosts, and Gabriel may therefore be said to 
have encountered Satan himself. The thunder by which Moloch 
was overcome in that celestial struggle was not Gabriel's usual 
weapon (the spear), which is sober rebuke and would have been 
despised by the ferocious antagonist {Prov. xxiii. 9). Of the 
Olympic deities only Athene (besides Jove) was allowed to wield 
the thunderbolt. To overcome Mars on the plain of Troy, she 
struck him with a stone, and then ridiculed him by comparing him 
to an unruly boy whom his mother had been chastising (//. xxi. 
400-414). This gives a hint of what is meant by the thunder. It 
is that scathing laughter of unerring Wisdom at the folly of spirits 
with faculties for intelligence {Ps. ii. 4 ; Prov. i. 26). 

931. Inexperience. For the age and experience of Wisdom see 
Prov. viii. 22-31. 

941. Though for possession, etc. Though to get possession we 
may have to try what you and your gay legions (called " gay " be- 
cause of Gabriel's irony) can do to prevent it. 

948. To say and straight unsay. Prov. xxvi. 7. Satan's failure 
to give a consistent account of himself constitutes one point of like- 
ness to the lame Thersites. 

953. Army of fiends, etc. The army is apostrophized in the 
four lines beginning here. Could their faithfulness to their leader, 
or his to them, absolve them from their prior obligation to the 
rightful Ruler of all ? They had renounced allegiance to a legiti- 




[Book IV. 

mate sovereign to accept the military despotism of a usurper. A 
pretence of faithfulness with such disloyalty is the second inconsis- 
tency of Satan. 

959. Fawned and cringed. To obey God from love is freedom ; 
to cringe to him from fear is slavery. Satan had reversed the rule 
of common-sense. His fawning and cringing rendered liim as de- 
formed in spirit as the hump-backed and narrow-chested Thersites 
was in body. 

965. To the infernal Pit, etc. It is a fit task for the spirit of 
Wisdom to seal up the devil and prevent his deceiving the nations, 
as in Rev. xx. 1-3. 

969. Waxing more in rage. Like the insane and ferocious demon 
of Mark V. 2-4. 

976. In progress, etc. A "progress" is a journey in state of 
the sovereign through his realm. In England it was sometimes 
greatly oppressive, as the places visited were required to defray the 
expenses, frequently very extravagant, of entertainment. Star-paved 
is not a meaningless epithet. The stars symbolize the angelic 
glory, and Satan taunts the angels with their submission to a Ruler 
who tramples upon their honor, as an Eastern despot rides over the 
pavement of his prostrate subjects. 

978. Turned fiery red. The middle watches of the night are past 
and the rays of the coming dawn are beginning to brighten the 
East and gradually the whole horizon to the northern and southern 
points. This change is accompanied by a spiritual change in the 
angelic guardians who redden with anger and shame under Satan's 

980. As when afield, etc. A field of ripened wheat tossed by winds 
is liable to scatter its seeds upon the ground and leave the heads 
but empty chaff; so a wise man swayed by gusts of passion is in 
danger of becoming as light-headed as a fool. 

987, Teneriff or Atlas. The peak of Teneriff has been thought 
by some to be identical with the Atlas of Homer. Apparently, 
whether a giant or a mountain, Atlas supporting the world figured 
forth the ancient idea of the Will. Self-will, which is the essence 
of Satan's character (note on i. 82), here becomes reckless wilful- 
ness in withstanding both Gabriel's rebuke and his irony and sug- 
gests the comparison to Mount Atlas. 

989. IIo7'ror plumed. The goddess of Wisdom bore the head 
of the Gorgon Medusa upon her shield and turned men into stone 
with its horror. The old fable means that through Care (note on 
ii. 611), Wisdom drives men mad {Acts xxvi. 24). Horror (Gor- 

Book IV.] NOTES 349 

gon) upon the helmet of Satan signifies that his folly had ended in 
"mischievous madness " (^rc/. x. 13). 

990. What seemed, etc. ' ' A hesitating touch that spoils the 
picture. Milton was apparently struck with the material nature he 
had assigned to these spiritual beings." — Clar, Press. How could 
this be remedied by any description of Satan's armor? " The in- 
tentional vagueness of such description is so efTective because it 
stirs but does not satisfy the imagination. It rouses a sense of the 
mysterious and indescribable." — Cambridge ed. There is a better 
reason : Milton is setting forth the condition of the superlative 
fool who is "wise in his own conceit " (/'/wz^. xxvi. 12). Satan 
seems to himself to have abundant means of intellectual attack and 
defence, but his logic is as incoherent as vapor. 

994. Had gone to zvt-ack, etc. The account of this expulsion 
never loses sight of that of the deaf, dumb, and lunatic spirit with 
whom the disciples wrought in vain while the Master was on the 
Mount of Transfiguration. At tlie Master's approach the spirit 
became alarmed and extremely violent and was afterwards, on ac- 
count of its stubbornness, referred to as a mountain. When Christ 
cast him out, it was thought at first that the extruded demon had 
killed his victim in the going. Christ subsequently taught his dis- 
ciples that not pride and anger but humility and prayer are the 
conditions of successful exorcism i^Matt. xvii. 14-21 ; Mark ix. 14- 
29 ; Luke ix. 37-42). 

997. Golden scales. II. viii. 69; xxii. 209; j^n. xii. 725. 
There is much balancing of one thing against another in the Prov- 
erbs : the spirit of Wisdom is preeminently one that weighs and 
ponders. The significance of Libra between Astraea and Scorpio 
is well worth possessing. On one side of the Balance is the Scor- 
pion, the symbol of death ; on the other side is the Virgin with a 
quill in one hand and a sheaf of wheat in the other, probably 
identical with the incomparable virgin Athene, the spirit of intelli- 
gence and life. The issues of death and life are dependent upon a 
proper weighing. 

999. Wherein all things, etc. Isa. xl. 12-15 I Prov. xxi. 2 ; 
xxiv. 12. Earth is balanced with air to show the lightness and in- 
significance of material gobd. 

1002. Two zveights. Two successive verses in Prov. xxvi. 
"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like 
unto him," is the weight in favor of " parting" ; " Answer a fool 
according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit," is in 
favor of "fight." The decision is easy, for two fools are worse 


than one. Hence Gabriel does not reply to Satan's taunts. In 
Homer, ^neas declares the unprofitableness of brawls and scold- 
ing (//. XX. 242-255). 

loii. Read thy lot. Satan's advantage was in fightmg ; Gabriel s 
in parting ; the decision was in favor of the latter. 


Natural and moral darkness have vanished together, and the 
strange experience of Eve now seems to her like a painful dream, 
A part of the story of Cupid and Psyche is made the basis of her 
vision. Adam uses some of Spenser's poetical philosophy to inter- 
pret it. 

2. Orient pearl. Aurora sometimes appears in art as a nymph 
crowned with flowers, with a star above her head, standing in a 
chariot drawn by winged horses, while in one hand she holds a 
torch, and with the other scatters roses, as illustrative of the flowers 
springing from the dew, which the poets describe as diffused from 
the eyes of the goddess in liquid pearls. Faerie Qtieene IV. v. 45. 

6. Auroras fan. The name Aurora is thought to be allied to 
aura, and the corresponding Greek name Eos to aa> (to blow), so 
that the goddess represents not so much the light as the cool air of 
the dawn. 

13. Hung over her enamoured. Doubtless suggested by a scene 
in the story of Cupid and Psyche, which, in turn, in much of its 
sentiment resembles the Song of Songs. 

16. Zephyrits on Flora breathes, soft as the west wind in Spring. 
Zephyrus transported Psyche in her sleep to the enchanted palace 
of Cupid. 

22. Citron. Virgil {Georg. ii.) speaks of the citron as an anti- 
dote to witchcraft and poison. It is thought by some to be the 
"apple" of Cajit. ii. 3-5. 

31. Have dreatned, etc. Like the Bride in Cant, v, 2, and the 
sleeper in Isa. xxix, 

38. Why sleepest, etc. Cupid disturbs the slumber of his vic- 
tims {/En. iv, 529-531). 

43. Sets off the face of things. "An expression worthier of 
Addison than of Milton." — Landor. But it gives exactly the in- 
tended idea of artificial effect. 

45. IVhotn to behold but thee, etc. The beauty of Psyche was so 


great that people crowded from all parts to gaze upon her charms, 
erected altars to her and neglected the worship of Venus. 

50. Alone I passed. The Bride in the Song, Psyche in the myth, 
and Queen Dido {yEn. iv. 68-73) ^re represented as having wan- 
dered in dreams far in fruitless search of the lost lover. 

55. One shaped and 7uinged, etc. As Eve looked upon the fruit, 
the desire to partake of it was formed, and this desire is repre- 
sented in the winged spirit standing by the tree. To Eve at this 
stage Satan appears as he appeared to Uriel, in the likeness of 

56. His dewy locks distilled ambrosich, etc. " My head is filled 
with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night," pleads he 
who tempted forth the Bride upon her perilous search. Dew is 
representative of sleep. When Eve says that her tempter's locks 
were dewy, she means that the influence of his presence was to 
cause drowsiness. Sleep, like food and drink, renews the strength 
of the body ; and before the Fall these were sufficient to keep it 
from decay and consequently immortal. Sleep, and sometimes 
Night as the bringer of Sleep, like the food of the blessed, are 
therefore called " ambrosial" (1. 642). 

58. fair plant, etc. Expressive of the reaching out of Cupid 

65. O fruit divine, etc. Expressive of the satisfaction of Desire 
{Prov. xiii. 19 ; ix. 17). 

72. Good comtminicated, etc. This truth is illustrated in Christ's 
miracle of feeding the five thousand {Matt. xiv. 16-20). 

78. Thyself a goddess. Gen. iii, 5. The guerdon promised to 
Psyche and finally conferred upon her was immortality and life 
with the gods. 

86. Up to the clouds, etc. Psyche was raised into the air by 
holding fast to Cupid in his flight. 

95. Dearer half. The ideal love of the husband for the wife is 
represented in Christ's love and self-devotion for the Church {Eph. 
V. 25). 

102, Reason as chief. Spenser describes the human frame as 
the dwelling-place and domain of Alma, who represents Reason 
{Faerie Queene II. xi. 2). 

" But in a body which doth freely yeeld 
His partes to Reasons rule obedient, 
And letteth her that ought the scepter weeld, 
All happy peace and goodly government 

Book V.] AZOTES 353 

Is settled there in sure establishment. 
There Alma, like a virgin queen most bright, 
Doth flourish all in beautie excellent." 

Fancy next. In the same house is one called Phantastes living 
in a chamber painted with 

"Infinite shapes of things dispersed thin" 

and full of flies buzzing about {Faerie Qiieene II. ix. 42): 

"All those were idle thoughts and fantasies 
Desires, dreams, opinions unsound, 
Shewes, visions, soothsayes and prophesies ; 
And all that fained is, as leasings, tales and lies." 

106. Joining or disjoining. In a syllogism whose conclusion is 
affirmative the major and the minor term are said to be joined ; 
when the conclusion is negative, they are disjoined. 

117. Evil enters the mind whenever one is tempted ; Christ was 
tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin {Hcb. iv. 15). 

123. That ivonl to be, Qic. Cant. y'l. 10. The cheerfulness and 
serenity of the righteous is often compared to the brightness of the 
morning (2 Sam. xxiii. 4). 

128. Kept for thee in store. As for the Bride {Cant. vii. 13) and 
for the Church {John xiv. 1-3). 

131. Wiped the?n with her hair, etc. The woman whose tears of 
penitence fell on the feet of Jesus wiped them with the hairs of her 
head {Lnke vii. 38). Her tears were also dried by the gracious 
tenderness of Jesus, who forgave her sins and bade her go in 


This passage is recognized as one of the most signal examples in 
literature of beauty and harmony in writing. The plan of the 
hymn is taken from Ps. cxlviii., but sentiments are added from 
other portions of the Bible. 

137. Under shady arborous roof. From the recesses of the 
heart. The sun shining into the Bower symbolizes the entrance 
of truth into the heart of the faithful (2 Cor. iv. 6), 

142. Discovering . . . all the East, The East is the source of 
light and the reputed home of the wise (i Kings iv. 30). The en- 
trance of Divine light into the soul improves even the natural un- 
derstanding {Ps. cxix. 98-100). 


146. Various style. The frequent admonition to "sing unto 
the Lord a new song," seems to Milton inconsistent with pre- 
scribed forms of worship. 

149. Unmeditated. Their rapturous thoughts naturally flow into 
expression ; meditation is not needed where the Holy Spirit vouch- 
safes his inspiration {Matt. x. 19, 20). 

165. Rev. i. 8. The whole song of praise is addressed to the 
Messiah, for it cannot be said of God himself, as in 1. 161, that the 
angels behold him. 

166. Fairest of stars, etc. When the Sun is in Aries, the con- 
stellation of the Harp, with Lyra (or Vega) a beautiful star of the 
first magnitude, is almost directly overhead at daybreak. It must 
have occurred to the poet, in imitation of the psalmist, to appeal to 
the harp at the beginning of his song of praise {Ps. cviii. 2, and 
often). The absence of an earthly instrument of music is thus 
supplied by this noble introduction of the constellation ; and the 
poet is acquitted of the twofold blunder of trying to make Venus 
do double duty, both here and as one of the " five other wander- 
ing fires," and serve in one night as both evening and morning 

171. Eye and sold. " The sun is called mundi oculus by Ovid 
{Met. iv. 228), and mundi animtis by Pliny." — Newton. 

173. When thou climb'' st, etc. These are designated times for 
worship {Ps. Iv. 17). 

176. Fixed in their orb, etc. Adam and Eve are not yet so ad- 
vanced as to adopt the Ptolemaic theory of the universe ; they are 
only taking appearances. 

178. Mystic dance. The mystic philosophy of antiquity found 
in the sacred dances of the Greeks a resemblance to the courses of 
the stars. According to some of the Fathers, the angels are al- 
ways dancing, and the glorious company of the apostles is really a 
chorus of dancers {Encyc. Brit. vi. 800). Compare 11. 618-627 
and Ps. cxlix. 3. The Pitt Press ed. has a useful note on this 

180. Air and ye elements. The four elements in the order of 
their creation in the six days' work are Air, Water, Earth, and 
Fire. They were the first things made after the boundaries of 
the world were fixed, and hence "the eldest birth of Nature's 

182. Perpetual circle. Newton refers to Cicero {De Nat. Deo- 
rum ii. 33) : " Et cum quatuor sint genera corporum, vicissitudine 
eorum mundi continuata natura est. Nam ex terra, aqua ; ex aqua, 

Book V.] NOTES 355 

oritur aer ; ex aere, aether ; deinde retrorsum vicissim ex aethere, 
aer ; inde aqua ; ex aqua, terra infima." 

202. For the use of the singular pronoun consult note on iii. 


The ejaculation of the poet (iv. 1-8) and the prayer of Adam 
and Eve for help in the impending evil are answered from Heaven 
by sending Raphael to Paradise. 

216. To wed her elm. The figure is classical, being found in 
Horace {Epod. ii. g), Virgil {Georg. ii. 367), and Ovid {Met. xiv, 

221. Raphael (God's Health) personifies Love and unites in him- 
self the pure qualities of Mercury and Juno, as Belial unites their 
impure qualities. Juno was the bride of Jove in heaven ; Mercury 
was his confidant and messenger in his erotic intrigues with the 
fair ones of earth. The sociable quality belongs to Mercury (//. 
xxiv. 334, 335). 

224. Stir. Raphael as the angel of Love is, like Mercury, a 
spirit of peace, annoyed by tumult, and therefore sent to quiet the 
disturbance made by Satan. 

229 Half this day, etc. The angels who visited Abraham 
came at noon and seem to have departed at evening {Gen. xviii. 
1-5, and xix. i). Exod. xxxiii. II. 

237. Warn him, etc. See note on iv. 556. 

246. Eulfilled all justice. Themis, or Justice, warned Atlas of 
the approaching theft of his golden fruit {Met. iv. 643). 

247. Nor delayed the saint. Compare the promptness of Mer- 
cury when sent to Priam (//. xxiv. 340-342) : 

' ' And hastily beneath his feet he bound 
The fair, ambrosial, golden sandals worn 
To bear him over ocean like the wind 
And o'er the boundless land." 

249. Ardors. This word prepares the way for the comparison 
of Raphael to the Phoenix, that rose in youthful freshness from the 
flames of its own funeral pyre. 

251. Flew through the midst, etc. Identifying Raphael with 
the angel oi Rev. viii. 13. 

254. The gate self-opened. Compare the descent of Juno (//. v. 
749-751 ; viii. 393-395) : 


"The gate of Heaven 
Opened before them of its own accord — 
Gates guarded by the Hours, on whom the care 
Of the great heaven and of Olympus rests, 
To open or to close the wall of cloud," 

The wall of Heaven resembles our sky resting, like a hollow 
hemisphere, upon our flat earth, never stopping or delaying prog- 
ress from place to place, but rolling outward, as any approach, to 
let them through. 

260. With cedars crowned, etc. Combine Ezek. xxxi. 8 with 
Isa. ii. 2. 

261. As 7ohen . . . the glass, etc. As the telescope assists the 
natural vision, so the power of Love sharpens the spiritual sense. 
Its revealing power is declared in the Scripture, and we know its 
jealousy and watchfulness. Hence the large eyes of Juno and her 
use of the sleepless Argus to watch her rivals. 

264. Or pilot, etc. As the island of Delos or of Samos appears 
among the Cyclades to the practised eye of a pilot, so the Earth ap- 
pears among the stars to Raphael. Delos was abhorred by Juno, 
because it gave shelter to her rival Latona ; Samos was favored by 
her, because a temple was there erected in her honor. Presiding 
over marriage and birth, Juno was the foe of Latona (Death). To 
Raphael the Earth is either a Delos or a Samos, as man's lapse or 
steadfastness will make it an abode of Death or of Life. 

269. Polar winds, etc. Implying cold such as Mercury found on 
Mount Atlas {^n. iv. 246-255). Divine Love can neither be 
chilled nor diverted from its object 

272. A phcenix, etc. See note on 1. 249. The Phoenix, accord- 
ing to Herodotus, resembles an eagle in outline and size. It was 
said to go from Arabia once every five hundred years, to deposit 
the ashes of the preceding Phoenix, or its own ashes, in the temple 
of the Sun at Thebes, in upper Egypt. The rabbins have thought 
that there is a reference to this Arabian bird in Ps. ciii. 5, and 
vci Job xxxix. It is renewed in youth after long periods of time, 
and is a good emblem of the transformation and renewal wrought 
by Divine Love in the heart. As bearing upon this it may be 
noticed that the version of 1881 has the word "eagle" in Rev. 
viii. 13, instead of the " angel " of the version of 161 1. 

There is some relationship between this fabulous bird and the 
tutor of Achilles, the aged Phoenix, who remained unmarried and 
thought of himself as transformed again into a beardless youth (//, 

Book V.] NOTES 357 

ix. 445-44S). The Phoenix and Mercury are associated in //. xxiv. 
314-321, where Jove's eagle is sent ahead of Mercury on the mis- 
sion of pity and help to Priam. The mission of Raphael, that of 
Mercury and the eagle, and that of the Phoenix to the temple of 
the Sun are all missions of pity, as symbolized by the egg of myrrh 
which the Phoenix bears. 

275. On the eastern cliff. Divine Love is not a mere sentiment, 
but goes through the intellect before it reaches the heart, its final 

279. O'er his breast, etc. In Raphael's attire the breast-covering 
is "righteousness"; the girdle is "truth'' as represented in the 
divine promises ; the shoes are the "preparation of the gospel of 
peace" {Eph. vi, 14, 15). We have a parallel to this in Homer's 
account of the robing of Juno (//. xiv. 17S-189). The cloak 
about her shoulders was the work of Pallas Athene and represented 
the wisdom of that goddess ; Raphael's broad shoulders are a mark 
of wisdom. Juno borrowed the cestus or girdle of Venus, 

"Embroidered, many-colored and instinct 
With every winning charm — with love, desire, 
Dalliance and gentle speech — that stealthily 
O'ercomes the purpose of the wisest mind." 

Like this many-colored rone was that of Raphael with colors 
"dipt in Heaven." The "shapely sandals" on Juno's feet are 
matched by the "feathered mail" shading the feet of Raphael. 
The errand of Juno so attired was to make peace in the distracted 
household of Oceanus ; that of Raphael, to bring peace to Para- 

285. Like Maias son, etc. In resembling Juno he resembles 
Mercury, for the two have much in common. Mercury stole 
Jove's sceptre, Juno attempted to rule the world by putting her 
spouse to sleep ; Mercury stole the cestus of Venus, Juno bor- 
rowed it ; both are alike in " fleetness like the wind." 

286. Heavenly fragrance. Ps. xlv. 7, 8. The oil with which 
Juno anointed herself " perfumed the air of earth and heaven " (//. 
xiv. 170-174). 

287. Straight knew him. The angel of Love is easily distin- 
guished (r Cor. viii. 3). 

289. In honor rise. Expressing their sense of Love's dignity. 
The gods assembled in the halls of Jupiter started from their seats 
when Juno came among them (//. xv. 85, 86). 


291. Glittering tents. The tents, the field, the odors, the wil- 
derness, the spices are all features of the Garden in the Song. The 
sense of "wilderness" is given not as meaning a dreary desolate 
region, but a fertile spot waiting for the hand of Art to reduce it 
to order. 


The hospitality of Abraham and Manoah in sacred story and of 
Alcinous in classic legend is here imitated. Possibly the name 
Alcinous (Strong-minded) may have suggested the introduction of 
philosophy at the table. 

310. Morn risen on mid-noon. This figure, 'which has been uni- 
versally applauded as a stroke of the highest genius, is partly an- 
ticipated in the Hymn on the Nativity, 83. The Phoenix was the 
son of Eos, or the Dawn. 

311. Sotne great behest. Abraham and Manoah inferred that 
their angelic visitants had some message for them. Compare Gen. 
xviii. QXidiJudg. xiii. for various features of this meeting and inter- 

321-323. Eve's meaning, which some have strangely misunder- 
stood, is that the earth, inspired of God, brings forth fruit that is 
best eaten fresh from the stalk, though abundantly, in small excess 
over immediate needs, but furnishes beforehand in larger amounts 
that which improves by storing and drying, to be gathered and laid 
up. Paradise allows no hoarding for display, or in distrust of future 
supplies. The law is illustrated in the giving of manna {Exod. xvi. 

334. What order, etc. True hospitality in natural or spiritual 
things stimulates appetite, and emulates the example of Christ in 
keeping the best until last {John ii. 10). 

339. In India East or West, etc. The East Indies are the 
native country of the Fig ; the West Indies and neighboring parts 
of the continent of the Orange, the Hesperian fruit of iv. 250. 
The *' middle shore " is usually understood to mean the coast of the 
Mediterranean, but that involves some difficulties and we must 
probably include all between the East and the West Indies. Pon- 
tus, according to Pliny, is the native place of the Cherry, which was 
brought thence into Italy by Lucullus. Others of our common 
fruits are found wild in Pontus, giving it the surname of Euxinus 
(Hospitable). The Pomegranate {Punicum granatum) has its 
home on the Punic coast. 

341. Akinotis. Odys. vii. 114-131. In the garden of this hos- 

Book V.] NOTES 359 

pitable king Mercury was honored with libations, and the gods 
appeared visibly at the feasts. 

344. For drink, etc. The drinks are those of Cant. v. i ; the 
imtst being sweet wine that does not intoxicate, the meaths a drink 
of honey, and the creams the milk. 

350. Our primitive great sire. The title applies to Abraham, 
"the father of the faithful," no less than to Adam, and rounds out 
the resemblance between Abraham's reception of his angelic visit- 
ors and Adam's reception of Raphael. 

354. More solemn, etc. The great and wealthy Solomon had all 
this tedious pomp, these horses and liveried servants, when he 
offered hospitality to the Queen of Sheba (2 Chron. ix. ; i Kings 
iv.). The beauty of the lily, for which God cares, is beyond all 
the glory of human art and splendor. 

361. Native of Heaven, etc. Here is an uncertainty like that of 
-^neas before his goddess-mother Venus {ALn. i. 327, 328) ; of 
Alcinous before Ulysses {Odys. vii. 199) ; and of Manoah before the 
angel. It is the privilege of the hospitable to entertain angels 
"unawares" {Heb. xiii. 2). 

371. Virtue. The commentators are puzzled to know why 
Raphael is here called Virtue and afterwards (viii. 249) a Power. 
In the received version of the Scriptures the word "virtue" is 
used to translate both ap^ri] and dvvafiig, and is therefore a wider 
term including "power." The special reason for using here the 
title Virtue is that in the garden of Alcinous, before Ulysses was 
invited to partake of the banquet, he did homage to the queen, the 
revered Arete (Virtue), and wore a garment made by her. 

378. Pomona (pomuvi, an apple), among the Romans a goddess 
presiding over fruit-trees. The Bride {Cant. viii. 5) was brought 
up under the apple-tree. 

380. Undecked, save with herself. The Bride is adorned with 
jewels, lilies, and purple, which, however, are only the beauties of 
her own person, the well-turned joints, the fair complexion, and 
the dark mass of hair. 

381. Fairest goddess, etc. The three who contended for the 
prize of beauty on Mount Ida were Juno, Minerva, and Venus, of 
whom the last was adjudged the most beautiful. 

388. Mother of mankind, ^iz. The salutation resembles that to 
Sarah {Gen. xviii. 9, 10), that to Manoah's wife {Jndg. xiii. 3), and 
that to the virgin Mary {Luke i. 28-31). 

391. Raised of grassy turf, etc. The bounteous supply placed 
on the table is an offering to the Lord, as in the case of Manoah, 


and the table becomes an altar for the gift. It is therefore made 
according to the directions given for altars {Exod. xx. 24). 

395. A while discourse, etc. In discoursing with the angel of 
Peace, the givers of the feast observed the injunction of Matt. v. 
23, 24. Before feasting in the garden of Alcinous, libations were 
poured to Mercury. 

406. May of purest spirits, etc. A cautious interpretation of the 
statement that " man did eat angels' food." 

410. Every lower facility, ^iz. " Spirit being the more exalted 
substance virtually and essentially contains within itself the inferior 
one ; as the spiritual and rational faculty contains the corporeal — ■ 
that is, the sentient and vegetative faculty" {Christ. Doct. vii.). 
The senses are mentioned in an order corresponding to the inti' 
macy of the knowledge which they impart. We hear of things 
remote through the testimony of others ; we see things in our pres- 
ence ; the smell attracts or repels us ; the touch requires contact ; 
the taste gives us inner experience. 

412, 413. These terms are as applicable to spiritual as to physical 
processes. Concoction corresponds to mature deliberation ; diges- 
tion to analysis ; assimilation to synthesis, which passes from the 
concrete to the abstract and turns corporeal into incorporeal. 

416. The grosser feeds the purer. The philosophy resembles 
that of ^n. vi. 724-727. It is impossible to believe that Milton 
intended this speech of Raphael to be understood in any literal 
sense, and therefore, though without great confidence, I venture 
the following explanation : The universe is a living unit, like man, 
and contains Body, Life, Intellect, and Love, of which in each case 
the lower nourishes and sustains the higher. The moon possibly 
symbolizes the body of wisdom attainable by human reason under 
present conditions, and the vapor on its face the doubts and uncer- 
tainties pertaining to such conditions. The sun may appear to 
Raphael as an emblem of Love, which is friendly to Life and aug- 
mented in the increase of life, and therefore spoken of as supping 
with the Ocean, the source and symbol of Life. Raphael's partial 
identification with Juno is the chief basis of this explanation. 

42g. Mellifluous dews, etc. The poet describes the giving of the 
manna, which is called "angels' food" {Ps. Ixxviii. 25) and which 
appeared on the ground after the dew had evaporated {Exod. xvi. 

13, 14. 31)- 

433. Think not I shall be nice. " A dinner of herbs where love 
is" satisfies an uncorrupted appetite {Prov. xv. 17), but the heaven- 
sent manna did not content the murmuring Israelites {Numb. xxi. 5). 

Book V.] NOTES 361 

434. N'or seemingly, etc. Raphael says to Tobias : ' ' All these 
days I did appear unto you ; but I did neither eat nop drink, but ye 
did see a vision " ( Tohit xii. 19). 

436. Keen dispatch, etc. The offerings of Manoah were con- 
sumed by fire. 

439. Nor wonder, etc. The transmuting power of Love is prob- 
ably in the poet's mind {Rom. xii. i, 2). 

443. Eve ministered, etc. Eve here assumes the duties of Hebe's 
office, one of which was to prepare the chariot of Juno (//. v. 722), 
and another to act as cup-bearer to the gods. The two functions 
are allied (note on iv. 396). The Bride acts as cup-bearer {Cant. 
viii. 2). 

447. Sons of God. Gen. vi, 2. See note on xi. 622. 

461. Now knoiv I tvell, etc. Manoah knew by the consumption 
of his sacrifice that an angel had been present and had made him 
an object of special favor {Jtidg. xiii. 21-23). 

467. Yet what compare ! A thought in the mind of one who sat 
at table with Jesus {Luke xiv. 15). 

469. From tvhom all things proceed. To sustain a similar state- 
ment Milton elsewhere quotes Ro7n. xi. 36. He argues that mat- 
ter is an emanation from God and discusses the whole subject in 
Christ. Doct. vii. 

478. Till body tip to spirit work. Commentators have found in 
this passage a kind of materialism, inasmuch as it makes body 
change into spirit ; but the poet at the same time just as strongly 
affirms the reverse, that body is originally derived from spirit. 
" Neither is it more incredible that a bodily power should issue 
from a spiritual substance than that what is spiritual should arise 
from body ; which, nevertheless, we believe will be the case at the 
Resurrection" {Christ. Doct. vii.). i Cor. xv. 44. 

479. So from the root, etc. St. Paul's analogue for illustrating 
the change from the natural to the spiritual body, but extended 
more into particulars. 

482. Spirits odorous breathes. To Milton spirit begins with 
etherealized matter and not with thinking substance. The pow- 
ers of vitality, sensibility, and reason must be added to spirit, and, 
except perhaps in the case of the infinite God, are incapable of 
separate existence. 

484. Vital . . . animal . . . intellectual. Milton regards these 
as functions of man and not the separable parts of which man is 
composed. '* Man is a living being, intrinsically and properly one 
and indivisible, not composed or separable, not according to the 

/ .. 


common opinion made up and framed of two distinct and different 
natures, as of soul and body — but the whole man is soul and the 
soul man, that is to say, a body or substance, individual, animat- 
ed, sensitive, and rational" {Christ. Doct. vii.). He maintains 
that at death men go out of existence and remain so until the Res- 

488. Discursive or intuitive. " An old distinction with psychol- 
ogists. Discursive reason, or Understanding, they say, is that 
which arrives at knowledge gradually by searching, comparing, 
distinguishing, etc.; Intuitive Reason is immediate insight or per- 
ception of what must be true necessarily. But there is great de- 
bate as to the validity of the distinction." — Masson. 

491. Wonder not then, etc. In the time of Christ it seems to 
have been accepted that spirits would not eat human food, and on 
one occasion use was made of the notion to overcome the unbelief 
of the disciples {Luke xxiv, 37-43). 

497. A belief expressed by St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei xiii. 23. 

503. Whose progeny, etc. Adam is at once the son of God and 
the progenitor of the human race {Lzike iii. 38). 

509. Scale of nature, etc. "Scale" {scala, a ladder) suggests 
the ladder which Jacob saw at Bethel {Gen. xxviii. 12). Jacob's 
ladder reached from earth to heaven, Adam's from matter to spirit, 
which, properly taken, means from earth to heaven. 

519. Son of Heaven a7id Earth. The designation is founded on 
the twofold origin of man, the spiritual and the material {Eccl. 
xii. 7). 

527-54T. The freedom of the human will is fully discussed in 
the third chapter of the Christian Doctrine. 

547. Cherubic songs, etc. The preference here expressed doubt- 
less has its basis in i Cor. xiii. i, 2, where the superiority of Love 
(Raphael) over all wisdom and eloquence, human or angelic, is 
strongly affirmed. 

548. AW knew I not, etc. I knew (had the consciousness) that 
I was created free both to choose and to act. 

557. Worthy of sacred silence, a translation of Horace's sacro 
digna silentio. But the motive for the thought is found in Rev. 
viii. I, which tells of a silence in Heaven just before the revela- 
tion of the history of rebellion against God. Observe (1. 562) that 
Raphael makes a " short pause " before beginning his narrative. 

558. We have yet large day. After Ulysses has spoken long, 
Alcinous asks for a further account of the Grecian heroes at Troy 
and says encouragingly : 

Book V.] NOTES 363 

"A night immeasurably long 
Is yet before us. Let us have thy tale 
Of wonders. I could listen till the break 
Of hallowed morning, if thou canst endure 
So long to speak of hardships thou hast borne." 


Raphael's narrative opens with the enthronement of the Son of 
God over the angels, the stupendous event which marks the true 
chronological beginning of the poem. Resistance to the new ben- 
eficient reign was the form in which Evil originated ; and the his- 
tory of Evil is the subject of the whole narrative. 

564. Sad task and hard. Ulysses and yEneas preface their nar- 
ratives with a declaration of the unwelcomeness and difficulty of 
the task {Odys. ix. 12 ; ^n. ii. 3). 

565. The invisible exploits, etc. This single caution should 
have prevented the stupid blunders of critics who charge the most 
careful, consistent, and philosophical of poets with confounding 
matter and spirit. Milton's representations of spiritual activity 
have everywhere the support of such authorities as Homer, Virgil, 
Spenser, and the Sacred Writers. 

569. The secrets of another world, etc. Virgil intimates that to 
reveal the secrets of the spirit world is unlawful {yEn. vi. 266). 
Euripides makes the offence of Tantalus to have consisted in not 
restraining his tongue — in divulging the secrets of the gods {Orest. 
10). Paul, when caught up into Paradise, "heard unspeakable 
words which it is not lawful for a man to utter " (2 Cor. xii. 4). 
Matt. xiii. ii ; I Cor. ii. 7-16. 

573. This was Christ's avowed method of presenting spiritual 
truth {John vi. 63, and elsewhere). 

578. Heavens . . . roll . . . earth . . . rests, etc. Raphael 
did not in beginning his narrative care to announce a startling 
theory of the universe. He conformed his language to the ap- 
pearance of things and thus justified the method of the Sacred 
Writers {Eccl. i. 4, 5). When afterwards the question was dis- 
tinctly raised, the same speaker proposed the Copernican theory. 

583. Heaven^ s great year. " The years of the right hand of the 
Most High " (Ps. Ixxvii. 10) may be noteworthy either for their 
number or their length. Plato's great year of the fixed stars is 
25,920 years, and, according to some writers, equalled the life of 
the Phoenix (Virg. Eclog. iv. 5, 12). 


587. Hierarchs. Since all believers are "priests unto God" 
{^Rev. i. 6), all their leaders are properly called "hierarchs." 

589. Standards and gonfalons. In the standard the streamer is 
commonly fixed to the upright staff, in the gonfalon to a horizontal 
cross-piece. The first is used probably as in the case of the Is- 
raelites {Niwib. ii.) to distinguish the tribes ; the second, on ac- 
count of its prominence in religious processions, to mark those dis- 
tinguished as the Levites were in the camp of Israel. 

594. In orbs, etc. Compare the scene described in Dan. vii. 


601. Thrones, Dominations, etc. Corresponding to the titles 
under the government of Babylon when a conspiracy was formed 
against the advancement of Daniel, the first president (Throne). 
Dan. vi. 1-7. 

617. All seemed, etc. No loyalty could be more obsequious 
than that tendered to Darius whom it was proposed for thirty days 
to raise to godhead. 

622. Mazes intricate, etc. The rejoicing of Wisdom in the 
presence of God (compare vii. 10-12 with Prov. viii. 30). This 
play of Wisdom is seen both in the courses of the stars and in the 
Word of God (Pj. xix.), and is hard to understand to those not 
specially enlightened (2 Pet. iii. 15-17). 

631. Desirotis. The longing for fellowship joined with love was 
manifested by Jesus at the Last Supper {Luke xxii. 15). 

In circles, a more exact translation than our ' ' round about " 
{kvk\(^. Rev. vii. ii). 

633. Rubied nectar. Homer's viKzap ipvdpbv {II. xix. 38) and the 
wine of Matt. xxvi. 29. 

636. On Jlozvers reposed, etc. The angels are sustained by di- 
vine grace and in turn manifest graces in themselves (see note on 
iii. 358). 

642. Avibrosial night. II. ii. 57. Sleep, like food and drink, 
restores the wasted vigor of the human body. Among the immor- 
tals the supply is always equal to the waste. Sleep is one of the 
means to this immortality. 

646. Roseate dews. The slumber was like that of Jupiter and 
Juno, with "glistering dews" falling upon them from a golden cloud 
(//. xiv. 351). The scene is one for the angel of Love to describe. 

648. Wider far, etc. The courts of God at Jerusalem were 
three: the inner for the Levites, the second for the children of 
Israel, and the outer for the Gentiles. But his courts are wherever 
true spiritual devotion is rendered {John iv. 21-23). 

Book V.] NOTES 365 

651, In bands and files. These correspond to families and fel- 
lowships on earth and are the natural outgrowth of affection. God 
approves and blesses such unions of aims and desires {Matt, xviii. 
19, 20). 

652. By living streams, etc. Rev. vii. 17. Israel abiding in 
tents along the rivers may have furnished a model for this scene. 
The wizard Balaam found the Israelites too many to be numbered 
{Num. xxiii. 10; xxiv. 5, 6). The houses in which the gods slept 
were made by Vulcan. 

655. Fanned with cool winds. Care deprives the lost of slum- 
ber, but these cool winds signify the dispersion of care and sorrow 
{Rev. vii, 17 ; xxi. 3, 4). 


A conspiracy of rulers and kings against Jehovah and his 
Anointed is connected with the Messiah's exaltation {Ps. ii.) and 
with his crucifixion {Matt, xxvii. I, 2). The conspiracy against 
Daniel is not forgotten, and secret consultations between Agamem- 
non and Ulysses are imitated. 

659. He of the first, etc. The other two "presidents" in 
Babylon were jealous of Daniel's prestige {Dan. vi. 4), and the 
high-priest was the chief conspirator against Christ {John xviii. 
13, 14). 

671. Next subordinate. Beelzebub. The relation of the two 
may be understood from the notes on i. 81 and 82, It is the rela- 
tion of the Will to the Reason, of the chief to the councillor. 

673-685. Companioti dear, etc. A relation very similar to that 
between Satan and Beelzebub existed between Agamemnon {ir^av 
+ /xkfivujv, the Very Resolute, or Steadfast) and Ulysses (compare 
//. iv. 339-361, etc.). 

689. The quarters of the North. As the Hebrews reckoned 
direction, the north was on the left hand, and fitly, therefore, the 
locality of the enemy {Ezek. xxxviii. 15). "By the title of the 
' North ' in Holy Writ the devil is used to be designated, who with 
the thought to bind up the hearts of the nations with the iciness of 
insensibility, said, ' I will sit also upon the mount of the covenant 
in the sides of the north.' And he is ' stretched over the empty 
place,' because he has possession of the hearts that are not filled 
with the grace of the love of God" {Gregory the Great on Job 
xxvi. 7). 

696. He together calls, etc. The tail of the great Dragon 


" drew the third part of the stars of Heaven" {Rev. xii. 4). Beel- 
zebub performs this office in harmony with Isa. ix. 15. 

697. Or several. After Ulysses had gone among the Grecian 
host and persuaded now one, now another, he addressed the whole 
army together. Temptation may assail either in public or in 

703. Ambiguous words, etc. Beelzebub resembles Ulysses in 
this {^n. ii. 98, 99). The warrior commonly wore a cloak which 
he cast off when he acted his real nature. The Greeks obeyed 
him when, bearing the royal sceptre, he addressed them in the 
name of Agamemnon (//. ii. 183-186). 

708. As the morning star. Pallas distinguished her other favor- 
ite, Diomed, with similar glory (//. v, 4-6) : 

" Upon his head 
And shield she caused a constant flame to play, 
Like to the autumnal star that shines in heaven 
Most brightly when new bathed in ocean's tides." 

Homer's " autumnal star " is Sirius, which in early autumn rises 
before the sun. Christ calls himself "the bright and morning 
star," meaning that he is the hope of the world. In his exalted 
expectation the king of Babylon is compared to Lucifer, "the son 
of the morning." In sublime anticipation, when the foundations 
of the earth were laid, " the morning stars sang together." In all 
these passages the star is the symbol of hope. Beelzebub was 
elated with hope in the new enterprise of his chief, and by like 
false hopes one-third of the heavenly host were allured and deceived. 

721. Nearly it now concerns, etc. Like the heavenly irony in 
view of the building of the tower of Babel (Gen. xi. 4-7). 

726. Let us advise, etc. Landor says of this: "Such expres- 
sions of derision are very ill applied and derogate much from the 
majesty of the Father. We may well imagine that very different 
thoughts occupied the Divine Mind." But Landor's ideal God 
probably diflfers in many respects from the God of Revelation. Is 
not ridicule the proper reward of folly ? Do we not instinctively 
laugh at a conspicuous lack of common-sense ? Why should God 
appoint one method for us and another for himself in punishing 
folly ? The humiliation and shame which men feel when they 
have erred is the effect of the scourge of this divine irony. The 
Greeks smiled at the discomfiture of Thersites. Athene laughed at 
the overthrow of the blustering Mars. 

Book V.] NOTES 367 

734. Lightning divine. I am disposed to regard "lightning" 
as a noun, notwithstanding the form " light'ning " of the first edi- 
tion. It is the reflection, or rather the visible expression, of the 
mind of the Father that is thus set forth. Lightning, as we have 
seen (note on iv. 928), is the symbol of the laughtelt of Wisdom at 
the folly of her foes, and is both a weapon and a trophy of her 
triumph. There was lightning in the face of the angel who had 
overcome the prince of Persia {Dan. x. 6) and in that of the angel 
who had released our Lord from his tomb {Matt, xxviii. 3). 

745. As the stars ^ etc. The stars are spoken of under the figure 
of an army, and a numerous army is also compared to the drops of 
dew {Deut. iv. ig ; 2 Sam. xvii. 12). 

749. Seraphitu and Potentates and Thrones. Some have under- 
taken to make out for Milton a ninefold angelic hierarchy, like 
Dante's, but with little success, Milton's threefold superior divis- 
ion is, I think, taken from i Cor. xiii. 13. The inner circle about 
the throne of God is devoted to Love, and on it dwell the Seraphim 
who are said to love most. The next circle is given to Hope, and 
on it are the Potentates, for hope gives strength and courage {Ps. 
cxix. 81 ; Rom. viii. 24). The outer circle is that of Faith and is 
assigned to the Thrones, because Faith justifies, like one sitting on 
a throne of judgment. Where Faith, Hope, and Love are, there 
grow the nine fruits of the Spirit {Gal. v. 22, 23). Love, Joy, and 
Peace characterize the three degrees of Seraphim ; Patience, Kind- 
ness, and Goodness (the elements of Hope — Rom. xv. 4), the three 
degrees of Potentates ; Faithfulness, Meekness, and Self-control, 
the three degrees of Thrones. But these divisions are not mut- 
ually exclusive ; a Seraph may also be one of the Potentates or 
Thrones. Satan and his adherents had already put themselves be- 
yond the outermost circle of Faith, and had forsaken their alle- 

751. All thy dominion. This is coextensive with the earth, in- 
cluding the sea. The proportion fully stated is as follows : The 
possessions of one man are to the dominions of the race as the 
dominions of the race are to the kingdoms of the Blessed. Such 
a proportion is implied in the question, "What shall it profit a 
man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" 

757. A mount raised on a mount. In imitation of the " Moun- 
tain of the Congregation" described in Isa. ii. 2, 3, and Mic. iv. 
I, 2, There is also, perhaps, an allusion to the exploits of the 
Giants who piled Ossa upon Pelion, in order to scale the heavens 
in the contest with the gods. 


758. With pyramids and toivers. Ovid's description of the pal- 
ace of the Sun is imitated, as at the beginning of Book II. 

760. Lucifer (Light-bringer), though commonly applied to the 
morning-star, more fitly designates the sun, as apparently it does 

770. Cahminious art, etc. The calumny consists in represent- 
ing their beneficent Ruler as a tyrant, the art in so skilfully per- 
verting the divine decree as to give color of truth to the repre- 

774. Merely titular, empty of significance, since all authority 
is vested in the Messiah. 

783. Too much to one, etc. Such was the feeling of those who 
questioned the authority of Christ and drew from him the parable 
of the wicked husbandmen who abused the servants and killed the 
son of the lord of the vineyard {Luke xx. 1-14). 

792. Orders and degrees. In the kingdom of Heaven, says Mil- 
ton in a melodious period, " they undoubtedly that by their labors, 
counsels, and prayers have been earnest for the common good of 
religion and their country shall receive above the inferior orders of 
the blessed the regal addition of principalities, legions, and thrones 
into their glorious titles." 

799. Much less for this, etc. We cannot acknowledge his 
right to impose laws upon us ; much less, because he has done 
this, can we admit his claim to worship and adoration ; we will 
not obey, much less worship him. 

802. To govern, not to serve. Satan sees greatness in authority; 
Christ in service {Matt. xx. 25-27 ; Luke xix. 14). 


Like Enoch and Noah in the antediluvian world and Lot in 
Sodom, one arises in the midst of the general godlessness to testify 
against it. He appears, like Antipas the "faithful martyr" at 
Pergamos {Rev. ii. 13), at the very seat of Satan. 

805. Abdiel (Servant of God) is the angel of Faith. He has 
many points in common with the Homeric Vulcan, who among the 
angry gods advised submission to Jupiter (//. i. 571-583), forged the 
thunderbolts, and was a most obsequious servant. Vulcan also 
wrought invincible shields for Hercules, Achilles, and ^Eneas ; 
Faith performs the same office for the Christian {Eph. vi. i5). 

807. In a flame of zeal, etc. Vulcan, as the god of Fire, was 
sent by Juno to oppose with his flames the angry current of the 

Book V.] NOTES 369 

river Xanthus roused against Achilles (//. xxi. 136, 235, 324 ; Rev. 
xii, 15). His association with fire explains the classing of Abdiel 
with the Seraphim. 

832-838. The thought closely follows Heb. 1., to which other 
parts of Abdiel's speech also point. 

843. One of our matiber. Heb. u. 11. Keightley supposes the 
meaning to be that the Son by becoming king over angels lowered 
himself to their nature, and thus, in effect, raised them to his. 
Others, admitting this to be the obvious sense, object Heb. ii. 16. 
The latter passage, however, has not prevented theologians from 
believing that before his incarnation the Messiah existed in the 
angelic nature. St. Augustine remarks: " God appeared again to 
Abraham at the oak of Mamre in three men, who, it is not to be 
doubted, were angels, although some think that one of them was 
Christ, and assert that he was visible before he put on flesh " {De 
Civ. Dei xvi. 29). This should be compared with Dait. iii. 25. 

846. Hasten to appease, etc. Fs. ii. 12. 

850. Old of season . . . singtdar . . . rash. The appeals of 
Faith affect different minds differently. Felix found the message 
unseasonable {Acts xxiv. 25) ; some reject it because of unpopular- 
ity {John xii. 42) ; others because of fear {John ix. 22). 

856. Who saiv, etc. An attack upon the first article of faith. 
Heb. xi. 3. 

860. Self- begot, self- raised^ etc. He means that Time and 
Chance concurred in their production, as Saturn and Ops were 
the progenitors of the gods. 

864. Our puissance, etc. Ps. xii. 4. In direct opposition to the 
spirit of Faith, which ascribes all power to God {Acts iii. 12, 16). 

86g. Beseeching or besieging. Possibly in allusion to the mock 
worship paid to Christ by the soldiers {Matt, xxvii. 27-30). 

872. As the sound of waters. "Their voice roareth like the 
sea " was said of the Northern army arrayed against the daughter 
of Zion {Jer. vi. 22, 23). The figure sustains the allusion to the 
contest between Vulcan and the roaring Xanthus (//. xxi. 325, 365). 

880-894. Contagion spread. The apostates are the evil spirits 
of 2 Pet. ii. and Jude. Jude likens them to those engaged in 
Korah's rebellion, to which we here find unmistakable allusions 
{Num. xvi. 16-50). 

898. Unmoved, tmshaken, etc. These words are carefully 

chosen and signify that Faith is opposed (i) to Unbelief, (2) to 

Doubt, (3) to Wavering, (4) to Fear. Of these Unbelief is the 

farthest and Fear the slightest remove from Faith ; the adjectives 



are, therefore, in the order of a climax which is continued in the 
nouns, Loyalty, Love, and Zeal. 

goi. Nor number, nor example, etc. The evil spirits of Peter 
and Jude are associated with the destruction of Sodom and Go- 
morrah (2 Pet. ii. 6-8 ; Jude 7). Abdiel's experience is like Lot's. 

905. Nor of violence, etc. The superiority of the faithful to all 
sorts of physical torture and violence has been proved in all ages 
{Heb. xi. 36, 37). 


Like the faithful ones of earth, Abdiel escapes from his peril 
among the enemies of God and receives divine approval for his 

I, 2. All night, etc. He was protected a whole night, like 
Daniel, from the mouths of lions, and escaped, like Lot, through 
the plain to the mountain of safety. 

3. Circling honrs. The Hours i^'Q-pai, Seasons) were originally- 
understood as divisions not of the day but of the year ; and they 
were twelve in number, corresponding to the twelve signs of the 
zodiac. Commentators on Geii. xlix. have pointed out a connec- 
tion between the twelve signs and the twelve sons of Jacob. In 
Rev. xxi. 12, the names of the twelve tribes are written on the 
twelve gates of the new Jerusalem, and at those gates are likewise 
twelve angels whom, in all probability, Milton regarded as imper- 
sonations of the Hours. The venerable Bede substituted the 
names of the twelve Apostles for those of the heathen signs of the 

4. There is a cave, etc. Lot dwelt in a cave of the mountain 
while God was destroying Sodom ; Moses was hidden in a " cleft 
of the rock" on Mount Sinai, while the glory of God passed by 
{Exod. xxxiii. 22). Others of the sacred writers speak of hiding 
from the terrible glory of God in "clefts of the rock" (i Kings 
xix. 9-13 ; Isa. ii. 19-21). The glory which is unbearable to men 
and from which they need to be hidden is the beatific day of 
Heaven, but even there the angelic nature gratefully receives the 
shade. Moreover, the difference between Heaven and Earth is 
emphasized in that here man must retire into the cave, there the 
glory retires. 

10. ''Obsequious, obedient, doing its duty, cf. 783 ; now a de- 
preciatory word, implying servile." — Pitt Press. But is not the 
word intended to set forth the contrast between the ruling majesty 
of Light and the subordinate function of Darkness ? 


12, Wejtt forth the Morn, etc. If Night retires as a servant, 
Day comes as a conquering ruler. In Homer the Morn is arrayed 
in " saffron robes." 

i6. Embattled squadrotis. In the morning Elisha (one of the 
faithful embraced in Heb. xi. 32) by special illumination saw him- 
self guarded against the foes who had gathered in the night 
(2 Kings vi. 17). 

ig. War in procinct. " The Roman soldiers standing ready to 
give battle were ' in procinctu,' girded." — Clar. Pi-ess. 

20, Already knozvn, etc. The king of Israel learned from 
Elisha the movement of the Syrians before the messengers came 
and verified the prophet's word (2 Kings vi. 8-12). 

26. High applauded. The "good report" obtained by the 
faithful {Heb. xi. 2, 39). 

29. Servant of God, well done I etc. The reward of the faith- 
ful (Matt. XXV. 21). 

32. In %vord mightier than they in arins. The Word of God, 
which Abdiel maintained, is "sharper than a two-edged sword" 
{Heb. iv. 12). 


The rebellion is against the divine decree, and therefore 
Michael's army contains the defenders of the Law while Satan's 
contains its enemies. The forces approach each other like the 
Greeks and Trojans moving to battle. 

44, Michael (Who is like God?) is the spirit of Justice. In 
Jiide (9) he appears as the antagonist of Satan, contending about 
the body of Moses, the Lawgiver. He resembles Achilles, the son 
of Thetis (Law), the greatest warrior of the Iliad. Landor thinks 
that the " archangel is here commanded to do what God gave him 
not strength to do." This is an error of the same nature as that 
corrected in the note on i. 170. 

45. In military prowess next. In the Grecian host the strongest 
warrior after x\chilles was Ajax, the war-hero ; but since " Wisdom 
is better than weapons of war" {Eccl. ix. 18), Gabriel here fitly 
holds the second place. 

49. Equal in number. These military saints, led by the spirit 
of the Law, are to inflict upon the rebels the penalties for trans- 
gression. Every violation of the Law has its appropriate penalty 
{Heb. ii. 2). 

56. Clouds began, etc. The scene resembles Sinai on the morn- 
ing of the day when God descended to communicate the Law to 

Book VI.] NOTES 373 

Moses {Exod. xix. 16-18). The clouds veil from the eyes of finite 
beings the unendurable terror of God's wrath, and the smoke binds 
up the flashes of anger that seem trying to get free and consume 
the disobedient. 

60, Trumpet. The first of the trumpets mentioned in J^ev. viii. 
The trumpet, the loudness and the terror all accompanied the giv- 
ing of the Law on Sinai {Exod. xix. i6). 

62. Quadrate Masson understands to mean "a cubic mass." 
The Latin quadratus agmen means an army marching in regular 
order of battle in the form of a parallelogram. 

63-69. The union (//. iii. 9), the noiseless obedience to leaders 
(//. iv. 427-432), the heroic ardor (ixsyea TrvfiovTsg), and the firm- 
ness under the leadership of Neptune (//, xiii. 130-133) manifested 
by the Greeks before Troy are all here attributed to the marching 
angels. Similar union, order, wisdom, obedience, and firmness are 
enjoined upon Christians {Ep/i. iv. 1-16). 

73. As when the total kind, etc. Probably with chief reference 
to Rev. xix. 17. 

79. Far in the horizon, etc. The enemies of Israel fill the whole 
•* breadth of the land" at their coming [Isa. viii. 8 ; Rev. xx. 8, 9). 

83. Shields variotis. The Trojan army, unlike the Grecian, was 
composed of many dilTerent nations and languages, and fought less 
unitedly than the Greeks. Here the loyal army has but one kind 
of shield — Faith ; while the apostates put their trust in various 
things — Force, Cunning, Valor, etc. {Isa. x, 12, 13). 

85. B abided powers, etc. The word "banded" directs us to 
Ezek. xxxviii., where the army of Gog with "all his bands" is 
preparing to burst " like a storm" upon Israel. In fact this par- 
ticular prophecy contains the entire basis for the distinction in 
physical aspect between the battles of the three days. 

99. High in the midst, etc. Another view reminding us of 
Satan's resemblance to the Rutulian leader, Turnus {^n. vii. 
783, 784). The epithet "godlike" (0eoet5>7c) is applied by Homer 
to Paris, Hector, Sarpedon, and other favorites of Apollo. 

loi. Idol{i'i^h)\ov), image. The reason for speaking of Satan 
as the image or likeness of divine majesty will be seen in the note 
on 1, 301. 

102. ''Flaming would be properly of Seraphim, but perhaps 
Milton thought that the Seraphim of Isaiah were the Cherubim of 
Ezekiel." — Keightley. How lightly this critic tosses aside tlie 
supposed erudition of Milton ! As the sun among clouds, so is 
Satan among the Cherubim ; and as the dark masses are brightened 


by its beams, so under Satan's influence the Cherubim which have 
no light in themselves become " flaming." 

103. Then lighted, etc. Hector, though using a chariot to bear 
him from place to place, was accustomed to fight on foot (//. v. 
494; vi. 103). 

109. Haughty sti'ides, etc. So the godlike Paris advanced in 
front of the Trojan line when moving to battle (//. iii. 16-22). In 
like manner Goliath defied the armies of Israel; the epithet " tow- 
ering " strongly suggests the Philistine giant. 

III-20I. ABDIEL'S single combat with SATAN 

This combat unites features of that between the scrupulously 
truthful Menelaus and the perfidious Paris, and that between 
David and Goliath, suggesting at the same time others of the faith- 
ful worthies named in Heb. xi. — Samson, Gideon, Elijah, and the 

114. heaven ! etc. Apparently a general feeling towards the 
divinely beautiful but cowardly and treacherous Paris (//. iii. 39, 
etc.). Such emotion is the sign of a faithful spirit {Rev. ii. 2 ; i 
Sam. xvii. 26). 

118. To sight unconquerable. So Goliath seemed to the men of 
Israel, except David, and so the Anakim to the spies, except Caleb 
and Joshua. 

120. Whose reason I have tried, etc. Menelaus tried the effect 
of an embassy upon the Trojans and afterwards the effect of force 
(//. iii. 205, 351). David, having heard the blasphemy of Goliath, 
put him on a level with the brutish lion and bear, to be dealt with 
only by force. Samson, too, by means of a riddle upon a lion 
which he had slain, vanquished the Philistines intellectually before 
he did it physically {Jtidg. xiv. 18, 19). 

128. Half-way, etc. David met Goliath between the armies of 
Israel and Philistia (i Sam. xvii. 48) ; Menelaus met Paris between 
those of Troy and Greece (//. iii. 340-342). 

137. Out of smallest thittgs, etc. David killed Goliath with a 
smooth stone from the brook and revived Israel's faith in God, 
illustrating the truth of John the Baptist's declaration that out of 
"these stones" God could "raise up children unto Abraham" 
{Matt. iii. 9). 

139. Or with solitary hand, etc. Illustrated by the fate of 
Sennacherib under the hand of the destroying angel (2 Kings 
xix. 35). 

Book VI.] NOTES 375 

147. My sect, etc. The ^'followers of them who through faith 
inherit promises" {Heb. vi. 12). 

152. Seditions angel. Involving the charge brought by Ahab 
against Elijah — "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" 

161. Some plwne. After the combat Menelaus bore away 
"the helmet with the horse -hair crest" that belonged to Paris 
(//. iii. 369). David brought away from the conflict with Goli- 
ath the head of the giant, presumably with the helmet (i Sam. 
xvii. 54). 

168. The minstrelsy, etc. The minstrelsy of David more than 
once put to flight the evil spirit in Saul (i Sam. xvi. 14-23). For 
the next line compare the taunt of Goliath, " Am not I a Philistine 
and ye servants to Saul ?" 

183. Reign thou in Hell, etc. Ps. Iv. 15. David's threat con- 
signed Goliath to the same fate — " I will smite thee and take thine 
head from thee." 

188. On thy ij?ipious crest. Faith strikes at the seat of reason 
and intelligence. David smote Goliath on the forehead. Mene- 
laus smote Paris on the head, but his weapon failed him (//, iii. 

189. He lifted high. Menelaus commonly prayed to Jove be- 
fore striking a blow (//. iii. 351-354, etc.). David met Goliath in 
the name of God. Christ taught the need of divine aid for casting 
out devils {Matt. xvii. 21). 

190. Szuift zuith tempest. Abdiel's classical counterpart, Vulcan 
(note on v. 805), forger of Jove's thunderbolts, sometimes used his 
own terrible fires in battle. When Juno summoned him to the 
conflict at Troy, she gave him a tempest of the winds to consume 
the foe, " heads and armor," with a fiery torrent (//. xxi. 335, 336). 
Elijah brought fire from heaven upon his enemies (2 Kings i. 

193. Ten paces huge, etc. Hector recoiled and fell on his knee 
when struck by Diomed on his triple helmet, the gift of Apollo 
(//. xi. 350-356). The third captain sent by Ahaziah to arrest 
Elijah sank to his knees in supplication. Satan does involuntary 
homage to Faith {James ii. 19). 

197. A mountain, etc. The evil spirit whom the disciples could 
not cast out was spoken of by Christ as a mountain that a little 
faith might remove into the sea {Matt. xvii. 18-20). Compare 
Faerie Queene I. xi, 54. 

200. Ours joy filled, etc. As in the armies of Israel, when the 
huge bulk of Goliath lay li*^eless upon the ground (i Sam. xvii. 52). 



The ensuing conflict resembles the contest of the Greeks and 
Trojans over the dead body of Patrochis, whom Achilles finally 
comes upon the field to avenge. It is the contest referred to in 
yiide, where Michael is said to have disputed with the devil about 
the body of Moses, and is elsewhere designated as a contest be- 
tween the Letter and the Spirit of the Law, 

202. Archangel TRUMPET. The second sounding, that of Rev. 
viii. 8. For the shouting compare Josh, vi, 20 and Jtidg. vii. 

207. Now storming ftiiy rose, etc. Some of the noises of battle 
are referred to in Job xxxix. 23-25 ; but Homer's descriptions are 
more direct and complete (//. iv. 440-451), Milton's critics inva- 
riably select this passage to show how the poet has confused matter 
and spirit. But it must be interpreted in view of Ezek. xxxviii. g, 
upon which it is based. There is a " war of elements" in which 
ethereal forces contend ; there are arrows of heat and cold, spears 
of light and shields of darkness, chariots of cloud and steeds of 
fire. There is also spiritual warfare — the "clamor "of contradic- 
tion, the clashing of " arms on armor" in intellectual attack and 
defence, the " brazen chariots " of transporting passions which such 
contests generate. 

215, Under Jiery cope. Compare the fighting over the corpse of 
Patroclus (//. xvii. 366-377). 

217. Heaven resounded, etc. As when the gods took part in the 
strife before Troy (//. xx. 56-58). 

221. The least of whom, etc. The angels under Michael were 
the defenders of the Law. Since its least portion has a greater 
validity than the whole course of nature, the good angels may be 
said to be armed with the momentum of all the elements {Matt. 
v, 18), 

223. How much more, etc. It does not follow that because he 
who breaks one part of the Law is guilty of the whole, therefore 
he who breaks all the parts is no more guilty. The meaning is 
that every part of the Law is defended with the force of the 

230. Each divided legion, etc. The spirit of Gadara is spoken 
of in the same breath as one and many. " What is thy name? 
And he said Legion " {Ltike viii. 30), He was a spirit of unclean- 
ness that found the body of swine an acceptable refuge and em- 
braced all the various forms of vice allied in kinship of defilement. 

Book VI.] NOTES 2,77 

234. To turn the sway of battle is to change defence into attack, 
as Jesus invariably did when assailed by his enemies. 

236. The ridges are the ranks of the host. — Clar. Press. The 
ranks are opened by drawing aside the shields, to throw weapons 
in attack ; closed by bringing together the shields in defence. 

240. Deeds of eternal fame, etc. Those who do and teach the 
Law are " called great in the kingdom of Heaven" {Matt. v. ig ; 
Fs. cxix. 96). 

245. In even scale, etc. When Hector was about to encounter 
Achilles for the last time, Jove weighed the destinies of the two 
warriors and showed the immediate death of Hector (//. xxii. 

247. Prodigious power, etc. After the death of Patroclus, and 
before the coming of Achilles to avenge him, Hector was the most 
powerful warrior on the field of Troy and struck terror even into 
Ajax and Menelaus. Besides, the Greeks were compelled to fight 
in darkness and invisible to one another (//. xvii. 565-647). 
Such darkness is hinted. at, as an essential part of this scene, in the 
expression, "fighting seraphim confused." Moral darkness comes 
whenever the devil has unusual power, as at the time when Christ 
was arrested {Luke xxii. 53). 

250. Felled squadrons at once. Jupiter declared that if* all the 
Trojans, without the aid of the gods, were ranged against Achilles, 
they could not resist him even "for a little while " (//. xx. 26, 27). 
Michael wields " the sword of the Spirit." When the Spirit came 
upon Samson, with the jawbone of an ass he slew a thousand Phi- 
listines {Judg. XV. 14-16). 

251. Two-handed szuay. In allusion, probably, to the fact that 
the tables of the Law filled Moses' two hands {Deut. ix. 15). 

255. Tenfold adamant. Satan opposes the letter of the Law to 
its spirit ; the pride of such a nature is almost invincible {Matt. xix. 

258. Glad, etc. The feeling of Achilles when he saw Hector 
approaching (//. xx. 423, 424). 

260. Captive dragged in chains. Satan was led captive by Christ 
{Eph. iv. 8). Achilles frowned when about to fight with Hector 
(//. XX. 428 ; xxii. 260, 312) and afterwards dragged him dead at his 
chariot wheels. 

275, Evil go ivith thee, etc. Compare the curse upon Simon 
Magus, who wished to buy the Holy Ghost with money {Acts 
viii. 18-20). 

282. Nor think thou, e'c. The constant reply to the threats of 


Achilles is that he is terrible only with words. From several in- 
stances take //. xxii. 279-282 : 

"Godlike Achilles, thou hast missed thy mark; 
Nor hast thou learned my doom from Jupiter, 
As thou pretendest. Thou art glib of tongue. 
And cunningly thou orderest thy speech 
In hope that I who hear thee may forget 
My might and valor." 

293. Meanwhile, etc. Those who despise the Law (Moses) are 
certain also to despise the Gospel (Christ) {John v. 45-47). 

297. For ivho, though with, etc. Three vigorous similes fall 
short of expressing the tumult of the battle when Hector and Nep- 
tune (like Achilles, a representative of retributive justice) led the 
opposing hosts of Troy and Greece into conflict (//. xiv. 394-399). 

301. Like st gods they seemed, etc. The apparent equality estab- 
lished by the poet between Michael and Satan may be understood, 
if we recall what they represent. When Patroclus was slain, Hec- 
tor stripped from him the armor of Achilles and afterwards* wore it 
himself, so that Vulcan was called upon to forge a new suit for the 
Grecian hero. This illustrates the meaning exactly. The Law is 
divine in letter and spirit, but the letter may be used to oppose its 
true intent, as the devil used the Scripture in tempting Christ and 
as the Jews used it to condemn the only perfectly obedient One to 
death {John xix, 7), Thus Satan withstood Michael in armor be- 
longing of right to the saint himself. 

304. Swords. Neptune, the avenger, has "a sword of fearful 
length and flashing blade like lightning" (//. xiv, 385, 386), The 
sword of the Spirit encounters a two-edged sword {Heb. iv. 12), 
This is perhaps the dilemmas with which Jesus was frequently as- 
sailed by his enemies and with which he attacked them in turn. 
Several of them are given in Luke xx. 

305. Shields. The Word of God (compared to the sun in Ps. 
xix.) is a means of defence as well as of attack and is so used by 
sinners as well as by saints. 

311. N'ature's cojicord is produced by the operation of law: to 
oppose the Law to itself would be a return to Chaos, 

316. With next to Almighty arm. God gave the Law and he 
alone can abrogate it in letter or in spirit. But the victory of 
Christ delivered men from the bondage of the letter into the free- 
dom of the spirit (2 Cor. iii. 6). 


Book VI.] NOTES 379 

320. The sword of Michael, etc. The presence of the Spirit 
gave temper to the sword of Michael, and effect to the words of 
Peter on the day of Pentecost, else the miracle of Christ's resurrec- 
tion would have had no more power than other miracles. The 
gift of the Spirit enabled the Apostles to address every man in his 
own tongue in a more intimate sense than is usually supposed ; it 
enabled them to show men their own hearts and to make their own 
thoughts act the part of accusers. 

322. Neither keen nor solid, etc. The first of these words is 
often applied to wit or wisdom, the second to stupidity or igno- 
rance. Peter first refuted the slander and enlightened the ignorance 
of his hearers, and then charged upon them the guilt of having 
murdered Christ {Acts ii. 12, 13, 36). 

327. Then Satan first knew pain, etc. When the multitudes 
had heard Peter, " they were pricked in their heart." No such 
feeling seems ever before to have resulted from the preaching of 
the Gospel. 

329. Discontinuous %vound. The sword of the Spirit " divides 
asunder the soul and spirit, the joints and marrow, and is a dis- 
cerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" {Heb. iv. 12). 
The account of the wound inflicted by Michael is apparently based 
on this verse. 

332. Nectaroiis htanor. When Mars was wounded as Satan here 
is, he hurried groaning and bleeding to the skies (//. v. 856-871). 
Tears, instead of blood, are the sign of a wounded spirit. The 
" nectarous humor" of angels corresponds to the tears of men, the 
word " nectarous" bearing the analogy to the saltness of tears, be- 
cause of the preserving quality of salt. Compare note on v. 56. 

335. Forthwith, etc. //. xiv. 424-431. 

344. Soon he healed. Paean healed Mars after he was wounded 
by Diomed (//. v, 899-901), just as flattery restores the spirit 
wounded by rebuke. The chariots of Hector and Satan probably 
signify nearly the same thing as the ministrations of Paean — the 
support furnished by the favorable public opinion of their ad- 

350. All heart they live, etc. The Clar. Press quotes what Pliny 
says of God {Nat. Hist. ii. 5) : " Quacunque in parte, totus est 
sensus, totus visus, totus auditus, totus animas, totus animi, totus sui." 
If the devil is in the heart ever so little, he is there with all his 
faculties {Matt. xiii. 13-15); and likewise if faith is there in ever 
so small a measure, it is there with all its saving efficacy {Matt. 
xvii. 20). 


355-357. Gabriel . . . Moloch. The encounter between Ga- 
briel and Moloch, like the encounters between Pallas, or her fa- 
vorite Diomed, and Mars, illustrates the superiority of Wisdom to 
brute Force {Eccl. ix. 18). The wisdom of the proto- martyr 
Stephen "cut to the heart" the murderers of Christ, so that they 
stopped their ears, cried with a loud voice, ran upon the spiritual 
victor and took his life {Acts vi. 11-14 ; vii. 54-57). But Moloch 
(Mars) was defeated in the contest with Stephen no less than in 
the contest with Diomed (//. v, 859-861) or the present encounter 
with Gabriel. 

363-365. Uriel and Raphael . . . Adrammelech and Asmadai. 
The former two we have already met. Adrammelech (2 Kings 
xvii. 31) was one of the foreign gods brought into Samaria with 
those who settled there after the captivity of the ten tribes. 
Asmadai is the evil spirit whom Raphael drove, as narrated in the 
book of Tobit, into the uttermost parts of Egypt. These contests 
may be understood by comparing them with those between Phoe- 
bus and Neptune, between Mercury and Latona, and between 
Juno and Diana, In the first, the light of the sun, with all 
that it implies, is opposed to the darkness of the shadow of 
death, and the light wins. In the second, the peaceful activity of 
Mercury, god of the useful arts, is opposed to the absolute in- 
ertness of Latona (Death). In the third, the wedded love of 
Juno is opposed to the virgin indifference of Diana (//. xx. 70-72). 
Uriel wins as Phoebus does. Raphael, as we have seen, unites 
the qualities of Mercury and Juno, and his victory over Asmadai, 
therefore, means a conquest over both inertness and indiffer- 

369-371. Ahdiel . . . Ariel, ^tc. Compare the deeds of Mene- 
laus (//. xvii. 61-81, 109). These additional exploits of Abdiel 
suggest Heb. xi. 33, 34, where Faith is said to have "stopped the 
mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire." Ariel (Lion of 
God) is a name applied to Jerusalem {Isa. xxix. i) and stands for the 
Jewish people ; Arioch (Lion-like) probably represents the nations 
akin to the Jews, and Ramiel the Gentiles. 

These victories of the angels are paralleled on earth in the con- 
quests won by the apostles in their preaching. After Philip's testi- 
mony on both sides of Jerusalem, to the Samaritans on the north 
and the Ethiopian on the south, came Paul's and Peter's to the 
Gentiles. Beginning at Jerusalem and extending to the neighbor- 
ing nations, they finally proclaimed the Gospel to all men {Acts 
viii. 5-8, 26-39; ^^- 20-31). 

Book VI.] NOTES 381 

375. Contented tvith their fame, etc. Such fame was that of 
Dorcas and Cornelius {Acts ix. 39 ; x. 4). 

386-393. This passage has its basis in Ps, Ixxvi. 


Stripped of its allegorical cloak, the question before the apostates 
is by what means to resist and quench the Holy Spirit who caused 
them pain and wrought all their discomfiture. The plan devised 
is an invention which, literally understood, would mean the gun- 
powder and cannon used in earthly wars, and which in spiritual 
effect is analogous to that of intoxicants upon men. Ill those who 
use it, it produces forgetfulness of pain {Prov. xxxi. 6, 7), and their 
drunken laughter is discomfiting to all lovers of order and sobri- 
ety. Figures drawn from drunkenness applied to spiritual con- 
ditions are very common in the Scriptures. 

412. Placed in guard their ivatch. The Trojans kept watch 
after their success over the Greeks deserted by Achilles (//. viii. 
553-565). Christ enjoins watchfulness upon his followers, and 
lights up the dark future for them with the "cherubic fires" of 
prophecy {Matt. xxiv.). 

416. Conncil. Agamemnon called a council after his defeat by 
the Trojans (//. ix. 9-12). 

418. Known in arms. The address of Teucer to his men in 
adversity is purposely imitated (Hor. Odes I. vii. 30-32). The in- 
troduction of Teucer's sentiments foreshadows a change in Satan's 
war policy. 

425. Pozverfnllest. In an important sense this is true, notwith- 
standing the overthrow of the third day. They had resisted the 
Holy Spirit, but his function is not to take vengeance. 

432. As soon contemned. Thus doing "despite unto the Spirit 
of Grace " {Hcb. x. 29). 

438. More valid arms, etc. Resistance to the Spirit is harden- 
ing. Apparently the more violent weapons are satire and ridicule, 
such as the Pharisees used when they drew from Jesus a warning 
against blasphemy of the Holy Ghost {Mark iii. 22-30; Matt. xii. 

442. If other hidden cause, etc. The Pharisees who had been 
warned against blasphemy sought after a sign, apparently that they 
might exercise their ingenuity in bringing discredit upon it {Matt. 
xii. 38). 

447. NiSROCH (Great Eagle) was the god of the Ninevites (2 


Kings xix. 37), and corresponds to the Aquilo, or Boreas, of the 
ancients, who is referred to by Milton in the verses On the Death 
of a Fair Infant (8-12). The deity is associated with robbery and 
violence, as appears in the " boisterous rape" of Aquilo and in the 
character of the Ninevites {Nah. iii. i ; Jon. iii. 8). Nisroch repre- 
sents Selfishness, which is condemned in the Scriptures under the 
name of Adultery, the word being used in the spiritual sense of 
loving self more than God. Christ charges this sin upon those who 
had spoken against the Holy Ghost, and warns them by the exam- 
ple of Nineveh, which had repented at the preaching of Jonah 
{Matt. xii. 39, 41). Nisroch is the "prime of principalities," 
whether we consider the size and strength of the eagle, the impor- 
tance of Nineveh, or the antagonism of selfishness to the first great 

449. Sore toiled. A reminiscence of //. x. 471, where the Thra- 
cians, from the country of Boreas, are said to have slept after battle 
"overpowered with toil." Compare the condition of those who 
tried to entangle Jesus in his talk {Matt. xxii. 46). 

450, Cloudy in aspect. The gloominess of the god is duplicated 
in his worshipper, Sennacherib, whose army had been annihilated 
at one stroke by the angel of the Lord (Michael?). 

456. For what avails, etc. The strength of Nisroch is subdued 
by spiritual pain, as the strong man armed and defending his house 
is overcome and spoiled by a stronger {Matt. xii. 29). 

459. Sense of pleasure, etc. What Nisroch contemplates as not 
undesirable is the condition described by St. Paulas " past feeling" 
yEph. iv. 19). 

462. Pain is perfect Diisery, etc. Selfishness demands personal 
comfort and convenience ; hence pain is an efficient weapon 
against it. Pain is much less effective against Ambition, by which, 
as in Satan, it is even despised. 

469. With look composed. This contrasts with the disturbed 
countenance of Nisroch. Satan nevertheless proposes a course to 
satisfy Selfishness ; it is to meet the sober demands of righteousness 
with contempt and ridicule. 

475. Plant, fruit, flower ambrosial. From the distillation of 
these men get the fiery essence of alcohol, the intoxicating principle 
of all spirituous liquors. There is a moral as well as a physical 
drunkenness, where the natural instincts and appetites, released 
from the control of reason, exercise themselves as in beasts ; and 
in both Nineveh and Babylon the two seem to be united and to 
constitute the conspicuous vice of those wicked cities. It is with 

Book VT.] NOTES 383 

the spiritual intoxication of so-called Pleasure that Satan proposes 
to quell the pain of spiritual wounding. A remarkable passage in 
prophecy (see note on 1. 574) associates the drunkenness and degra- 
dation of Nineveh with what seems a description of cannon. 

482, In their dark nativity, etc. Venus, or Aphrodite (dcppog, 
foam), the goddess of Pleasure, was born of foam {spuma) on the 
bosom of the sea. 

4S4. Hollozv engines^ etc. The description is so ordered as to 
harmonize with what the Bible says of the human throat through 
which, with its vocal organs, evil thoughts are uttered and which 
may become " an open sepulchre " {Rotti. iii. 13). 

485. With touch of /ire. Perhaps the fire of temptation whose 
instrument is the tongue {James iii. 6). 

487. Fi'oju far, etc. The epithet of Apollo ("EKaroc, the far- 
shooter) is again called into service. Apollo was an archer and 
incited Pandarus to shoot at Menelaus after his victory over Paris. 
What suggestions of lust in this collocation of names and things ! 
Pandarus (from whose name comes pander) uses a bow made of 
goats' horns to avenge the humiliation of Paris, the paramour of 
Helen and favorite of Venus (//. iv. 105-126). Paris himself was 
formidable only with the bow, likewise made of horn ; and he 
wounded in the foot both Diomed and Achilles, killing the latter. 
Homer particularly describes the noise of the bow of Pandarus, but 
Milton follows a stanza ir Spenser {Faerie Queene I. vii. 13). 

490. Disarmed the Thnnderer. When Paris with his arrows 
had wounded Diomed, he exulted in his foe's discomfiture with a 
laugh (//. xi. 378). The war-horse, whose '* neck is clothed with 
thunder," neighs, as if laughing in scorn, at the sound of battle. 
Thunder, then, both here and elsewhere, symbolizes laughter. The 
laughter of worldlings, pleasure-seekers, and drunkards is the base 
counterfeit of Wisdom's terrible laughter at the folly of sin. 

493. Meanwhile revive, etc. Compare the words of the archer, 
Teucer (Hor. Odes I. vii. 25-29). 

501. In future days, etc. A similar prophecy is found in //. 
xii. 34, 35 ; and, when analyzed, the doings of Apollo (Destroyer) 
and Neptune (Death) in breaking down the Grecian wall very 
much resemble those of the inventors of cannon in breaking down 
fortifications and making the use of ordinary armor ridiculous. 

511. The originals of nature, etc. Corresponding in man to 
the Appetites, needful for sustaining and propagating life. In the 
same line of interpretation the "sulphurous and nitrous foam" 
represents the instincts of Desire and Aversion. 


517. Mineral and stone. Milton calls these the "entrails" of 
the earth, and the entrails or bowels in man are often spoken of as 
the seat of the Sensibilities. The unregenerate heart is hard and 
cruel {Rom. ii. 5). 

519. Incentive reed. See note on 1. 485. 

520. Pernicious {perniciostcs, per + neco^ to kill outright), de- 
structive. The obvious sense is that the reeds, being touched to 
fire and ignited, become destructive when applied to the powder in 
the cannon. The tongue in man, first "set on fire of Hell," in 
turn " sets on fire the course of nature." 

521. Conscious Night. Night is confederate z.Vi^^\<^'i in the mis- 
chievous design. 


The virulence of the conflict hastens the doom of the apostates, 
as the sinfulness of men will hasten the last Judgment. The ante- 
diluvians, the cities of the Plain, and Jerusalem are all cited as 
illustrations of the condition of things just before the conclusion of 
the world's history. 

526. The matin trumpet. The third sounding of Rev. viii. 
A morning trumpet sounding in the glow of a ruddy dawn an- 
nounces the struggle that brings the catastrophe of judgment 
{Ezek. vii. 6, 7, 10, 14). It is like the divine threat before the 
Deluge {Gen. vi. 3). 

527. Golden panoply , etc. " The whole armor of God" without 
a stain {Eph. vi. 11-17). 

529. Light armed. The watchers wear armor which is less than 
the panoply — only a helmet and a breastplate (i Thess. v. 6-8). 
The word scotir conveys the idea of a more careful search than a 
survey from the hill-tops. These watchmen and scouts carry the 
light of truth to the remotest parts of the world {Matt. xxiv. 14 ; 
Mark xvi. 15). This is one of the preliminaries to the end. 

535. ZoPHiEL (Spy of God) corresponds to the Iris of the Iliad 
in her office of messenger, in her tempest-like fleetness, and in the 
warning which she bears (//. ii. 790-797). Both Homer and Mil- 
ton make Iris not so much the rainbow as the morning and the 
evening red, the former foretelling foul, the latter fair weather. 
In the moral sphere Zophiel appears to represent Hope, with a 
close relation to Shame. A hope that may be realized " maketh 
not ashamed " {Rom. v. 5) ; but Iris calls Pallas " as shameless as 
a hound " for presuming to oppose Jupiter (//. viii. 423). 

Book VI.] NOTES 385 

539. So thick a cloud. The armies to come in the last days 
against Israel are " like a cloud " {Ezek. xxxviii, g, 16), Compare 
//. iv. 274. The form of the announcement fits the messenger. 

546. Rattling storm of arrows. Consistent with the idea of a 
hail-storm. The arrows of Apollo rattled in his quiver when he 
came in anger to send a pestilence among the Greeks (//. i. 46). 
St. Chrysostom in a homily on Eph. vi, 14-17 says that " Satan's 
fiery darts are doubts, evil desires, and sharp sorrows." 

553. Trainings etc. While Pandarus was bending his bow, the 
Trojans about him held up their shields to conceal the perfidious 
preparation (//. iv. 11 3-1 15). Teucer, the Grecian archer, hid be- 
hind the shield of Ajax while fixing his arrows to the bow (//. viii. 

558. Vanguard, etc. The irony and equivocation of this speech 
is usually regarded as a wholly unnecessary and not very successful 
attempt at humor on the part of Milton. But it is essential. The 
aim is to describe the action not of artillery but of wit. Literal 
cannon, Milton knew as well as we do, would be an absurdity in 
angelic warfare, but he has warned us distinctly enough (v. 571— 
574) that material images are employed to shadow forth the invis- 
ible operations of spirits. The noise of the cannon is analogous to 
laughter, but even that is not ultimate with the poet whose aim is 
rather to describe the mood here of those who laugh, and presently 
the confusion of those who are laughed at. Since the wit is Satanic, 
it need not be of the highest order. 

572. A triple motmted row, etc. The Thracians who came from 
the country of Boreas ranged their arms in triple rows (//. x. 473). 
Bacchus, the lustful god, who was also specially worshipped in 
Thrace, had in his train the Satyrs, a drunken, gluttonous, and las- 
civious rabble. The three kinds of animal appetite seem to be 
symbolized in these triple-based rows of gaping mouths. 

574. Hollowed bodies, etc. There is a remarkable parallel be- 
tween this parenthetical clause and the prophecy of Nah. ii. 2-4. 
The hollowed bodies (" the emptiers have emptied them out "), the 
branches lopt ("marred their vine branches "), and the fir trees 
(" the fir trees shall be terribly shaken") are associated with other 
features in the same passage that are repeated here. 

579. A seraph, etc. Bacchus had in his train a multitude of 
frantic devotees bearing thyrsi — reeds with pine cones at the point, 
often lighted so as to make torches. The seraphs are doubtless 
these Bacchae who inflamed the lust of the Satyrs. 

586. Whose roar, etc. Apparently one of the forms Milton 


gives his favorite myth — the story of Orpheus, who represents the 
original harmony of nature, torn in pieces by the frantic rage of the 
devotees of Bacchus. 

588. Disgorgbig foul, etc. Matt. xv. 18-20. The vomit of the 
cannon is analogous to the loud laughter and filthy jesting of sen- 
sualists, whicii it is not only impossible to meet with reason but a 
shame even to listen to. The purer the spirit the more offensive 
and intolerable is the stench of such utterances. 

592. None on their feet, etc, Spenser's Orgoglio delivered blows 
like those of a cannon-ball which would have ' ' overthrowne a stony 
towre " {Faej'ie Qiieene I. vii. 12), The Red-Cross Knight was 
unarmed when attacked by Orgoglio, " and lightly lept from under- 
neath the blow," though overpowered by the mere wind of it. The 
use of arms is, of course, to convict and expel the apostates ; but 
what can seriousness avail against satire and ridicule ? Ridicule 
cannot touch virtue itself ; but vain efforts to compel drunkards to 
sobriety may easily become ridiculous {JMatt. vii. 6). 

600. If on they rushed, etc. The situation was substantially 
the same as when Israel tried to punish the shameful deed of Gib- 
eah and were beaten on two successive days by the slingers of 
Benjamin {Judg. xx.). 

603. To their foes a laughter. Paris, when he had wounded 
Diomed, sprung from his ambush with laughter, and this laughter 
of the archers seems to have been particularly annoying and con- 
fusing (//. xi. 378-406). 

609. Why come not on, etc. Like the taunt of Hector, when 
Diomed, fearing the thunder of Jupiter, fled before him (//. viii. 
160-166). Whenever Jupiter helped the Trojans with his thunder, 
the Greeks were discomfited and driven. 

614. As they -would dance. Meriones, dodging the spear of 
^neas, is ridiculed by the latter as a dancer (//. xvi. 617, 618). 
The Satyrs, who represent the satisfaction of the animal appetites, 
are pre-eminently dancing creatures {Isa. xiii. 21). 

619. Result (?r + saltare, to dance again) has a double mean- 
ing, like "open front," " composition," and "proposals." The 
speech that follows also bristles with puns. 

620. Belial. The promotion of this spirit of idleness and sensu- 
ality into prominence guarantees the meaning of the whole scene. 
It points to the conflict at Gibeah {Judg. xix. to xxi.). The out- 
rage upon nature by the sons of Belial, its unanimous condemna- 
tion throughout eleven tribes of Israel, the left-handed slingers in 
defence, the repulse of Israel of whom thousands were " destroyed 

Book VI.] NOTES 387 

down to the ground," the inspiration from Heaven to renewed at- 
tack, the ambush, the final victory that came from a prior annihila- 
tion of all partners and means in lust and debauchery, the purify- 
ing flames that obliterated the defiled city, the threatened extinc- 
tion of a whole tribe, and its preservation by union with the vir- 
gins of Jabesh, form a logically connected series of incidents by 
which Milton has certainly been guided in this part of his narra- 

629. Highthened, etc. Like Hector and the Trojans after their 
first success in battle with the favor of Jove (//. viii. 538-554). 

635. Rage prompted them. After Diomed was wounded by 
Paris, Ulysses sustained the fight almost alone against the Trojans, 

"A wild boar issuing forth 
From a deep thicket, whetting the white tusks 
Within his crooked jaws ; they press around 
And hear his gnashings, yet beware to come 
Too nigh the terrible animal." 

The picture of rage is perfect (//. xi. 414-418). The boastings 
of Hector in anticipation of a victory over Diomed kindled the 
anger of Juno, so that she shuddered till Olympus quaked (//. viii. 

639. Their arms away they threw. The disciples, when "the 
abomination of desolation" appeared, fled, unencumbered, as 
quickly as possible, to the mountains {Matt. xxiv. 15-20). The 
time comes when the filthiness of the wicked becomes intolerable, 
the Holy Spirit departs, and wide-spread disasters ensue. 

640. For earth, etc. Canaan, often a type of heaven, is "a 
land of hills and valleys" {Deut. xi. 11). A derived meaning prob- 
ably is that heaven has distinctions corresponding to our nations 
on earth. 

644. Seated hills. The nations are sometimes spoken of as hills 
or mountains (Jsa. xli. 15). Convulsions and calamities among 
the nations belong to the closing scenes of the world's history 
{Matt. XXIV. 7). They are the antidote to pleasure-seeking and 
ungodly mirth. 

646. Amaze, etc. The feeling of the Benjamites when they saw 
their polluted city (Gibeah=:Hill) ascending in smoke to heaven 
{Jiidg. XX. 40-42). Other cities besides Gibeah seem to have been 

652. Under the weight, etc. In the war of the Gods with the 


Giants (following that of the Gods with the Titans) mountains were 
piled upon the earth-born monster Typhoeus who, like the cannon 
of the devils, cast forth smoke and flame. 

656. Their armor helped, etc. The degraded habits of de- 
bauchees are a source of real suffering when the means of gratify- 
ing their passions are destroyed. 

662. The rest in imitation, etc. It was by a ruse de guerre that 
Israel won an advantage over Benjamin, and Milton may have in- 
tended the mountains as a fit response and superior in ingenuity to 
Satan's stratagem. At all events, the contest seems to have reached 
the stage of mutual deception {Matt. xxiv. 23, 24). 

666. In dismal shade. A state in which one cannot recognize 
his friends, because of mutual suspicion and treachery {Matt. xxiv. 
10, 11). The succeeding lines are based on Matt. xxiv. 21, 22. 


The corruption, violence, and falsehood of the last days of earth 
lose themselves in a night {Matt. xxiv. 29) which is terminated by 
Christ's second coming. Of the time of the end even the Son of 
God professes himself ignorant {Mark xiii. 32) ; hence a formal 
authorization of judgment is needed. Vice is expelled from 
heaven, as it will be from earth, after doing its greatest possible 

673. Consulting on the sum of things. The crisis point in the 
moral history of all creation has been reached ; the war between 
good and evil has attained its greatest intensity, and a disclosure of 
the divine purpose is required. 

685. Ttvo days. The earthly warfare against evil is likewise di- 
vided into three parts {Rev. xi. 14). 

690. Equal in their creation, etc. Those who engaged in the 
fierce battles at Gibeah were brethren ; the advantage seemed to 
lie with the more ingenious strategy. All human contests are be- 
tween those of the same blood ; the angelic strife was no excep- 
tion to the rule of equality. 

695, What war can do. The conflicts of the last times will 
break all ties of humanity, country, and kinship {Matt. x. 21, 


698. Dangerous to the main. " Main" here signifies the main- 
land or continent. As the mountains of heaven are analogous to 
the nations or municipalities on earth, the whole continent corre- 
sponds to the race of mankind. There is danger that the fighting 

Book VI.] NOTES 389 

in heaven may ruin the whole continent, as on earth there is dan- 
ger that the tribulation of the last times, if allowed to continue, 
may destroy the whole race of men {Matt. xxiv. 22). 

711. Ascend my chariot. " Who maketh the clouds his chariot " 
{Ps. civ. 3), The Son of Man comes in the clouds of heaven to 
judgment {Matt. xxiv. 30). 

712. Shake Heaven's basis. Matt, xxiv, 29 ; Heb. xii. 26. In 
the war with the giants, Olympus shook under the immortal feet of 
angry Jove (Hesiod ; Theog.) The next thirty lines are based 
upon familiar passages of Scripture. 


The remainder of the book describes the scenes of judgment and 
vengeance for which we have been prepared by the events of the 
second day. Scriptural accounts of the judgment are followed. 

746. O'er his sceptre bozving. The Son is submissive to the 
Father even in the divine process of taking vengeance (i Cor. xv. 27). 

748. Sacred morn is Homeric (//. xi. 84), but there is a special 
fitness in calling the morning of the judgment-day sacred, for it is 
pre-eminently "the day of the Lord" {Joel ii. i, etc.). Compare 
also Matt. xxiv. 27. 

749. Whirlwind sound. This, I think, is intended as the 
fourth sounding of the trampet mentioned in Rev. viii. 12. It is 
the sound described in Ezek. i. 24 as " like the noise of great wa- 
ters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise 
of a host." The judgment scenes of the Bible are generally an- 
nounced by the sounding of a trumpet {Joel ii. i ; Matt. xxiv. 31 . 
To the loyal it was the voice of a trumpet summoning them to vic- 
tory ; to the apostates it was the sound of a whirlwind announcing 
overthrow. Those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind 
{Hos. viii. 7). 

750-759- This passage is taken almost entire from the first chap- 
ter of Ezek'el. 

761. Radiant Urim. " Urim" means lights, or flashing jewels. 
— Masson. Ezekiel (i. 27) describes the attire of the Son of Man : 
" From the appearance of his loins even upward and from the ap- 
pearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appear- 
ance of fire and it had brightness round about." It is the same as 
the "vesture dipped in blood" {Rev. xix. 13) and the "dyed gar- 
ments " {Isa. Ixiii. 1-3) of the Messiah when about to take ven- 
geance on his enemies. 


762. Victory sat eagle-winged. Ps. xc\\n. i. The eagle is the 
bird of Jove, typifies his might and presages his triumph. See note 
on i. 197. 

764. Three-bolted thunder. Suggestive of the trident of aveng- 
ing Neptune. The thunder was a reply at all points to the Satanic 
imitation, which had also this triple nature. 

776. His sign in Heaven. Alatt. xxiv. 30. The sign is by 
some supposed to be the Cross, but the Cross is not so spoken of in 
the Bible. On the other hand, the Rainbow is called a sign both 
by sacred {Gen. ix. 13) and by profane (//. xi. 27, 28) writers; 
besides, the Rainbow is part of the scene in the preceding lines, 
while the Cross is not. 

780. His -way p-epared. Isa. xl. 3-5 ; Luke iii. 4. When 
Neptune came to battle against the Trojans, a way was smoothed 
for him over the waves (//. xiii. 29, 30). 

784. With fresh flowerets, etc. One of the incidents when the 
Messiah comes with vengeance {Isa. xxxv. i, 2, 4). 

787. Hope conceiving froj7i despair. When Troy was burning, 
its remaining defenders fought with the feeling that " The only 
safety to the conquered is to hope for no safety" {^n. ii. 354). 

789. What signs avail? Like the brethren of Dives, they are 
not turned from their rebellion by a scene analogous to the Resur- 
rection {Luke xvi. 31). 

791. Hardened more , etc. The raising of Lazarus, so far from 
convincing the enemies of Jesus, only made them more bitter 
{John yii. 53; xii. 10, 17-19). 

795. At length prevail, etc. The alternatives considered by the 
priests who plotted against Christ were either to destroy him or to 
perish in the expected ruin of the Jewish nation {John xi. 50). 

801. Stand still, etc. Like the other speeches of the Divine 
Being, this contains the very language as well as the sentiment of 
Scripture, and the basal texts need no pointing out. 

823. Nor other strife, etc. Men are to be judged hy \\\Q: deeds 
done in the body (2 Cor. v. 10), and not by their wisdom or opin- 
ions. Perhaps this fact suggested to the poet the idea of a contest 
lowered to the plane of physical strength. 

824. Into terror changed, etc. The Angel in the pillar of cloud 
stood between Israelites and Egyptians, giving light to the former 
and spreading darkness over the latter {Exod. xiv. 19-24). 

827. The Four spread otit, etc. Ezek. i, 24. If, as has been 
supposed, the Four represent the four evangelists, then their prom- 
inence in this judgment scene is most fitting, for "the word that 

Book VI.] NOTES 391 

I have spoken the same shall judge him in the last day" {John 
xii. 48). 

832. Gloomy as night. To his foes the coming of the Messiah 
is like the coming of Neptune (Death) in the form of Calchas 
(Darkener?) against the Trojans (//. xiii. 44, 45). Night is meta- 
phorically put for death in John ix. 4. 

834. The steadfast Empyrean shook. The title of Neptune is 
" Shaker of the Shores," and when he moves, the earth trembles 
(//. xiii. 1 8, 19). The things shaken are subject to death or decay 
{^Heb. xii. 27) ; the throne is unshaken, because it endures forever 
{Heb. i. 8-12 ; Ezek. xxxviii. 19). 

835. Full soon, etc. Inspired by Neptune, Idomeneus the Cre- 
tan, brandishing two spears, ran against the Trojans, like the light- 
ning of Jove (//. xiii. 241-244). 

838. Plagues. Corresponding to the "seven last plagues "of 
Rev. XV. and xvi. Compare Hab. iii. 5 ; Ezek. xxxviii. 22. 

844. Tempestnoiis fell, etc. The Four are the evangelists ; the 
Word of God is like a tempest with arrows for rain {Ps. xviii. 

13, 14). 

848. Eve?y eye glared lightning. The ' ' burning coals " of Ezek. 
i. 13 seem to be taken by Milton for the eyes of the "living creat- 
ures," and from these fires " went forth lightning." 

850. Withered all their strength. The figure is apparently an 
allusion to the cursing of the barren fig-tree {Matt. xxi. 19). The 
words beginning at " withered" and ending at " fallen " mark the 
successive stages of decay — the leaves fade, the sap forsakes the 
branches, the trunk dries, the life is gone, rot begins and the tree 
falls {J tide 12). 

853. Yet half his strength, etc. When Jesus withered the fig- 
tree with his curse, he declared the power of faith to work still 
greater wonders. 

860. Crystal zuall, etc. Rev. vi. 14. The wall is like our hori- 
zon. When a part of the sky is hidden by a storm, the horizon 
wall seems to be broken and rolled inward. When the Trojans 
fled from Achilles into their city, the gates were thrown wide open 
and Apollo came to meet and rescue them (//. xxi. 537-539). 

863. Strook them with horror. The sight before them was the 
realm of death, which is abhorrent even to the gods, but not the 
worst of evils. Physical death, terrible as it is, is often preferred 
to mental anguish, and men seek it {Rev. ix. 6). 

867. The nnsufferable noise, etc. Analogous to the crash of the 
final ruin of heaven and earth (2 Pet. iii. 10). Delos would have 


fled and, like all other places, refused shelter to Latona in her 
pangs, but it had been moored by the will of Jupiter. 

871. Nijte days they fell. Describing the fall of the Titans, 
Hesiod says: "A brazen anvil descending from heaven nine 
nights and days, on the tenth would come to earth ; and again, a 
brazen anvil descending from earth nine nights and days, on the 
tenth would come to Tartarus." In the Bible a millstone is com- 
monly used to denote rapid descent through waters {Luke xvii. 2 ; 
Exod. XV. 5 ; Rev. xviii. 21). The idea of a nine days' fall prob- 
ably has its basis in the Ptolemaic conception (much more ancient 
than Ptolemy) of nine heavens, furnishing nine natural stages of 
descent. There are indications that the seven angels with the 
" seven last plagues," the angel announcing the fall of Babylon and 
the angel summoning the birds of prey {Rev. xvi.-xix.) are arranged 
in harmony with the same plan. 

Confounded Chaos roared. Chaos is the sea of elements which 
on the final day " shall melt with fervent heat" (2 Pet. iii. 10-12). 
At the fall of Babylon the sea is profoundly agitated {Rev. xviii. 


874. Encumbered, etc. The spirits of vengeance and destruc- 
tion that follow the Messiah's army are said to be glutted and 
drunken with the flesh and blood of the dead {Ezek. xxxix. 19 ; 
Rev. xix. 21). In like manner Chaos, the realm of natural death, 
is encumbered with too great a burden of the dead {Jer. vii. 32). 

875. Yawning received them ivhole. In the destruction of Korah 
the earth swallowed all his company and all their goods {Num. 
xvi. 31-33). 

878. Repaired her mural breach. So "the earth closed upon" 
Korah's company and the waters of the Red Sea upon Pharaoh's 
host. The heavenly horizon is now clear from all appearance of 
cloud or storm. 

Professor William C. Wilkinson asks for an explanation of the 
change from the masculine pronoun referring to heaven in 1. 783 
to the feminine here. I venture this: In the former instance 
Heaven is personified — Uranus looks cheerfully upon Gaea beneath 
who smiles back in answer. In this line heaven is conceived of as 
a city with walls and is treated, according to the rule of Latin 
grammar, as a feminine. The two are not the same ; the former 
is the upper, or sky, portion ; the latter the lower, or earth, portion 
of the quadrature the poet calls heaven. See diagram of Milton's 
Universe in " A General Survey." 

893. Measuring things in Heaven, etc. The account is given, 

Book VI.] NOTES 393 

after the manner of Christ, in the guise of a parable {Matt. xiii. 
35). There are still, as of yore, those who do not know how to 
interpret a parable. I cannot claim to have unravelled all of the 
complicated allegory of this book, but only to have indicated its 
leading lessons. If the story has been spoiled of its charm for 
truculent boyhood, perhaps it may seem somewhat worthier of 
study by mature minds. 

909. Let it profit, etc. The admonition of Jesus, after he had 
spoken his parables, was, " He that hath ears to hear, let him 
hear " {Matt. xiii. 9, 43). 



This digression from the thread of the story treats of the several 
kinds of Poetic Inspiration. That kind which Milton claims for 
himself comes from heaven and has its source in Spiritual Joy. 
Earthly inspiration comes from Sorrow — 

"Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought;" 

its Pegasus is the offspring of Neptune (Vengeance) and Medusa 
(Care), and rises skyward from a fountain of tears. The daughters 
of Memory haunt this fountain. Of these Calliope (the Fair-faced, 
though the lexicons say the Sweet-voiced), the Melancholy of // 
Penseroso, is at the close of the passage put in contrast with Mil- 
ton's Urania. The third and lowest kind of inspiration is that into 
which Bacchus enters, equally hostile to the lofty Joy of heaven 
and the decent Sorrow of earth. 

1. Descend, etc. Raphael has just communicated to Adam that 
warning of the Apocalyptic angel who ' ' flew through the midst of 
Heaven" and cried "Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the 
earth !" This invocation then means more than a change in the 
subject-matter of the poem from celestial to terrestrial themes ; it 
divides the whole action into two widely different parts. 

2. If rightly . . . called. The name might imply that the earth 
is not and never was her congenial dwelling-place. 

4. Pegasean wing. Compare note on ii. 930. The leading of 
Urania conducted the poet far above the heights of the clouds, 
above the reach of Sorrow and Care. 

5. The meaning, not the name. Poetic art without feeling Is 
but a name without significance ; when the song expresses the feel- 
ing, we have the meaning, or the inspiring divinity herself. Spir- 
itual Joy is the inspiration of celestial song. 

10. Wisdom thy sister, etc. Prov. viii. affirms the intimacy of 
Wisdom and Joy (30, 31), their priority to hills and fountains. 

Book VII.] NOTES 395 

and therefore to Helicon and Hippocrene (24, 25), their em- 
ployment of "witty inventions" (12), probably understood by 
the poet as the measures of sacred song. The phrase of Wisdom 
" playing " ( Vulgate, " ludens ") before God is accepted by Milton 
in his Tetrachof'don, and what conception of greater dignity could 
it imply than the music of poetic numbers ? Thus the Spirit of 
Song existed before the World and was the delight of God himself. 
Compare Hesiod, Theog. 51. 

12. Up led by thee, etc. Milton, like Paul, was caught up by 
his delight in spiritual truth into the third heaven and heard unut- 
terable words (v. 569, 570). 

15. " Thy tempering, tempered by thee, /. e., made to suit the 
breathing of ' an earthly guest.' " — Verity. 

17. As once Bellerophon, etc. //. vi. 201, Those who are ex- 
alted to spiritual privileges, as were Paul and Milton, are exposed 
to spiritual pride and the errors connected therewith. St. Paul rec- 
ognized this danger, and credited his "thorn in the flesh" with 
keeping him humble in a way less disastrous than that in which the 
gadfly stinging Pegasus humbled Bellerophon. 

24. More safe I sing, etc. Naturally because men are better ac- 
quainted with the earth and better able to understand it {John iii. 
12). But there was the new danger that his earthly sufferings 
would cloud and destroy the accuracy of his spiritual vision. 

29. Nightly or zuhen Jhorn, etc. " Johnson, on the authority of 
Richardson's Life (1734), relates that Milton ' would sometimes lie 
awake whole nights . . . and on a sudden his poetical faculty 
would rush upon him with an impetus, and his daughter was imme- 
diately called to secure what came.' " — Verity. I am suspicious of 
all such traditions, for they are contradicted by the result — the ex- 
istence of a poem with a logical coherence and exactness at the 
furthest possible remove from sudden visions and irresistible im- 
pulses. Night and morn are mentioned because they are scriptu- 
rally designated as times of spiritual visitation {Job xxxv. 10 ; Ps. 
XXX. 5). Inspiration may come during either sleep or wakefulness ; 
or, as St. Paul expresses it, either in the body or out of the body (2 
Cor. xii. 2). 

32. Drive far off, etc, Hor. Odes III. i. 1-4. "The disso- 
nance of Bacchus" is " the song of drunkards" referred to in Ps. 
Ixix. 12. In Milton's time the bard had reason to pray for such 

33. The race of that wild rout, etc. The descendants of the 
rabble who destroyed Orpheus. Both the name and the history of 


Orpheus {'Opc^vog, Darkness, or 'Op(pav6Q, The Bereaved) connect 
him with Sorrow. Wine is an antidote to Sorrow {Prov. xxxi. 6, 7); 
and accordingly Orpheus, the sweet, melancholy singer, with whom 
shadowy trees and gloomy rocks were in sympathy, and^who moved 
Pluto to tears, is torn in pieces by the wild and cruel devotees of 

34. In Rhodope. Melancholy is pale, and her representative is 
Calliope (Fair-face) ; but wine flushes the countenance, and hence 
Orpheus is destroyed in Rhodope (Red-face). 

36. Nor could the muse, etc. Even sorrow is not sacred and 
cannot move to pity among the savage devotees of Bacchus {Ps. 

39. Thou art heavenly, she an empty dreajn. The difference be- 
tween Joy and Sorrow in origin and duration is beautifully set forth 
in Isa. li. 11. 


The nature and the object of Revelation, as suggested by various 
expressions of Scripture, are set forth in this passage. 

41. The affable archangel. Raphael has been called " the soci- 
able spirit," because, like Mercury, he delights to consort with 
men ; now he is " the affable," because, like the same deity, he is 
distinguished for his eloquence (Hor. Odes I. x. i). 

52. Admiration (wonder). The thing that puzzled Adam, the 
origin of evil, the appearance of the great red dragon in Heaven 
{Rev. xii. 3), has puzzled the world ever since. 

62. How the world, etc. As the first thing found in the Script- 
ures, this is presumably the first thing a perfect man would wish 
to have revealed. 

72. Divine Interpreter. Mercury is called " interpres divum" 
{/^n. iv. 378). 

84. Deign to descend, etc. Adam argues that as the higher has 
been freely given, the lower will not be withheld. Paul also rea- 
sons thus {Ro?n. viii. 32). 

86. Hozv first began. To Adam's mind creation was a necessity 
(viii. 278) ; the inquiry is only about the method and the motive. 
Naturally the larger features are specified — heaven, earth, and the 
intervening space. 

91. Holy rest, etc. The seventh day of the creative week was 
hallowed because God rested then ; hence the poet assumes that all 
God's resting-time is holy. The contrast between God's eternity 
and the earth's lateness is impressively set forth in Ps. xc. 

Book VII.] NOTES 397 

95, Secrets, etc. For a reference to the secrets of creation see 
Matt. xiii. 35 and Rom. xvi. 25. 

99. Suspense in heaven, etc. The interest of the narrative is 
such as to take away consciousness of the flight of time. Possibly 
those Scriptures which speak of the sun's standing still may be un- 
derstood in this way. . 

103. Unapparent Deep. Chaos is called "unapparent" either 
to distinguish it from the visible earthly ocean, or, as others sug- 
gest, in allusion to the darkness which covers the chaotic Deep. 

115. What thou canst attain, etc. The end of Revelation, as 
stated in 2 Tim. iii. 15-17, is to make " wise unto salvation." 
The seraph Raphael (Love) is the very spirit of revelation and has 
the same commission as had the inspired writers. 

126. Knowledge is as food, etc. The figure is found in Job xv. 
2 and I Cor. viii. i. 


A proposition of Milton's Christian Doctrine is: "Creation is 
that act whereby God the Father produced everything that exists 
by his Word and Spirit — that is, by his will, for the manifestation 
of the glory of his power and goodness." For proof are cited 
Gen. i. 31 ; Ps. xix. I ; Rom. i. 20, etc. The immediate motive 
here assigned is to repair the loss caused by Satan's apostasy. 

131. Lucifer. The mention of Satan by this name suggests 
Babylon. The fall of Babylon, the redemption of the world, and the 
song of triumph on Mount Zion are joined together in Rev. xiv. 1-8. 

139. At least our envious foe, etc. Our adversary at least, per- 
haps also others, has been mistaken with regard to the number of 
the faithful. Satan's envy and ambition were foiled because his 
adherents were not in a majority. 

147. Number sufficient, ^\.Q.. The rebellious were to the faithful 
as the one steward who hid his lord's money was to the two who 
used it. It was easy for the one who employed well the ten talents 
to use also the additional talent of the unfaithful steward {Matt. 
xxv. 28-31). Heaven is now partitioned on this principle; the 
heritage of the apostates is given to the faithful. 

150. Lest his heart, etc. The creation of a new heaven and a 
new earth follows the general judgment (2 Pet. iii. 13), The 
principle of judgment, which is also that of restoration, is to take 
benefits from those who misuse them and give them to a nation 
bringing forth the fruits thereof {Matt. xxi. 43), 


154. In a 7}tomeni, etc. So the world is to be new created at the 
last day (i Cor. xv. 52). 

162. Inhabit lax, etc. Substantially the command given to the 
descendants of Noah after the Deluge, disobedience to which re- 
sulted in the confusion of tongues at Babel {Gen. ix. i, 7 ; xi. 4-9). 

169. Nor vacuous the space. Milton takes several pages of his 
Christian Doctrine to prove that the world was not made of noth- 
ing, but of something, and that something was God himself. It 
need not be said that the reasoning is inconclusive. 

176. Immediate are the acts, etc. This explanation harmonizes 
the passages that represent the creation as instantaneous with those 
that represent it as consisting of six different acts and extending 
through six successive days. The absurdity of the attempt to make 
Milton responsible for modern mistaken notions of a creation in 
six literal days is here very evident. He does not take Gen. i. lit- 
erally, and he does not expect to be taken literally himself. Read- 
ers of Milton are not enemies of science ; those who oppose reason 
and investigation know as little of Milton as they do of science. 
Besides, it is dishonest to deny that the impression which Gen. i. 
gives to uninstructed minds is that the creation occupied just six 
days. The issue cannot be disguised in any such fashion. 


Many passages descriptive of the creation are found in the Bible, 
and from these Milton gathered the particulars now presented. 

194. Gii't with omnipotence, etc. The girdle strengthens the 
body, and in Rev. i. 13 one like the Son of Man appears "girt with 
a golden girdle." 

197. About his chariot, etc. The poetical account of creation 
in Ps. civ. represents the Messiah as covered with light, riding on 
a chariot of clouds, and walking upon the wings of the wind. The 
light becomes the seraphs of Milton ; the clouds the cherubs ; and 
the winds are the winged spirits. Besides, the seraphs are poten- 
tates ; the cherubs, thrones ; and the winged spirits, virtues. 

210. On heavenly ground, etc. The assailants of Heaven had 
sunk through the ocean of Chaos, as the Egyptians sank in the 
Red Sea ; and Chaos was casting up the inert earth of its bottom, 
as the dead bodies of the Egyptians were cast up by the winds and 
waves. Chaos also symbolizes Time and its ruinous forces, over- 
turning and destroying everj'thing not as high and as firmly fixed 
as heaven. 

Book VII.] NOTES 399 

214. And szirg-in^ 7uaves. Newton and Keightley prefer " in " to 
" and." But it was the winds and waves acting together that 
turned up the sands, and not either of them alone. 

215. With the centre mix the pole. Heaven, being a hemisphere, 
has but one pole, at the zenith. 

225. Golden compasses. " He set a compass upon the face of 
the depth." They are taken from God's treasuries of wisdom 
{Prov. viii. 27, 21, 22). 

227. This tiniverse, etc. The mistakes of many make it neces- 
sary to call attention to the fact that it is not our earth which is 
here outlined by the sweep of the golden compasses, but the whole 
stellar universe. 

232. Thus God, etc. The eai-th, speaking according to appear- 
ances, was at the centre, where one foot of the golden compasses 
stood, and the heaven was limited by the circumference around 
which the other foot swept. In fact, however, there were as yet 
no heaven and no earth ; they were " without form and void," and 
only their respective places were marked. 

236. Vital virtue, etc. The Spirit is the life-giving and life- 
sustaining power. Body as well as soul is purified by its presence 
(i Cor. vi, 9-11). 

239. Then fonnded, etc. "Spirit " is the subject of all these 
verbs. Like things were brought together and unlike things were 
separated, so that there was no longer a chaotic mixture of earth, 
water, and air, but each so-called element found its own place. 
Collections of earth and water were formed into globes and the air 
was spun out between them. The full meaning of the poet may 
best be gathered from a comparison of his model, Ovid {^Met. 
i. 21-31). 


Besides the first of Genesis, many hints for the account of crea- 
tion are derived from Ps. c\v.,Job xxxviii., and other Scriptures, 
as well as from the first book of Ovid's Metamorphoses. 

243-260. THE FIRST DAY. 

245. Sprung from the Deep, etc. This is a fair inference from 
the statement that there was an evening and a morning and from 
Job xxxviii. 12. 

247. Sphered in a radiant cloud, etc. A pillar of cloud and fire 
led the Israelites in their journeys, showing that light may be dif- 


fused from such a source. This was a " tabernacle " or temporary 
abode, as distinguished from the sun, the permanent " house " or 
home of light. 

253-256. Nor passed uncelebrated, etc. Job xxxviii. 7. The birth 
of Apollo and Diana was celebrated by the attendant goddesses 
with a shout. 

261-275. THE SECOND DAY. 

268. The waters underneath, etc. Milton seems to conceive of 
the waters above the firmament as something like the Crystalline 
Sphere of the Ptolemaic system, lying outside of the heavenly bod- 
ies. These waters, forming the border of the World, also stand 
for what we call the river of Death (iii. 518). 

271. Misrule of Chaos far removed, etc. The establishment of 
the waters above the firmament is perhaps referred to in the ex- 
pression, " He strengthened the fountains of the Deep." This ex- 
pression, occurring as it does in the midst of others relating to the 
framing of the World, may very well suggest to the poet the idea 
that the waters above the firmament may have something impor- 
tant to do with the stability of the earth. 

276-338. THE THIRD DAY. 

295. As armies, etc. A celebrated passage in Homer (//. iv. 
422-428) compares an army rushing to battle to ocean billows. 
The reversal of the figure in this place is significant, because it 
represents the waters as obeying their Lord as perfectly as if they 
had intelligence and understood the command. 

299. With torrent rapture, etc. Waters are apparently spoken 

of in Ps. Ixv. 13, where it is said, " They shout for joy, they also 


321. The smelling gourd. No doubt the ivy, which is so closely 
associated with wine and with the leaves and berries of which 
Bacchus was crowned. The word which the King James transla- 
tors rendered "gourd" is "hedera" (ivy) in several Latin transla- 
tions. Bees gathered honey from the flowers and an oil seems to 
have been made of the berry. These facts may have suggested to 
Milton the epithet *' smelling," and they also clearly connect the 
gourd with the oil that makes man's face to shine {Ps. civ. 15). 

Corny, bearing corn, and perhaps having a hard horn-like nature. 
From this comes the "bread which strengtheneth man's heart." 

Book VII.] NOTES 401 

323., Bush zvith frizzled hair, etc. It is common to speak of 
leaves as the cojna, or hair, of trees. " Implicit " is not " tangled," 
but " folded in." The figure is reversed in the " bushy locks" of 
Cant. V. II. 

328; With borders, etc. Rev. xxii. 2. A feature common to 
earth and heaven. Raphael admires it as Mercury does the bower 
of Calypso {Odys. v. 73, 74). 

335. Ere it was in the earth. Milton here follows the received 
(but incorrect) translation of Gen. ii. 5, which should be, "And 
no plant of the field was as yet in the earth." This criticism by 
Keightley is confirmed by the Revised Version of the Scriptures. 

339-386, THE FOURTH DAY. 

355. Unlightsome first. Genesis makes a clear distinction be- 
tween the creation of the ' ' lights " and the putting of them into 
the firmament " to give light." 

358. Solved zvith stars, etc. The word "star" is derived from 
a root meaning to strew or sprinkle ; hence some take its meaning 
to be " that which is strewn or sowed" {Isa. li. 16). 

361. Made porous, etc. The houses of Menelaus {Odys. iv. 72) 
and Alcinous {^Odys. vii. 87), compared in splendor to the sun and 
moon, and the palace of Jupiter have many rooms filled with fur- 
niture of gold, silver, brpss, and ivory. 

364. Hither as to their fountain, etc. Milton is probably work- 
ing upon the psalmist's conception of the sun as a bridegroom {Ps. 
xix. 5). The light received by the planets is like the joy diffused 
by the bridegroom's presence among his friends {Matt. ix. 15 ; 
John iii. 29, 30). The first of these citations illustrates the rela- 
tion of Christ as a bridegroom to his disciples in general, the sec- 
ond his relation, to John the Baptist in particular. As the morning 
star heralds the coming of the sun, John heralded the coming of 
Christ. His light, too, like that of the planets, increased from his 
nearness to Christ, the Sun, though it seemed to diminish. 

370. Glorious lamp. The Latin lampas signifies both a wedding 
torch and the sun (Stat. S. vi. viii. 59 ; Virg. ^n. iii. 637). 

372. Jocund to rim, etc. Ps. xix. 5, 6. Masson and Verity ex- 
plain " his longitude " to mean the sun's "path from east to west." 
This is inconsistent with the statement that the Pleiades dance be- 
fore him, because when the sun is in Aries (as is all along assumed, 
e.g. X. 329) the Pleiades rise after him. I am forced, therefore, 
to the conclusion that " his longitude " means the sun's annual cir- 


cuit or path in the opposite direction, from west to east, now the 

382. Dividual, divided or shared. — Masson. Compare Ovid, 
Met. iii. 682, where " dividua " is used in the sense of " divisible," 
referring to the phases of the moon. 

387-448. THE FIFTH DAY. 

402. In sculls, etc. Some fishes are gregarious, like those taken 
in the sea of Galilee {Luke v. 4-7) ; others live singly, like that 
which swallowed Jonah, amid the sea-weed {Jon. ii. 5). 

405. Groves of coral. As Paradise had some trees for food and 
others for beauty and pleasure, so the sea has algae for food and 
coral groves for enjoyment. 

408. Their food, etc. Observe that the word " prey " is avoid- 
ed ; before the Fall vegetable food was the only kind for man or 
beast {Gen. i. 30). 

409. On smooth (water), etc. Dolphins and seals are known for 
their sports in calm waters. Dolphins are called "bended" from 
their rounded backs — " Tergo dolphina recurvo" (Ovid, Fasti ii. 


417. Tepid raves and fejis and shores. The places where the 
first eggs were hatched without animal heat serve to classify the 
birds ; nocturnal birds come from the dark caves, waterfowl from 
fens, and land birds from the shores. 

421. Summed their pens, completed their plumage. — Alasson. 
" Summed ; preened." — Verity. A term of falconry applied to a 
hawk when his feathers have grown to their full strength, — Clar. 

422. Under a cloud in prospect. The earth seemed to be shaded 
by a cloud, so numerous were the birds in the air. 

435. Nightingale. Odys. xix. 518, The transformation of 
Philomela into a nightingale is excelled by few myths in favor with 
the poets, especially with Milton (see note on iv, 602), 

438. The swaji, etc. This is a good representative of the water- 
fowls, and, like most of the other birds mentioned in the passage, 
has a well-known poetical legend connected with it and figures 
among the constellations. 

443. Cock whose clarion, etc. In Greek the cock is called 
dXkKTLjp, the sleepless. 

444. Other ivhose gay train, etc. The peacock is associated 
with the story of Argus and his hundred eyes. Job xxxix. 13. 

Book VII.] NOTES 403 

449-550. THE SIXTH DAY. 

457, The wild beast. The distinction between wild and tame 
animals is broadly made both in Gen. i. and Fs. civ. In the latter 
the haunts of the wild animals are designated. 

461. Those rare, etc. The same principle prevailed in stocking 
the earth after the Flood {Ge7i. vii. 2). 

463. Clods now calved. The Latin brutus, first applied to the 
heavy, unwieldy earth, has come to be the generic name for the 
stupid, unreasoning animals. Their origin shows their nature, and 
the clod is a symbol of their low, brutish life {Eccl. iii. 21). 

464. The tawny Hon, etc. The manner of his birth suggests the 
lion's most characteristic act — lying in wait and suddenly springing 
upon his prey {Job xxxviii. 40). His reputed strength makes it 
proper that he should be named first of the wild beasts. 

467. As the mole. The lynx (ounce), the leopard (libbard), and 
the tiger are all beasts of the cat kind, noted for their slyness, and 
with eyes better suited for night than day {Ps. civ. 20). They 
diflfer from the lion in that while he is usually found in the open 
country, they prefer forests and cover. Hence they are compared 
to the mole. 

469. The swift stag, or roebuck, an animal of the deer kind, is 
frequently mentioned in the Bible for its fleetness. 

471. Behevioth. Job yl. "Behemoth here is the elephant; in 
Job it is the hippopotamus of the Nile." — Clar. Press. No ; so 
far as Milton goes, his description is an exact copy of Job's. The 
description does not fit either the elephant or the hippopotamus, 
and there is no need that it should. Behemoth is ' ' the biggest 
born of earth ;" the leviathan exceeds him, but he is in the sea. 
The creature has a slothful habit, and Milton contrasts him with 
the stag. 

473. As plants. Flocks and olive plants serve to designate the 
same thing, viz., families of children, in Ps. cvii. 41 and cxxviii. 3. 
The white fleece and the peaceful disposition of the sheep are anal- 
ogous to the white flowers of the olive and the peace it symbolizes. 

476. Those zvaved, etc. The butterfly is taken as a type of the 
insect world. To the Greeks it was an emblem of the immortal 
soul (having the same name y^^vxh) by reason of its passing through 
a kind of death in its chrysalis state and coming to a nobler resur- 
rection. The beautiful story of Cupid and Psyche is based on this 

4.:^ ese as a line, etc. Under "worm" are included ser- 


pents and whatever moves by convolutions without the aid of 
limbs. For the winged serpent see Isa. xiv. 29. 

485. Parsimonious enwiet, etc. Prov. vi. 6-8. The ants labor 
together and provide for themselves without a " guide, overseer, or 
ruler," and thus are a model for a republic. 

490. The female bee, etc. The critics innocently follow one of 
their number, certainly not a naturalist, who originated the com- 
ment that " the working-bees are males. The drone here meant is 
the queen bee." Information on this point is cheap. Milton else- 
where sees in the beehive the model of an aristocracy. 

495. The serpent, etc. The serpents of Laocoon had manes and 
other features here mentioned (y£;/. ii. 206). Serpents are innoc- 
uous under the Messiah {Isa. xi. 8, 9). 

499-514. N'ow Heaven, etc. With slight changes the thought is 
that of Ovid, Met. i. 71-88. 

516-548. There fo'i'e the Omnipotent, etc. The first two chapters 
of Genesis furnish all the leading thoughts of this passage. Add 
Ps. viii. 6-8 and Ezek. xxxi. 9, 10. 

551-640. THE SABBATH 

554. Thence to behold, etc. The view of his work which the 
Creator takes when it is completed {Geji. i. 31) is beautifully con- 
ceived of by Milton as a comparison of the material product with 
the intellectual model. No correction was needed ; the agreement 
was perfect ; the work was " very good." 

558. Acclamation. Psalms xxiv., civ., and several others associ- 
ate the most ardent praise with a review of the creative power of 

575. Led to God's eternal house, etc. The Saviour at Jerusalem, 
when he received the hosannas of the multitude, was on the way to 
the temple {Matt. xxi. 9-12). 

577, A broad and ample road, etc. *' But when they [the blessed 
gods] go to feast and festival, then they move right up the steep 
ascent and mount the top of the dome of Heaven." — Plato's 
Phccdrus. Compare Prov. iv. 18 and Ovid, Met. 1. 168-171. 

588. He also ivent, etc. Though God rules in Heaven, he dwells 
at the same time with him that is of a contrite spirit {Isa. Ivii. 15). 

594. The harp, etc. These musical instruments are generally 
those of Ps. cl. The pipe is associated with the solemnity spoken 
of in Isa. xxx. 2g. 

596. Organs of sweet stop are wind instruments ; sounds on fret 

Book VII.] NOTES 405 

are stringed instruments. The Clar. Press says that " frets" are 
the divisions by which the strings of a guitar or violin are length- 
ened or shortened at will. Masson says about the same.' 

619. The clear hyalitte, etc. " Hyaline (like galaxy in line 579) 
is followed immediately by its translation." — Clar. Press. 

620. Almost i?)imense. Job xxxviii. 18 and Uab. iii. 6 show that 
though God may measure the earth (that is, the whole world), man 

621. Every star perhaps, etc. The plurality of worlds is sug- 
gested by Heb. xi. 3, 12. 

636. P^ace of things, visible appearance of things. The expres- 
sion conveys the idea that the angel is describing only external ap- 
pearances, and therefore scientific accuracy is not to be expected. 
Adam's questions afterwards show that he understood the angel in 
this way. Such a method enables the poet to do as as he has done 
— to mention those features of the creation which principally strike 
the human sense or imagination. 


" The discourse on astronomy in this book (extending down to 
line 178) is interesting mainly," says Verity, " as a proof that Milton 
was acquainted with the teaching of Copernicus." If so, its in- 
terest is small indeed. Proof to the contrary, namely, that Milton, 
a graduate of Cambridge, of reputation as a scholar, a friend of 
Galileo, could reach advanced years without a knowledge of the 
Copernican system would truly be interesting, if not astounding. 
The value of the passage consists rather in its philosophy of the 
relation of man to the visible universe. 

1-4. In the firbt edition of Paradise Lost, when it was in ten 
books instead of twelve, and the seventh and eighth were united, 
there was at th s place the single line, "To whom thus Adam grate- 
fully replied." In the second edition it appeared as it now stands. 

3. Thoug I hitn still speaking. Agamemnon awoke from a 
dream, " The heavenly voice still sounding in his ears " (//. ii. 41). 
Compare Odys. xiii. i, 2. 

5. What thanks, etc. Alcinous richly rewarded Ulysses at the 
close of his long narrative. 

25. I oft admire {i.e., wonder). This can be explained on the 
ground that Adam represents the race, while he is also an individ- 
ual. The order of the universe is one of the most difficult prob- 
lems that the e has undertaken to solve, but Adam as an indi- 
vidual has fortij '^rst time had the question suggested to him by 
the words of the ^el. 

27. Disproportio subordinating the magnificent heavens to the 
little earth. ' - 

34. Served by more^nnble, etc. Human order requires the less to 
serve the greater {Ltikc xxii. 25-27). 

37. Incorporeal speed. If the heavenly bodies make a daily rev- 
olution about the earth, t "~ir speed is like that of spirit rather than 
that of matter. The podi probably has in mind the fleetness of 
time which these bodies mt. - by their movements. 

Book VIII.] NOTES 407 

40. Which Eve perceiving. Taine and a few others have no 
perception of the delicacy of this arrangement. They would have 
had Eve remain and give her opinion on the order of the universe, 
the end of man, and the relations between the sexes. These crit- 
ics are in too much of a hurry. Some eight days later Eve is 
found ready enough to express herself on the subject of the divine 
economy and the rights of woman. 

44. Among her fruits and flowers^ etc. Cant. iv. 13, 14. These 
represent her household duties to which godly women attend with 
conscientious care. Venus (Aphrodite), whom Eve here resembles, 
was a goddess of fruits and flowers (the rose and the myrtle). 
Where her delicate feet touched the earth of Cyprus, the grass 
sprung beneath them (Hes. Theog. 188). 

48. Yet went she not, etc. The ability of women to understand 
subjects which they are forbidden to discuss in public is implied in 
the direction to ask their husbands at home (i Cor. xiv. 35). The 
perception and delicacy of Eve took away the need of any law or 
precept in Paradise. 

57. Not words alone, etc. Milk and honey represent the wis- 
dom and tenderness coming from the lips of the k ver {Cant. iv. ii). 

60. Not unattended, etc. Love attended on Venus and beauti- 
ful Desire followed her ( Theog. loi). 

66. Heaven is as the book of God, etc. The controlling idea of 
Ps. xix. The instruct'ons which the heavens were intended to 
convey may be learned equally well whether the heaven moves or 
the earth. 

74. To be scanned, etc. " Scan " is used in the sense of " criti- 
cise," " find fault with." The secrets of God are used, as in sev- 
eral chapters of the book of Job, to teach man humility by showing 
him how little he knows. The effect of even pretended knowledge 
of the heavens is illustrated in the case of the Chaldean astron- 
omers {Isa. xlvii. 10-13). 

77. Left to their disputes. Bacon says (/^(/z/a/ .„ient of Learn- 
ing, ii.) : "As for the vertical point (of natural lilosophy) * Opus 
quod operatur Deus a principis usque ad fine {Eccl. iii. ii), we 
know not whether man's inquiry can attain r uo it." In the Vul- 
gate (here quoted) the words immediately ^j receding are, " Mun- 
dum tradidit disputationi eorum." — Clar. ress. 

78. Nis laughter, etc. Landor object^ " I cannot well enter- 
tain the notion of the Creator's risible f' alties. Milton here car- 
ries his anthropomorphism much furt zr than the poem (which 
needed a good deal of it) required." .it compare Lsa. xliv. 24, 25. 


8r. Contrive to save appearances. Bacon in his essay on Super- 
stition tells of "astronomers which did feign eccentrics and epi- 
cycles and such engines of orbs, to save the phenomena, though 
they knew there were no such things." 

85. By thy reasoning, etc. The human tendency is to judge 
from size and physical splendor (i Sam. xvi. 7 ; i Cor. i. 26-29). 

105. Lodged in a small partition. The insignificance of the 
earth in the structure of the universe is declared in various Script- 
ure passages {Isa. xl. 12-28). " The globular bodies of the stars 
greatly exceeded the magnitude of the earth, which now to me ap- 
peared so small, that I was grieved to see our empire contracted, 
as it were, into a very point " (Cicero, Soju. Scip.). 

107. The swiftness, etc. "Those eternal fires which you call 
constellations and stars, and which being globular and round are 
animated with divine spirit and complete their cycles and revolu- 
tions with amazing rapidity" {Som. Scip.). 

113. Distance inexp7'essible, etc. Hence it is used to measure 
the love of God to man {Ps. ciii. 11). 

121. If it p)'esume. The psalm that contains the glowing de- 
scription of God's creation contains also a prayer against presump- 
tion i^Ps. xix. 13). 

122. What if, etc. It can make no practical difference to man 
whether the earth or the sun is the physical centre of the universe. 

128. In six, etc. The Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, 

130. Three different motions, (i) The daily rotation of the 
earth on its axis, (2) the annual orbit round the sun, (3) the libra- 
tion or oscillation of the axis itself. — Masson. These motions 
mark out respectively the days, years, and seasons of Gen. i. 14. 

131. Which else, etc. "Within this [the Primum Mobile] are 
contained seven other spheres that turn round backward, that is, 
in a contrary direction to that of the heaven " (Cicero, Som. Scip.). 

134. Rhomb (pofilSoi;, wheel). Of the Primum Mobile Cicero 
continues : "In this sphere reside the original principles of those 
endless revolutions which the planets perform." 

140. What if that light, etc. Galileo had correctly surmised 
that the faint light observed on the dark part of the crescent moon 
is caused by light reflected from the earth. 

145. Her spots, etc. This conjecture has been proved to be er- 

149. With their attendant moons. "A reference to Galileo's 
discovery that Jupiter and Saturn have satellites," say the com- 

Book VIII.] NOTES 409 

mentators. But Jupiter and Saturn are not suns, and therefore 
this may be a speculation reaching beyond the solar system. 

153. For such vast room, etc. This reasoning is supported by 
Isa. xlv. 18, which would seem to apply to other bodies as well as 
to the earth. 

162. Flaming road. The Clar. Press says thai Jlaming is used 
as an epithet of road, though meant of the sun. This loses the 
force of the figure. The journey of the sun's chariot is made with 
such speed that the wheels raise fire instead of dust along their 

164. Spinning sleeps. In contrast with the fiery speed of the 
sun, the earth might turn on its axis so slowly as to appear not to 
turn at all, or, in poetic language, to sleep ; the horses of the sun 
would have to rush along with furious speed, those of the earth 
might " pace" leisurely and accomplish the same end. 


The origin of man, his relation to the universe and to the divine 
Creator are now treated in the same philosophical vein as marks 
the discussion of the plan of the World just ended. 

180-185. Hoiv fully, etc. The angel relieved Adam of the ne- 
cessity of going through the long and dreary course of Ecclesi- 
astes, and taught him it the beginning that wisdom which the 
Preacher reached only after a lifetime of experiment and disap- 
pointment {Reel. i. 13-18). 

190. Warned or by experience taught. The Preacher was taught 
by experience, Adam by warning. 

199. A lower flight, etc. This must not be understood as some- 
thing of less dignity, only as something nearer at hand. Man is 
the most important of God's works, and self-knowledge is recog- 
nized as the most valuable of all. 

212. Fruits of palm-tree, etc. The Bride in the Song is like a 
palm-tree whose fruit combines the virtues of grapes (wine) and 
apples (bread) {Cant. vii. 7, 8). Adam's delight in the angel re- 
sembles that of the two disciples in the wonderful Stranger who 
told them divine truth on the way to Emmaus {Luke xxiv. 

214. They satiate, etc. The words of God, such as the angel 
speaks, are compared to honey for sweetness {Ps. cxix. 103). But 
honey satiates and hunger follows the eating, while spiritual food 
affords perpetual nourishment. 


218. Nor are thy lips ungraceful, etc. The lirst Adam also has 
the qualities which belong pre-eminently to the second Adam {Ps. 
xlv. I, 2). 

222. Speaking or mute, etc. While the first Adam "loved 
righteousness " and bore the image of God, there was the same 
reason for giving honor to him as afterwards to the second Adam, 
The "smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia" coming out of the 
" ivory palaces " symbolizes the wisdom and eloquence issuing from 
the lips of the holy man {Ps. xlv. 7-9) and the kings' daughters 
and the queen in gold of Ophir represent the graces of elegant 
form and motion. The poet translates into plainer language the 
psalmist's highly imaginative description. 

229. / that day was absent, etc. "An extremely ingenious 
idea," says Masson, "permitting the introduction of Adam's own 
story of what he recollects of his creation." Addison also quotes 
this as a "shining passage." But it is more than a mere artistic 
device ; it sets forth a profound truth. It is not enough, though 
pertinent, to say that Raphael in his likeness to Mercury, who 
guided the dead to the shades below, might be expected to visit 
Hades. The absence of Raphael from the world at the creation of 
man is demanded by the fact that not until man became aware of 
God's love to him did he begin to love God ; and this, it would 
seem, could not take place until after Eve was brought to Adam 
by the "genial angel" {1 John iv. 10, 19, 20). 

232. Squaj'ed in full legion. A legion of spirits is apparently 
representative of a man's full capacity, the whole power of the soul 
{Mark v. 9 ; one legion for each of twelve disciples, Matt. xxvi. 
53). A legion of angels under the command of Raphael means 
love of God with the whole heart (as enjoined Matt. xxii. 37, 38) 
and, as here, a corresponding hatred of evil {Ps. xcvii. 10). 

236. Destruction with ci'eation, etc. Suggested by Gen. vi. 6, 
7, and Matt. xiii. 25-30. 

238. But tis he sends, etc. Whether or not Milton's Deity is a 
selfish tyrant, as critics declare, he is the Deity of nature and of 
Revelation. Compare Heb. i. 6-14 and Luke xvii. 7-10. 

240. Fast we found, etc. Because man was made upright and 
the whole creation was "very good." For the noises in Hell see 
y£«. vi. 552-558 and Matt. xxv. 30. 

246. E7'e Sabbath-evening. So that the judgment "very good" 
could be pronounced at the completion of the work. 

253. As neiv waked, etc. Though created on the evening of 
the sixth day, Adam did not awake to consciousness until the 

Book VIII.] NOTES 411 

morning of the seventh. His resemblance to Christ continues in 
the manner of his awaking to life. Compare Fs. ex. 3 : " The people 
shall be willing in the day of thy power [the sabbath ?], in the beau- 
ties of holiness [Adam rests on the ' flowery herb '] from the womb 
of the morning [Adam is both born and waked from sleep] : thou 
hast the dew of thy youth [the * balmy sweat ' covering Adam]." 

255. Soojt dried, etc. The drowsiness, symbolized by the dew, 
is quickly dispelled upon awaking (compare note on v. 56, 57). 

257. Straight toward heaven, etc. "Man not only sees but 
considers and looks up at that which he sees, and hence he alone 
of animals is rightly called dvOpojTrog." Plato's Cratyhis. " Coe- 
lum tueri jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere" (Ovid, Met. i. 85, 86). 
Eccl. iii. 21. 

261. About me round, etc. The enumeration includes some of 
the most important objects mentioned in Ps. civ., all of which 
manifest the power and godhead of the Creator {Rom. i. 20). 

270. But who I was, etc. These are something like the ques- 
tions which St. Paul answered for the Athenians {Acts xvii. 28). 

271. To speak I tried, etc. This does not agree with our scien- 
tific view of the origin of language, but harmonizes with the mir- 
acles of Christ in giving speech to the dumb {Matt. ix. 33 ; xii. 22) 
and with the gift of tongues at Pentecost {Acts ii. 4). 

273-283. " Thou sun,''' said I, etc. The fruitless search of 
man's reason after God r: thus begun. Compare yis-^^ xi. 7-9 ; Acts 
xvii. 27, 28. 

286. On a green shady bank, etc. A view of God's works is 
followed by meditation upon them. Meditation is sober and fitted 
for the shade ; it is also glad, and hence is pursued among flowers 
{Ps. civ. 34). 

287. There gentle sleep, etc. The meditation was "at even- 
tide," like Isaac's {Gen. xxiv. 63), and the sleep was that of the 
night following the sabbath. Having had no experience of fall- 
ing asleep, Adam thought he was again passing into the nonentity 
whence he came. 

292. At my head a dj'eam, etc. Scripture furnishes instances of 
dreams used by God to convey to men a knowledge of his will {Job 
xxxiii. 15, 16). Among the Gentiles also dreams were regarded as 
messengers of Jove. 

302. Smooth sliding withotit step. The transfer from the out- 
side world to Paradise is like the change from a state of nature to 
a state of grace, as gentle and invisible as the motion of a breeze 
{John iii. 8). 


308. Sudden appetite, etc. Adam, like Peter at Joppa when 
hungry and in a trance, saw what was actually taking place. The 
vision was afterwards explained {Acts x. and xi.). 

345. The same of fish, etc. The conspicuous omission of fish 
among the animals to which Adam gave name and their inclusion 
with those over which dominion was given is the reason of this 
sentence (compare Geti. i. 28 with ii. ig). 

350. Approaching two and two, etc. As when the beasts came 
to Noah in the ark. The obeisance is the sign of fealty to man's 
overlordship in nature and the awe of his superior endowments 
{Gen. ix. 2). 

353. Such knowledge, etc. The knowledge was such as enabled 
him to name the animals " according to their properties" and re- 
sembled that given to Solomon in a dream (r Kings iii. 12 ; iv. 33). 


356. Presu?ned, because God knows human needs without ask- 
ing {Matt. vi. 8). 

357- O, by what name, etc. Adam named the creatures that 
had passed before him from his perception of their nature, but the 
attributes of God are infinite and make him incomprehensible, so 
that he cannot be named as we name things that we know. 

368. As with a sinile, etc. The sign of God's complaisance, as 
when Solomon prayed for Avisdom (i Kings iii. 10). 

369. Is not the earth, etc. Adam thrice rejected the lower ani- 
mals for companionship, as Peter afterwards thrice rejected them 
for food {Acts x. 10-16). 

383. Among unequals, etc. Even among men friendship can 
exist only with equals — it does not exist between master and ser- 
vant {John XV. 15). 

387. The one intense, etc. "The stretched (intense) musical 
string cannot make harmony with one that is slack (remiss)." — 
Clar. Press. Compare the principle illustrated in the command 
not to " plough with an ox and an ass together " {Deut. xxii. 10). 

392. They rejoice, etc. In Gen. i. 21, 25 the different species 
are separated from one another with great particularity. There is 
no suggestion of evolution. 

397. Worse than, etc. The difference between man and beast 
is the greatest of all. 

399. A nice and subtle happiness, etc. Adam seems fastidious 
in asking for more after receiving so much. The whole world is 

Book VIII.] NOTES 413 

not an acceptable gift without a companion to share his pleasures. 
Compare the Preacher's account of the solitary man (Eccl. iv. 8). 

419. No need that thou, etc. Compare this with what is said on 
the generation of the Son in the Christian Doctrine. 

421. Through all numbers absolute (omnibus numeris absolutus) 
perhaps in explanation of the fact noticed in the Christian Doctrine 
that Elohim, a Hebrew name of the Deity, is a plural. 

423. Single imperfection, etc. Neither man nor woman alone 
is complete (i Cor. xi. 11, 12). Not only conjugal love, however, 
but parental, filial, and fraternal is essential to completeness. The 
term "amity" extends the relations of dependence even beyond 
the family. 

439. Hast rightly named, etc. Adam had applied to them the 
term "brute" and thus shown his knowledge of their heavy, im- 
mobile, earthly nature. Besides, his reasoning had proved his self- 
knowledge, his free will, his likeness to God, and his difference 
from the brute. 

444. Be so minded still. A momentous piece of advice in view 
of the future abandonment of men to beastly lusts and habits (t'P^w. 
i. 24). 

448. Fit and meet. The two words of nearly identical meaning 
are used, probably, to signify that Adam chose a companion neither 
below nor above himself ; the choice was neither an unworthy nor 
an ambitious one. 

458. Sleep. This marks the close of the eighth day, after which 
Eve was made {Gen. ii. 21). 

460. Open left the cell, etc. This is like the usual interpretation 
of Num. xxiv. 4, 16 ; where Balaam, overpowered by the spirit of 
prophecy, is said to have had his eyes open. In the vision Adam 
saw Eve, his own future bride, and Balaam saw Israel symbolizing 
the church of God and Bride of Christ. 

465. Opened my left side, Qiz. " Some divines hold the rib to 
have been taken from the left side." — Clar. Press. The idea cer- 
tainly has a poetic fitness so great that if the opposite had been 
asserted we should surmise a mistake. 

478. She disappeared, ^X.Q. The stories of Admetus and Alcestis 
and of Orpheus and Eurydice seem partly involved in this appear- 
ance and disappearance of Eve in a dream. In both cases love 
' ' strong as death " followed the lost one to the world of shades. 
Orpheus recovered his wife from Pluto on condition of not looking 
back while leading her out of Hades, but on the very verge of day 
(waking) he turned (reflected) and lost her. In Sonnet xviii. Mil- 


ton likens himself to Admetus in the loss of his own wife and in 
having her restored for a brief time to his fancy in a dream. 

482. Ador7ied, etc. Like Pandora, the all-gifted. For what 
follows see Gen. ii. 22 and Cant. viii. 2. 

488. Grace was in all, etc. The description suits Homer's ac- 
count of the large-eyed, imperial Juno, and also Solomon's picture 
of the Bride whose grace is set forth in Cant. vii. i, and whose 
eyes are compared to the fish-pools in Heshbon, which in their 
deep repose reflect the sky. 

494. Nor enviest. Pandora was given to man to injure him, not 
so Eve {Prov. xviii. 22). 

500. Divinely brought, etc. Prov. xix. 14. When Rebekah 
was brought into the presence of Isaac she covered her face with a 
veil {Gen. xxiv. 65). 

503. That would be zuooed, etc. Cant. i. 4. Eve had no veil 
but her hair (iv. 304) and this may explain her turning away like 
the Shulamite. 

510. To the nuptial bower. Isaac brought Rebekah into his 
mother's tent {Gen. xxiv. 67). 

512. Constellations, tXc. The meaning of the benign stellar in- 
fluence is beautifully given in the last stanza of Spenser's Epitha- 
lamion. Compare Gen. xxiv. 5o. 

514. Gratulation, etc. The relatives of Rebekah, when they 
dismissed her from home to be the wife of Isaac, "blessed her." 
Both heaven and earth were to be blessed in the marriage, but 
the nations of the earth (hills) are specially mentioned {Gen. 
xxvi. 4). 

517. Flung rose, flung odors. Cant, iv, 16. " Rose" (Lat. ros') 
is used, I think, in the sense of dew. The fresh northern " gales" 
dispersed the dew ; the mild southern " airs" diffused the odors. 


533. Beautyi' s powerful glance. Even in the sinless state the 
Lover confesses that his heart is ' ' ravished " by the glance of the 
Bride {Cant. iv. 9). 

554. Authority and Reason, etc. In the decision of Paris, Beauty 
in the person of Venus took precedence of Authority and Reason 
in the persons of Juno and Minerva. Solomon subordinated both 
the interests of his kingdom and his own reputation for wisdom to 
his devotion to his wives. 

560. With contracted brow. This expresses disapproval of senti- 

BookVIIL] notes 415 

ments that, chivalric though they be, prepare the way for a fall 
like that of vSolomon (i Kings xi. 9). 

571. Ofttimes nothing profits more, ^ic. Masson calls this "a 
very Miltonic sentiment," but it is just as truly a Pauline sentiment 
{Rom. xii, 3). Nothing deprives men of their own self-respect and 
the respect of others so soon as effeminacy or subjection to a wom- 
an. Paris and the contempt visited upon him prove this. The 
"sobriety" commended by the apostle has in it a large element 
of dignity and self-respect. 

587. Attractive, human, rational. The corresponding virtues 
are modesty, kindness, and sobriety, commended as the true glory 
of woman (i Tim. ii. 9, 10). Adam should love what God loves. 

591. Scale, ladder ; the elevating power of love is declared in i 
John iv. 12. 

595. Half abashed. Adam perceives his sentiments to be un- 
worthy of his manhood. 

600. Those graceful acts, etc. The graceful acts mixed with 
love and compliance correspond to the " chaste conversation coup- 
led with fear " which is calculated to win the love and confidence 
of husbands (i Pet. iii. i, 2). 

605. Ha7'mony, etc. Harmony in sentiment is essential to love. 
In the palace of Cupid, Psyche was constantly regaled with music 
by invisible musicians. 

611. Approve the best, etc. Since the Fall men are too often 
compelled to say with Medea of the same passion (Ovid, Met. vii. 

' ' Aliudque Cupido 
iMens aliud suadet. Video meliora, proboque ; 
Deteriora sequor." 

619. Love's proper hue. The innocent question about love 
among the heavenly spirits, touching as it did the very heart of 
Raphael, the Heavenly Love of the poem's first drafts, caused the 
archangel to blush and to reveal himself as Venus revealed herself 
to her son (^«. i. 402-405) : 

" Avertens rosea cervice refulsit, 
Ambrosiaeque comae divinum vertice odorem 
Spiravere ; pedes vestis defluxit ad imos ; 
Et vera incessu patuit dea." 

621. Without love no happiness. After answering the question 
of the Sadducees about marriage in Heaven, Jesus announced the 


great principle that love to God and man brings one near to the 
kingdom of heaven {Mark xii. 28-34). 

627. Total they mix, etc. Christ prayed that his disciples might 
be one. Christ and the believer are spoken of as each containing 
the other. Adam accepted the familiar idea that spirits do not 
communicate by words of human speech, and suggested looks, 
smiles and touch as their means of expressing love. Raphael as- 
sures him that the expression instead of being more restricted is 
more complete than on earth. 

631. Beyond the Eai'th^s green Cape, etc. The sun has passed 
Cape Verd and the Cape Verd Islands, which lie from 60° to 70° 
west of the site of Paradise. Raphael therefore spent with Adam 
as much time as the three angels passed with Abraham — from noon 
to near sunset. The great and fertile narratives of the angelic re- 
bellion and the creation of the World had been finished and the 
discussion had continued to the verge of what was profitable — the 
mission of Raphael was fulfilled by the exhaustion of the subject. 
The language contains an allusion to Juno's mission "to the far 
end of the green earth " (//. xiv. 200-205). 

633. Be strong is the English equivalent of the classical vale. 

651. Oft return. An adaptation rather than an exact use of 
conventional forms, which belong to intercourse of equals. The 
only possible place for Adam to meet the angel was in Paradise. 

653. Adam to his bower. Gen. xviii. 33. The lesson of in- 
struction and warning was taken to heart. 


Nearing the catastrophe, the poet again stops to glance for- 
ward and backward and to compare his subject with others that 
have been or might have been chosen. 

2. As with his friend. The visits of God and the angels were 
not discontinued altogether, but confined to a few choice spirits of 
\hQX2iCQ{Exod. xxxiii. II ; Dent, xxxiv. 10). 

13, More heroic, etc. His subject is The Wrath of God, which 
includes all the elements found in the anger of Achilles (insulted 
Law), the rage of Turnus (despised Love), the ire of Neptune (de- 
fied Vengeance), and the indignation of Juno (offended Majesty). 

24. Unpremeditated. Milton professes to be speaking under the 
guidance of the Holy Spirit who needs not human thinking {Matt. 
X. 19, 20). The ideas derived from the Sacred Scriptures are so 
lofty and poetical as to turn without effort into verse. 

26. Long choosing, etc. On this Masson says : " The subject 
of Paradise Lost had first occurred to him about 1640 ; but ' long 
choosing' among other subjects had followed ; and not till 1658, 
when he was fifty years of age, had he seriously begun." The al- 
ternate subject that had occurred to his mind was The Wars of 
Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Of this subject 
from the realm of chivalry he gives an estimate in the following 

2g. To dissect, etc. One feature of chivalry — a useless expen- 
diture of courage and life and therefore tedious as leading to no end. 

33. Races and games, etc. Another feature of chivalry — con- 
tests of strength and skill in the tournaments of the Middle Ages. 

37. Marshalled feasts, etc. A third feature of chivalry. " Sew- 
ers, those who ushered in the meals and arranged them on the 
tables ; seneschals, house-stewards." — Masson. 

39. Artifice or office mean.. In all this display there is nothing 
that suggests greatness of soul, demands heroism, or may not be 
done by the most ignoble. 


43. Sufficient, etc. The matter of my verse, with its universal 
and eternal significance, is enough to give it properly the name of 
a heroic poem and its actors the name of heroes. 

44. Unless ail age too late, etc. The ideas that the race is de- 
generating, and that a cold climate and the burden of years are un- 
friendly to poetry are familiar to all. 


At his first entrance into Paradise Satan had come as against 
Job in the temper of a murderer. The second time he comes 
more as an adulterer to corrupt {Job i. 13-19 ; ii. 7). 

50. Short arbiter. The adulterer avoids the day and even the 
twilight {Job xxiv. 13-17). 

54. I?nproved, etc. The devil's professed friendship is worse 
than his open enmity. 

63. Seven continued nights. These nights, being twenty-four 
hours long, cover the space of a week. If the day when the sons 
of God present themselves before him is the sabbath, the most 
natural supposition, then the period of Satan's absence is the same 
as that between the two temptations of Job {Job i. 6 ; ii. i). The 
number seven is inwoven with the history of Apollo. White swans 
flew seven time* around Delos before he was born. He was sur- 
named 'E(3doixayev))g from being born on the seventh day of May. 

64. Thrice the eqimioctial, etc. This is the "going to and fro 
in the earth and the walking up and down in it " referred to in 
Job i. 7 and ii. 2. 

69. There was a place, etc. Satan's first assault was directly 
upon the Will (the Tree of Life), the second was indirectly through 
the physical nature (the Fountain). 

76. Sea he had searched and land, etc. The course here desig- 
nated is nearly all over rivers and other bodies of water, only short 
stretches of land lying between. Corruption follows his track over 
the waters as by infection of the blood it makes its way through 
the natural body {Job ii. 7). The names in the passage confirm 
this interpretation. The Arctic and the Antarctic regions were, 
as Satan went, on the right hand and the left from Eden. In the 
other direction the course is from Orontes (ojoaw, to see), the eyes, 
to Ganges, also called Padda (foot), because the Brahmins in their 
legends make the river to flow from the foot of Vishnu. The 
trail is over all, from right to left, from head to foot. 

86. The serpent subtlest, etc. Gen. iii. i. The serpent's subt- 

Book IX.] NOTES 419 

lety is like innocent artifices and tricks of men, misleading the 
unwary but making the wise more vigilant. It is the play of wis- 
dom, strengthening itself by exercise. But this very thing is dan- 
gerously like deception that has injury and evil for its object. 
" That proud and envious angel . . . chose the serpent, because, 
being slippery and moving in tortuous windings, it was suitable 
for his purpose" {De Civ. Dei xiv. 11). 

95, Doubt might beget, etc. What would cause suspicion if seen 
in other animals would be carelessly passed as an innocent sleight 
in the serpent. 

107. As God in Heaven is centre, etc. This is the key to Satan's 
admiration of the earth ; it is more consonant with the aspirations 
of a selfish and ambitious spirit, which would be ministered unto 
without returning anything but influence. Satan's idea of divinity 
is to receive from all without giving. It is pure selfishness. Bacon 
connects these ideas: " It is a poor centre of a man's actions, him- 
self. It is right earth ; for that only stands fast upon his own cen- 
tre ; whereas all things that have affinity with the heavens move 
upon the centre of another, which they benefit." 

125. Unless by viastering, etc. Satan's love of the world trans- 
forms him into Mammon who cannot endure divided rule with the 
Almighty, much less brook subjection {Luke xvi. 13). 

139. Before had beeti contriving, etc. The planning of the world 
prior to its creation is hinted in Job xxviii. 27 and Prov. viii. 22. 
The thought, however, is half distasteful to Satan because it would 
imply foreknowledge of events in God. 

145. Spent of old, etc. John the Baptist rebuked the Pharisees 
and Sadducees for thinking that the power to raise up children to 
Abraham (faithful servants of God) was spent {Matt. iii. g). 

159. Glide obscure. Satan meditates deceit, of which the ser- 
pent is the nearest type, his sly habits are the best concealment, and 
his mazy folds the best defence. 

163. O foul descent, etc. Thus the King of Babylon at the mo- 
ment of his highest exaltation was reduced to a beast, driven away 
from the dwellings of men, and endowed with the heart of a brute 
{Dan. iv. 28-33). 

179-185. Through each thicket, etc. Hedges are the hiding 
places of serpents {Eccl. x. 8). The serpent of Cadmus lived in a 
cave in the midst of an ancient wood untamed by the axe and near 
a thicket (virgis ac vimine densis). Its labyrinthine folds are also 
noted (Ovid, Met. iii. 28-44). 



St. Paul teaches that the devil has a special advantage over hus- 
bands and wives who are separated from each other (i Cor. vii. 5). 
Such a separation here takes place before the temptation of the first 

194. All things that breathe. Ps. cl, 6. Everything that is fra- 
grant, for the praise is silent, ascending like incense. 

195. Earth's great altar. In Rev. vi. 9 the souls of the martyrs 
are said to cry from under the altar as Abel's blood cried from the 
earth. The place of the dead is under the earth. After the Fall 
the* ascending fumes invoke vengeance rather than blessing. 

198. Joined, etc. Incense and song, the silent praise of the 
heart and the vocal praise of the lips, are united in the worship of 
God, The grace before meat here precedes a larger feast for the 
higher nature {Matt. xiv. 19). 

214. Let us divide, etc. Eve selects for each work becoming to 
the sex. To Adam with his strength is assigned the training of 
the weak woodbine and ivy ; to Eve with her grace the direction of 
the rose and the myrtle. 

218. Sprijtg of roses. A rose-bush, or a collection of bushes, as 
sprung from the ground. 

232. Eor nothing lovelier, etc. This sentiment has given the 
critics an opportunity to hint that Milton, again as elsewhere de- 
fending his own domestic economy, relegates woman to the drudg- 
ery of inferior duties. But the language clearly points to Prov. 
xxxi. 27, 28, 23. 

239. Smiles, etc. Even the meritorious activity of the "virtu- 
ous woman " is not quite the ideal for Paradise. The lover feed- 
ing among the lilies {Cant. v. 13 ; vi. 3) in talk sweetened by ca- 
resses, and strengthened by the smiles of the Bride for duties that 
are pleasures — he enjoys the perfection of existence. 

242. Not to irksome toil, etc. Labor with sweat of the face was 
a curse coming from the Fall. 

261. Whether his first design, etc. Either of these things would, 
if accomplished, soon involve the other, for human love cannot 
truly exist without divine, nor divine without human (i John iv. 8). 

270. Virgin majesty, the self - assertion becoming to her as a 
virgin in distinction from the submission befitting her as a wife. 
The virgin goddess, Diana, aspired to leadership (compare her epi- 
thet 'Hy£/ioj/7j), and Eve's likeness to her is declared in the compari- 
son of the woman to one " of Delia's train " (1. 387). 

Book IX.] NOTES 421 

273. Offsp7'ing of Heaven and Earthy etc. This form of address 
is that of Juno when she is incensed at Jupiter : AiVorare KpoviSr}, 
Most dread Saturnius (//. iv. 25). Saturn, or Cronus, was the son 
of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth) ; and the patronymic as well 
as the epithet is therefore exactly translated in the line. 

276. Overheard, etc. This touch, from Sarah in the tent-door 
{Gen. xviii. 10), shows how completely Milton exhausts the stories 
he uses. Observe also how delicately, by the phrase, "just then 
returned," Eve guards herself against a suspicion of eavesdropping. 

288, How found they harbor, etc. Still in the manner of the 
angry Juno to her wife : tzoIqv tov \ivQov ttiireg ; — What word hast 
thou uttered ? 

292. Erom sin aftd blame entire. The Horatian expression 
" integer vitae scelerisque purus " coincides with such Scriptures as 
John V. 14 2Ci\^ Job ii. 9, where wholeness or integrity consists in 
freedom from guilt. 

294. To avoid the atteinpt, etc. The offence to spiritual dignity 
involved in temptation is clearly seen irorajob ii. 10 ; Matt, iv, 7, 

309. Influence of thy look, etc. Another touch of chivalry in 
Adam. Womanly praise is the reward of manly virtue, and vice 
versa (i Sam. xviii. 6, 7 ; Prov. xxxi, 28), 

318. Domestic Adam. Adam is the typical husband, jealous for 
the honor and safety of his family (2 Cor. xi. 2, 3). 

337. Let tis not then suspect, etc. Eve mistakes her self-confi- 
dence for confidence in God. It is, however, the height of pre- 
sumption to assert that unless God's plan suits man's desire that 
plan is a mistake. 

342. Fervently, etc. Adam was strongly wrought upon by Eve's 
suggestion of imperfection in God. His reply is in substance that 
of Job to his wife. 

359. Fir^n we subsist, etc. Eve's suggestion that human happi- 
ness is frail is answered by the Scriptural truth that man was made 

371. Securer, in their own estimation. The thought is that when 
both are together they may feel secure against temptation and 
hence be more easily surprised than when separated and expecting 
their enemy. 

372. Thy stay not free, etc. The heart is with its de.sires, and 
a compulsory stay would create the loathing of imprisonment. 

377. Though last. This is usually understood as the repetition 
of a cheap slander against womankind in general, but it is only a 


hint of the process of self-justification which precedes wrong-doing 
by man or woman. 

382. Nor much expect, etc. This shows how utterly unprepared, 
notwithstanding her protests, Eve was to meet Satan and how 
thoroughly she was imbued with self-confidence. 


The temper of Eve takes her to that part of the Garden where 
she is most likely to meet the Serpent, who in turn lies in wait for 
her. She manifests the haughtiness of spirit that precedes a fall. 

387. Like a ivood-7tymph, etc. This suits Daphne, who was a 
wood-nymph, both a mountain and a tree nymph (Oread and 
Dryad), and a virgin attendant of Delia (Diana). 

389. Li gait surpassed, etc. Diana {" kpri^iic,, the Spotless) is 
the goddess of virginity. Eve in her self-confidence has a virgin 
mind ; she has a consciousness of her own perfections surpassing 
that of Diana herself, and manifests it by her lofty gait and "god- 
dess-like deport." 

390. Though not, etc. Diana's implements gave her sway over 
the lives of animals : Eve's only over the destiny of plants. 

392. Guiltless of fire. The introduction of fire among men by 
Prometheus made the gods their enemies. Fire was necessary to 
make the implements of Pales and Pomona, but not those of Eve. 

393. Pales or Pomona. The first of these carries a sickle, the 
second a pruning-knife. The time for pruning is winter or early 
spring, before the trees blossom and Pomona yields to Vertumnus, 
the power that changes flowers to fruit. 

395. Ceres in her prime, etc. At the April festival of Ceres, 
celebrated before the bladed grain began to ear, the goddess carried 
a basket, and in this Eve's likeness to her consists. Eve, then, 
was equipped with a pruning-knife, or sickle, and a basket. 

408. Such ambush, etc. Prov. i. 10-13. The object of the 
ambush is murder or robbery ; hence Milton did not write " and " 
instead of "or," as Keightley thought he should have written. 
Eve might have been intercepted and murdered, or she might have 
been, as she actually was, sent back ruined, like one robbed of his 

420. By fountain, etc. Daphne, the pattern for Eve in the 
present scene, is associated with springs and streams of water. 

425. Veiled, etc. Fragrance, or incense, accompanies worship 

Book IX.] NOTES 423 

and symbolizes it. Goddess-like Eve enjoys the fragrance as a sort 
of dumb worship. 

427. Oft stooping, etc. The goddess repays her worshippers 
with condescension and honor. 

435. Stateliest covert, etc. The trees named are all evergreens, 
like the cypresses in the famous grove of " Daphne by Orontes." 
They are fit surroundings in their stateliness for the proud woman 
in the midst of them. 

437. Thick-woven arborets. These supply the place of the 
bushes of laurel {dd(pvai) from which the grove of Daphne got its 

439. Spot more delicious, etc. The virgin goddess, Diana, is 
associated by name with the first two of these gardens and by qual- 
ities of person and character also with the third {Faerie Queene III. 
vi. 16 et secj.j Odys. vi. 102 et seq. The description of the Bride 
in Cant, vi., especially the virgin companions and the epithet " un- 
defiled," fits Artemis). 

444. The person more, etc. A place so suggestive of honor and 
exaltation would naturally please an ambitious spirit ; but the ad- 
miration for Eve has its foundation in the story of Apollo's passion 
for the wood - nymph Daphne (the victor's laurel) {Met. i, 452 
et seq.). 

445. As one who long, etc. The grove of Daphne was the sum- 
mer resort of the citizens of Antioch. The rural scenes suggest the 
"simplicity" of Eve before she was corrupted by the Serpent 
(2 Cor. xi. 3). 

450. The smell of grain, etc. The sense of smell soonest dis- 
tinguishes between purity and corruption. Apollo's conquest of 
Python {ttvOuj, to rot, decay) seems to have been closely followed 
by his passion for the Arcadian nymph Daphne. 

458, Angelic but more soft, etc. Conveying the idea that she 
resembled a goddess, a kind of being for whom there is no provi- 
sion in Milton's celestial economy. 

461. With rapine sweet, etc. Still in allusion to the passion for 
Daphne. The story that Mercury once stole away his quiver from 
Apollo (Hor. Odes I. x. 9-12) probably has its foundation in the 
same myth. 

483. Whose higher intellectual, etc. To one bent on deceit 
Adam's intellect was a serious obstacle to success (i Tim. ii. 14). 
Adam's physical strength equalled or even excelled Samson's, and 
overmastering the lion {Jttdg. xiv. 6) could easily cope with the 
serpent in which Satan was hidden. 


490. Not terrible, etc. To the tempter physical beauty is well 
known as a powerful auxiliary. Of itself it is often an incentive 
to pride and ambition. 

498. Circular base, tX.c. This serpent combines features belong- 
ing to the serpents that destroyed Laocoon with features belonging 
to the serpent of Cadmus {/En. ii. 204-208 ; Met. iii. 32-43). 

505. That in Illyria, etc. The transformation of Cadmus and 
his wife Hermione (usually called Harmonia) into serpents is de- 
scribed by Ovid {Met. iv. 563-604). 

506. Or the god in Epidaurus . ^sculapius, the god of medi- 
cine, was transformed into a serpent in " Epidaurus abounding in 
vines " (//. ii. 561). 

507. Nor to which transformed, etc. Olympias was the mother 
of Alexander the Great, and Jove was reputed to be the father of 
both Alexander and Scipio. Satan comes in the insinuating power 
of Music, Wine, and Flattery, symbolized in the three myths just 

517. Curled many a wanton hire. Like the serpent in the wine- 
cup {Prov. xxiii. 31). 

518. She busied, etc. A person usefully employed is less easily 
tempted than an idler (i Tim. v. 13). 

521. Dtiteous at her call, etc. The ideal state in God's "holy 
mountain " is when all the beasts of the earth live in harmony and 
follow the leading of a child {Isa. xi. 6). The lower animals 
obeyed the call of Eve better than the herd of Circe (men turned by 
the sorceress into swine) obeyed their mistress. 

529. Serpent tongue organic, etc. " Either he actually used 
the serpent's tongue as an instrument of speech (although ' not 
made ' for it, 749), or he caused a voice to sound by impression of 
the air." — Verity. 


The methods and power of flattery are skilfully displayed in this 

532. Sovran mistress, etc. The address to Eve resembles that 
of Ulysses to the daughter of Alcinous in her likeness to Diana. 
The resemblance is such as might come from expressing the effect 
of the same personal qualities upon the same admirer under differ- 
ent circumstances. 

538. Fairest resemblance, etc. The image of Diana fell down, 
it was fabled, from her father Jupiter and she was worshipped by 
all the world {Acts xix. 27, 35). 

Book IX.] NOTES 425 

543. These beasts among. As goddess of the chase Diana was 
associated with wild beasts. It is with profound significance that 
Paul speaks of encountering '* beasts at Ephesus," where Diana 
was worshipped (1 Cor. xv. 32). 

549. His proem timed, etc. This figure from music fits the fore- 
going allusion to the transformation of Cadmus and Hermione. 
The music is from the voice of the flatterer. 

558. The latter I demur, etc. The beasts of the field often act 
as if they were governed by reason, and thus become means of in- 
struction to the more highly endowed race of men {^Job xii. 7 ; 
Frov. vi. 6). 

568. Empress, etc. Compare the titles and expressions of ad- 
miration applied by Ulysses to Nausicaa, the daughter of Alcinous ; 
they are such as would befit Diana, the " resplendent" moon-god- 
dess and empress of the night. 

576. A goodly tree far distant. Ulysses tells Nausicaa of a 
goodly palm which he had seen in Delos by the altar of Apollo 
{Odys. vi. 162-167). The tree is remote from beasts because of 
their lack of capacity ; they are below the desire for knowledge. 

581, Sweetest fennel, etc. Newton leads the critics to Pliny 
{Nat. His. xix. 9) : feniculum anguibus gratissimiim. Serpents 
were also supposed to suck the teats of ewes and goats. Fennel is 
from the 'V.'^VixY foenum (hay), the special food of oxen, as milk is 
of the young of animals. The fruit of knowledge is contrasted 
with the food of dulness and ignorance and the tree appears " to 
be desired to make one wise." 

585. Those fair apples. The apple symbolizes Desire {Cant. ii. 
5). It was an apple that Discord threw among the gods with the 
cry, 'H KaXr\ XajSsTU), " Let the fair one take me !" Thence arose 
the dispute between Juno, Minerva and Venus. The last-named 
became possessor of the golden apple and brought on the Trojan 
M'ar with its countless miseries, even as Lust always produces wars 
and fightings. 

591. Thy utmost reach or Adam's. Only beings endowed with 
reason, like man, or such as have gradually acquired reason, like 
the serpent, are capable of attaining to the knowledge of good and 
evil ; other animals are below it. 

595-608. To pluck and eat, etc. King Solomon also tested all 
pleasure, tried wisdom and knowledge, and finally abandoned him- 
self to female charms {Eccl. ii. 3, 10 ; i Kings xi. 4). 

612. Universal Dame, lady of the universe. A larger title than 
even " queen of heaven." 


615. Thy overpraising, etc. The serpent professed that the fruit 
had conferred upon him the power of reason ; the overpraising of 
Eve raised a question as to his possession of reason, and hence as 
to the virtue of the fruit. 

622. Hanging incorruptible, etc. The fruits of knowledge con- 
tinue to hang waiting for later generations to pluck them. Men 
will reach out for them when prepared to receive them (i Cor. iii. 
2 ; Heb. v. 12-14). 

625. Wily adder. Serpent, snake, adder, is a regular progres- 
sion downward ; an adder is poisonous {Prov. xxiii. 32). 

627. Beyond a I'ow of myrtles, etc. This should have admon- 
ished Eve that the tree was beyond honor and even safety. 

631. Szoiftly rolled in tangles, etc. The methods of the tempt- 
er in entangling the unwary are thus symbolized {Matt, xxii, 

634. As zuhen a wandering fire, etc. The critics have been 
severe upon Milton's physics. But the poet is not so much de- 
scribing the ignis fatuus (foolish fire) as giving external form to 
tlie idea of Tust. 

638. Some evil spirit, etc. See Chambers's Encyc. art. Ignis 

641. To bogs and mires, etc. The lusts of men lead them into 
temptation and snares and finally drown them in destruction and 
perdition (i Tim. vi. g). 

644. Our credulous mother. She is the first of the ' * silly wom- 
en " led captive by the devil anc* her own lusts (2 Tim. iii. 6). 

653. Sole daughter of his voice. " A literal rendering of a He- 
brew phrase which implies ' a voice from heaven.' " — Verity. As 
Minerva came from the head of Jove, so the command came forth 
armed with a threat and potent in divine omniscience. 

667. Nezu part puts on. He assumes the role of an orator de- 
fending liberty and human rights ; he wavers between aflfected 
sympathy with the wronged and indignation at the oppressor. But 
it is all hypocrisy, like the words and gestures of an actor who does 
not feel what he expresses. 

670. Some orator, etc. The language is general, but the partic- 
ular orator in mind is probably that Tertullus who accused Paul 
before Felix. This orator hurried through his preface and contin- 
ued in a passion that distorted all the facts of Paul's case {Acts 
xxiv. 1-9). 

680. Mother of science I The serpent professes to have received 
knowledge from the Tree, but not that only ; what he had received, 

Book IX.] NOTES 427 

active within him, had been productive of more and enabled him 
to criticise the actions of the Deity himself. 

692. Will God, etc. God commends wisdom to man and con- 
fers it upon those who seek it {James i. 5). Persistency and deter- 
mination in seeking are praiseworthy. 

702, "The fear of God resting on faith in his justice removes 
the fear of death, since death implies that he is unjust." — Clar. 

711. Proportion meet, etc. Ps. viii. gives man an intermediate 
place between angels and brutes, below the one, above the other. 

716. What are gods, etc. The idea that the food eaten by the 
gods is all that makes them different from men is a perversion of 
such truths 2,% John iv. 14 ; vi. 48-51. 

718. The gods are first, etc. Satan denies the causative agency 
of God or the gods, removing the foundation of the true faith and 
substituting the pagan creed, that all things, even the gods, were the 
offspring of heaven and earth (i. 509 et seq.). 

722. If they all things, etc. The argument is. If the gods 
made everything, why did they provide for their own circumven- 
tion by putting the forbidden fruit where it is ? Or, if without 
law there is no transgression, why was law made? {Rom. vii. 


735. On the fruit she gazed, etc. She was in the same danger 
as those who look upon the wine when it is red, or those who 
listen to the song of the Sirens. Bacchus and the Sirens are nearly 

739. Hour of noon. The time for rest and refreshment. 

748. Gave elocution, etc. Knowledge is prerequisite to speech. 

756. For good unknotun, etc. The almost necessary course of 
Eve's reflection upon the problem before her — What is meant by 
death and by knowing good and evil ? 

771. Author unsuspect. "Author" is explained as meaning 
" adviser." So generous a counsellor. Eve reasons, is beyond 

780-833. eve's transgression 

782. Earth . . . Nature, etc. The inanimate creation shivered 
with earthquake ; all life from its seat (Eve = Living) to the lowest 
forms was disturbed and excited out of its appointed equable flow. 

784. Back to the thicket, etc. Like adulterers and murderers 
ever since {Job xxiv. 13-18). 

793. As with wine, etc. The pleasure-seeking woman of Baby- 


Ion held a cup filled with wine, the blood of saints and martyrs, 
and was drinking death as Eve was eating it {Rev. xvii. 6). 

799. My early care, etc. " I will seek it yet again," say those 
who have tasted the wine of Pleasure {Prov. xxiii. 35 ; Isa. v. 11). 

805. Thotigh others envy, etc. Eve's meaning seems to be: The 
gods themselves owe their superior wisdom to eating of the tree of 
Knowledge ; it is not something inherent in them which they can 
confer as being above it. On this account, to preserve their supe- 
riority, they forbid the fruit to man and are envious of him. The 
serpent is different from the gods in this, and therefore, next to the 
fruit itself, I owe most to the serpent's experience and guidance. 

810. Though secret she retire. Wisdom is something to be 
sought after ; her treasures are hidden (yi?^^ xxviii. 12-17; Prov. 

ii. 4). 

813. Other care perhaps, etc. Pagans could so conceive of their 
gods (i Kings xviii. 27). 

821. To acid what wants, etc. Eve's treachery was like that of 
Samson's wives ; they used their knowledge to the injury of their 
husband, causing anger and estrangement. After the infidelity of 
his first wife the indignant Samson was offered her younger and 
fairer sister {Judg. xiv. and xv.). 


835. Lozi) reverence done, etc. This does not imply gross idola- 
try, as some have supposed, but only that Eve mistakenly imagines 
herself to have found true wisdom and pays it proper respect 
{Prov. iv. 8). 

842. As reapers, etc. A return to rural associations to remind 
us of the simplicity that precedes the knowing of good and evil. 
The end of knowledge is "to give subtilty to the simple." The 
crown represents the praise given by the husband to the faithful 
wife {Prov. xxxi. 28), 

845. The faltering measure, etc. Eve had failed to meet her 
engagement and gave anxiety to her husband, even as the Corin- 
thian church, by its failure in liberality, caused anxiety to Paul, who 
had espoused it (2 Cor. xi. 2-g). 

852. Nezv gathered, etc. Knowledge is more attractive when 
new and fresh, before it becomes common {Eccl. i. 8-10). 

854. Prologue and apology. The prologue comes before a piece 
of acting in explanation, and the apologue follows in deprecation 
of harsh judgment. The words imply a lack of genuineness in 
Eve's behavior. 

Book IX.] NOTES 429 

855. Bland words at -will, &ic. Eve comes with the "impudent 
face" and "flattering" words of the "strange woman." "At 
will " indicates that there was no confusion produced by her con- 
sciousness of dishonesty. 

867-875. The Serpent zuise, etc. The success of transgressors 
is a temptation to others ; and the pride of pleasure-seekers, like 
the arrogance of affected godhead, is the strongest inducement to 
follow their example {Ps. Ixxiii. 2-9). 

881. Thoti therefore also taste, etc. The flattery of the "strange 
woman" has slain "many strong men" {Prov. vii. 26). Adam is 
a little farther on (1060) compared to Samson and to Hercules in 
a breath. This offer of the fruit coming from the intoxicated Eve 
and finally covering Adam with shame (1054-1059) is like the 
offering of the robe from Deianira, daughter of Qineus ('Otvsvg, 
oivoq, wine) or Bacchus. The poison of the serpent entered Adam 
no less than the poison of the Hydra, transfused through the blood 
of Nessus that soaked the robe, entered Hercules. Through the 
influence of Jupiter, Hercules did reach godhead, and received as 
his wife Hebe instead of the jealous Deianira. 

887. Distemper flushing. Shame, the " promotion of fools," is 
beginning to manifest itself in the blushes on her face. 

892. Frofft. his slack hand, etc. He does not praise her, for only 
" a woman that feareth the Lord shall be praised." 

896, O fairest, etc. The lamentation over Eve fitly imitates 
that of the prophet over Israel, "the daughter of my people" 
{Latn. iv. 1-16). Like that favored nation she is fairer than the 
fairest, most precious and most beautiful objects in nature, and 
comparable only to objects of the imagination, but suddenly lost, 
defaced (" their visage is blacker than a coal "), robbed of innocence 
(implied in the comparison to Sodom), devoted to calamity and 
death as the result of her iniquities. 

911. Shptild God create, etc. The feeling of Moses when God 
proposed to him to destroy Israel and to make of him a mightier 
nation {Nnm. xiv. 11-19). 

918. Recoi7iforted, etc. Man's ability to draw strength from de- 
spair is illustrated in the case of King David at the death of his 
child (2 Sam. xii. 20-23). 

921. Bold deed, etc. It was rebellion and usurpation to disobey 
God and aspire to divinity. 

930. Profaned first, etc. After the holy place in the temple at 
Jerusalem was profaned by the " abomination of desolation," God 
abandoned it to destruction. 


938. Nor ca7i I think, etc. The Jews were accustomed to 
harden themselves in iniquity with the reflection that they were 
Abraham's children, though denying Abraham's works of faith 
{Matt. iii. 9). 

952. With thee, etc. The feeling of Moses when Israel was 
threatened with extinction for idolatry (^;c^^. xxxii. 32). Compare 
also Paul {Rom. ix. 3). 

967. One heart, etc. Adam's resolution to die with Eve proved 
the two one in heart as well as in flesh (i Cor. vi. 16). 

971. One guilt, etc. The Fall is always spoken of as one act, 
never as two. Eve represents the element of desire in transgres- 
sion ; Adam the element of volition. This idea is figured forth in 
the union of the sons of God with the daughters of men, giving 
birth to those giants in crime before the Flood. It also appears in 
the forms of the evil spirits — the front of man and the back of 
woman making their heads {Rev. ix. 7, 8). 

980. Oblige thee with a fact, bind thee to me with a deed. 
Others say, "make thee guilty," but this does not fit so well the 
alternative "deserted." 


990. She embraced him, etc. The story of Samson and in gen- 
eral of the victims of the " strange woman" appears in this and 
many following incidents. 

1000. Earth trembled, etc. This travail of Nature attends the 
birth of sin {James i. 15) ; but sin is continually being born, and 
therefore ' * the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain to- 
gether until now" {Rom. viii. 22). 

1003. At completing. Compare note on 1. 971. It is always 
Adam's sin that is spoken of as having produced the Fall {Rom. v. 

1008. As 7vith new wine, etc. The wine mingled by Wisdom 
and that mingled by Lust {Prov. ix. 2, 5 ; xxiii. 30) have sometimes 
been mistaken for each other {Acts ii. 13 ; Eph. v. 18). 

1013. Carnal desire inflaming, etc. The effect of the wine of 
Lust {Prov. xxiii. 33). Peter mentions lasciviousness first among 
the sins that the carnal mind falls into. Allied sins go with it 
(i Pet. iv. 3). Bacchus unites drunkenness and lasciviousness. 

1017. Exact of taste, etc. Taste is the faculty of nice discrimi- 
nation and, intellectually considered, ranks very high. Carnal 
taste is much lower, and it is to this that Eve ministers. 

Book IX.] NOTES 431 

1020. I the praise yield thee , etc. Hebe, the cup-bearer of the 
gods, bore the epithet " revered " (//. iv. 2) and distributed nectar 
which stimulated mirth among the immortals. 

1024. If such pleasure, etc. The lusts of the flesh would now 
cause Adam to break ten commandments as soon as one. Compare 
note on x. 16. 

1029. Never did thy beanty, etc. This speech resembles that of 
Jupiter to Juno (//. xiv. 313-328), when she arranged to beguile 
him, in order that he might not be aware of the activity of Neptune 
upon the earth. 

1037. ZV a shady bank, etc. Jupiter had a special marriage 
chamber framed by Vulcan, but when suddenly smitten with passion 
at sight of Juno, did not lead her thither (//. xiv. 338). Adam's 
marriage chamber was the Bower of Paradise (the heart), and the 
fact that the two did not repair thither proves an absence of true 
love from the carnal enjoyment. 

1039. Flowers zuere the couch, etc. When Jupiter embraced 
Juno (//. xiv. 347-349). 

" Underneath the pair 
The sacred Earth threw up her freshest herbs — 
The dewy lotus and the crocus flower. 
And thick and soft the hyacinth." 

1043. Mutual guilt, etc. " Mutual " is used in its true sense of 
" reciprocal," " given and received." The reaction of the will and 
the desires upon each other is in the poet's mind. 

1044. Till dezuy sleep, Qic. Over Jupiter and Juno "a bright 
golden cloud gathered and shed its drops of glistening dew " (//. 
xiv. 350, 351). Jupiter was presently overpowered by Sleep and 
Neptune wrought dismay upon earth unchecked. Samson slept 
on the knees of Delilah, until she had sheared off his locks and 
made him weak {Jtidg. xvi. 19). 


The consciousness of shame and the means to hide it — clothing 
for the body and falsehood for the soul— are the topics of these 

1049. Grosser sleep. Their natural slumber was "airy light," 
but this was like the " deep sleep " of Samson, who was unaware 
of what he was losing in his slumbers. 

1053. Eyes how opened, etc. Samson lost his eyes in consequence 


of his last debauch with Delilah {Judg. xvi. 20, 21). But the 
darkening of his eyes seems to have been the opening of his mind 
to his own degradation. 

1054. Innocence that as a veil, etc. In her dreams the Bride 
was deprived of her veil {Cant. v. 7), and the nature of her experi- 
ence connects it with that of the drunken man in Pj-ov. xxiii. 35. 

1060. Herculean Samson. See note on 1. 881. The Nessus 
shirt of Hercules is in its effects like the rags of shame hanging on 
Adam. Blistering and maddening, the one affected the body, the 
other the mind. 

1074. Leaves us staked, etc. The condition of the Israelites 
after their idolatry. The rags of shame, guilt, falsehood, and 
apostasy took the place of the washed garments that had clothed 
them before. Their ornaments were made into the molten calf 
{Exod. xxxii. 2, 3, 25). 

1079. The last of evils. follows the comijiission of any 
kind of sin and is the final reward of evil doers (Dan. xii. 2). 

1083. IVill dazzle now, etc. After the idolatry of the Israelites, 
when Moses came a second time from Sinai with the tables of the 
Law, his face shone, the people were afraid of him and he put a 
veil over his face (Exod. xxxiv. 29-35). 

1085. In solitude live savage, etc. Like the Cacus (/ca/cog, bad) 
whom Virgil describes as a half -man, living in a cave inaccessible to 
the rays of the sun (^n. viii. 194, 195). He was the enemy of 
Evander (iv avrjp, good man), and his haunt was lit up and himself 
destroyed by Hercules. 

1 091. Bttt let us now, etc. The coming of shame made it nec- 
essary for man to disguise himself, even before the gaze of his fel- 
lows and partners in guilt. 

1 100. A^ot that kind, etc. There is a modesty which is like 
shame in its external manifestations, which shrinks from praise, 
and which has no relationship whatever with the shame of trans- 
gressors. Between modesty and shame, though they may even 
sometimes bear the same name, there is a difference as wide as 
that between the fruitful and the fruitless fig-tree. 

1 102. To Indians knozvn. The part of India referred to, be- 
sides being the home of the banyan, or Indian fig, has been noted 
from early times for its manufacture of cotton, woollen, and silk 
fabrics for clothing, so that the place is permanently associated 
with the making of " those troublesome disguises that we wear." 

1 105. Daughters grow, etc. Clothing was invented to cover 
shame and often symbolizes the disguise of falsehood invented to 

Book IX.] NOTES 433 

cover guilt. The growth of the banyan with its numerous stems 
about the main trunk, and the advancement in clothing from those 
first fig-leaves to the sumptuous robes of later times, are analogous 
to the growth of falsehood where many lies are required to support 
the first concealment of departure from rectitude, 

iioS. The Indian herdsman, etc. The reference is, I think, to 
a particular Indian herdsman, Bacchus, the tamer and yoker of the 
wild animals of India. Wine has a direct relation to dress {Prov. 
xxiii. 2i). Bacchus and his revellers delight in masks — cover- 
ing every part of the face except the eyes. These masquerades af- 
ford to lust and crime their best opportunities — they mark the ex- 
treme of that sensuality which had only begun to manifest itself in 
Adam and Eve — a few fig-leaves to a whole forest. 

I III. Broad as Amazonian targe. Milton is credited by some 
of the commentators with having described the banyan-tree accu- 
rately except that he makes the leaves too large. But the leaves of 
the banyan are heart-shaped, and five or six inches across. Be- 
sides, an Amazonian targe is not broad, is less than a half shield, 
and performs its office so poorly that Amazons in battle were com- 
monly wounded in the breast. This is, no doubt, what led Milton 
to make the comparison — the insufficiency of the shield and of the 
leaves for covering, with a hint at the effeminacy implied in the 
word " aprons." The leaves had to be sewed together before they 
would cover the shame, as falsehoods are patched together to cover 
a crime. 

1116. Columbus found the American. Physical nakedness with 
guilt in the heart had reduced them to the savage state, and God's 
first mercy is to clothe them. Though clothing is used to disguise 
man from his fellows, the want of it in a guilty state is unen- 

1 1 19. As they thought, etc. Spiritual nakedness and guilt are 
often unsuspected by their subjects {Rev. iii. 17). 

1 128. Both in subjection now, etc. They are in the degraded 
and weakened condition of men in the country of the Amazons, 
where women rule. The myth of the Amazons finds its realization, 
if not in political, then in spiritual history {Isa. iii. 12). 

1 131. From thiis distempered breast. Adam was degraded from 
his place as guide and superior of Eve, and hence his anger. 
Jupiter's anger at the guile of Juno, after their slumber on Mount 
Ida, expressed itself in a speech much like this of Adam (//. xv. 


1 144 What words, etc. An exact translation of the phrase in 


which the irritated Juno was accustomed to address her spouse (//, 
i. 552 ; iv. 25). 

1 1 53. Was I to have never, etc. Prudence would have kept her 
there, but desire led her away. That which before the Fall should 
have been accomplished by love was afterwards fixed by a law 
{Gen. iii. 16). 

1 162. Then first incensed. Jupiter was incensed at the chiding 
of Juno (//. i. 560 ; xv. 13). 

1 1 68, Now upbraided. By the suffering consequent upon trans- 
gression the Desires are turned back in their tracks and become 
accusers of the too indulgent Will {I^om. ii. 15). The Tempter 
has turned Accuser. 

1 1 70. What could I more ? The Will is often right when the 
Desires are wrong and need restraint {Rofti. vii. 18-21). Original- 
ly the Desires were also right and became subject to vanity not 
willingly {Rom. viii. 20). Satan's work at Eve's ear in the Bower 
was to corrupt the Desires, which before the Fall were free. 

1 188. The fruitless haters, etc. Those who have fallen into 
such a snare must humble themselves and seek forgiveness. With- 
out this the time is fruitlessly spent {Prov. vi. i-ii). 



I. Heiupiis and despiteful act. Like the sowing of tares among 
the wheat {Matt. xiii. 24-28). 

5. Was known in Heaven. By the fruits of sin in the lives of 
Adam and Eve to the angels, but by direct inspection of the heart 
to God. 

16. Manifold in sin. " For what sin can be named which was 
not included in this one act ? It comprehended at once distrust in 
divine veracity, and a proportionate credulity in the assurances of 
Satan ; unbelief ; ingratitude ; disobedience ; gluttony ; in the man 
excessive uxoriousness, in the woman a want of proper regard for 
her husband, in both an insensibility to the welfare of their off- 
spring, and that offspring the whole human race ; parricide, theft, 
invasion of the rights of others, sacrilege, deceit, presumption in 
aspiring to divine attributes, fraud in the means employed to attain 
the object, pride and arrogance" {Christ. Doct. xi.). In confirma- 
tion Milton quotes Eccl. vii. 29 and /ames ii. 10. 

18. T/ie angelic guards ascended. The guards were commanded 
by Gabriel (Wisdom), who sat in the place of judgment and de- 
lighted to dwell with men in their primitive innocence {Prov. viii. 
15, 16, 31). Ovid says {Met. i. 150) that Astraea (see note on iv. 
997) was the last of the immortals to leave earth on account of its 
vices and miseries. The angels were "mute and sad," like Pallas 
under the arbitrary decisions of Jove (//. viii. 457-460). 

22. Displeased all were, etc. The angels were grieved at the 
quarrel between Adam and Eve as the gods were at the quarrel be- 
tween Jupiter and Juno (//. i. 570). 

27. The ethereal people ran. The Greeks ran together to an as- 
sembly at the call of Ulysses (//. ii. 208), and again to receive ti- 
dings of the adventures of Ulysses and Diomed, returned from the 
Trojan camp (//. x. 542). The running in these cases signifies 
eagerness for the communications of Wisdom {Prov, ii. 1-5). 


37. Could not prevent, etc. They were striving against invinci- 
ble Fate, for the word of God had already gone forth that Satan 
would prevail. The power of all the gods and goddesses availed 
nothing against " all - disposing Jove" (//. viii. 20-22). In the 
New Testament it is frequently stated that things were done to 
fulfil the word of God spoken by the prophet. 

43. No decree, etc. God had foretold the fall of Man, and it 
would inevitably occur, though not by influence of the foreknowl- 
edge or prophecy. 

64. On the Son blazed, etc., as on the mount of Transfigura- 
tion {Alark ix. 3). The glorification of the Son of God in the 
presence of Moses and Elijah, representatives of the Law, may 
symbolize this very thing — the Messiah's authority to judge trans- 
gressors leniently, yet in full satisfaction of the Law. 

80. Attendance none shall need, etc. The Messiah, coming for 
judgment and salvation, says : "Of the people there was none with 
me " {Isa. Ixiii. 3 ; compare "ethereal people," 1. 27). The object of 
judgment was to produce conviction of sin, a spiritual result which 
could not have been seen by the angels. The flight of Satan was 
evidence of his consciousness of guilt. The serpent, being a brute, 
was incapable of such consciousness. Neglect of the distinction 
between Satan and the serpent has made the passage obscure to 
certain minds. 


86. Hi/n Thrones and Pozvers, etc. The Messiah is not only 
superior to all other authority and power, but he unites all the va- 
rious powers in himself. This idea controls in the description of 
the judgment seat of the Ancient of Days in Dan. vii. 

88. To Heaven-gate. The place of judgment, whence the roads 
diverge to Heaven and to Hell. 

go. The speed of gods , etc. The Messiah is at the same instant 
in the gate, the place of judgment, and on earth in the presence of 

95. The evening cool, etc. Gen. iii. 8, 9. Landor objects to 
the idea that the wrath of the Messiah, having had time to cool, 
was now less violent. But it gives a divine sanction to the apos- 
tolic injunction, " Let not the sun go down upon your wrath," and 
is not inconsistent with Scriptural representations of God. 

109. Eve more loath, etc. Two reasons may be suggested for 
this : first, that Eve was the guiltier of the two, as may be gathered 
from I Ti7n. ii. 14 ; and, second, that representing the element of 



Book X.] NOTES 437 

Desire in wrong-doing, she in her sin rather than Adam in his 
showed spiritual estrangement from God. 

129. Whose failing, etc. It is the duty of the husband to give 
his life for the wife {Eph. v. 25), concealing her faults and bear- 
ing her punishment. 

142. Her doing seemed, etc. This is investingher with the essen- 
tial function of divinity. God only by his actions can determine 
right and wrong, and none can call him to account, or say to him, 
' ' What doest thou ?" 

148. Resign thy manhood. Manhood embraces the prerogative 
of ruling, and Adam loses his manhood by allowing the woman to 
rule, just as Solomon lost his kingdom through subjection to his 
wives (i Kings xi. ii). 

165. Unable to transfer, etc. The serpent, being mute, was 
unable to shift the blame upon Satan, the prime offender. 

168. Justly then accursed, etc. Not the serpent only, but the 
whole brute creation vitiated in nature felt the effects of the Fall 
and lay under the curse {Rotn. viii. 22). 

173. In mysterious terms. Christ taught in parables which were 
often misunderstood by those who heard {Afatt. xiii. 11-13). The 
disciples, however, were intended to understand, and Adam also, 
after his repentance, had the meaning of the curse explained (xii. 


175-228. These lines are Gen. iii. 14-21 and certain explanatory 
passages turned into blank-verse. 


The Creator in the beginning established a connection between 
the World and Heaven by a stairway of the Virtues (iii. 516, note); 
the Fall made a new connection with Hell out of the Vices of men 
and devils. 

231. In countervietv. This implies opposition. The fear of 
Death restrains Sin ; the power of Sin to corrupt limits the rage of 

232. Oittrageous is perhaps suggested by Nebuchadnezzar's fur- 
nace heated sevenfold and destructive even beyond its proper con- 
fines {Dan. iii. 22 ; Rev. ix. 2). 

243. Methinks I feel, etc. Like Hecate, the goddess of witch- 
craft, "lured by the smell of infant blood, Sin is attracted to the 
death of Innocence " (compare ii. 662-665 and notes). 

249. Thou niy shade, etc. Death follows Sin, as Nemesis, 


daughter of the Night (Hesiod, Theog. 223), followed those who 
had fallen under the displeasure of the gods. 

252. Lest the difficulty, etc. The possibility of a failure in Sa- 
tan's enterprise, even after its apparent accomplishment, is hinted 
at in Gen. iii. 22. 

256. To fotmd a path, etc. This seems to be " the street of the 
great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt " {Rev. xi.8). 
Sin has been identified both with the scarlet woman who represents 
" that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth" {Rev. 
xvii. 18) and with the strange woman who presides over the way to 
Hell {Prov. vii. 27). Sin's part in the road is hinted at in the 
name Sodom given to the city ; Death's part in the name Egypt. 

258. A 7fiomiment is a reminder, a memorial, such as the tower 
of Babel was intended for. The memorial of Babylon consists of 
the lives of slaughtered innocents, whose blood cries continually to 
Heaven for vengeance {Rev. vi. 9-1 1 ; xvii. 6 ; xvi. 19). 

267, Stich a scent, etc. This conception of Death unites the 
dog and the vulture, both of which feed upon the carcasses of the 
slain. Jove's griffins, or eagles, are similar and are consequently 
called " winged hounds" (yEsch., Prom. Vinct. 803, 1022). Their 
function is to prey upon the wicked not after but before bodily 
death. They represent guilt, " which, though in its primary sense 
it is an imputation by God to us, yet is also, as it were, a commence- 
ment or prelude of death dwelling in us, by which we are held as 
by a bond, and rendered subject to condemnation and punishment " 
{Christ. Doct. xii.). 

273. As when a flock, etc. Matt. xxiv. 28 ; Rev. xix. 17. 

277. Scetit of living carcasses. Guilt pollutes the sinner while 
living, so that the " mind and conscience is defiled " {Tit. i. 15). 
The pollution of guilt exhales the evil odor that attracts the 

279. Grim Feature. The Greek Nemesis (yi.\nii, to distribute 
that which is due, as "the wages of sin ") was a personification of 
the righteous anger of the gods, and the epithet is therefore exact. 
Death is not a creature, but a something (Feature) that "is not 
and yet is " {Rev. xvii. 8). 

283. Anarchy of Chaos. From the events of Time — the acts of 
lawless men — the bridge of Sin and Death is built, the record is 
made which consigns men to everlasting punishment. Among 
these events Sin and Death are separated for a while, but they 
come together at last. 

286. Solid or slimy, etc. The easiest reference is to the mate- 

Book X.] NOTES 439 

rials used in building the tower of Babel — brick for stone and 
slime for mortar {Gen. xi. 3), But perhaps a reference to the 
" abominations and filthiness " in the hand of the scarlet woman 
{Rev. xvii. 4) would come nearer the poet's meaning. 

289. As when t7vo polar wliids, etc. A wind symbolizes Sin in 
Isa. Ixiv. 6 and the terrors of Death in Job xxx. 15. The former 
is a hot blast from the south, the latter a cold one from the north. 

290. Cronian Sea. "Pliny {Natural History \v. 16) says that 
the sea one day's sail from Thule is frozen and is called Cronian." 
— Clar. Press. Cronian is from Cronus (Time). The use of the 
name confirms the foregoing notes. 

294. Mace petrific, etc. The mace of Death is the trident of 
Neptune. The mace is the weapon of priests who are not permit- 
ted to bear the sword ; and the word " petrific," like the subsequent 
word " pontifical," points to the successors of St. Peter as somehow 
aiding in the construction of this portentous bridge. 

296. As Delos, etc. Delos was raised to the surface of the sea 
and made firm by order of Neptune. The liquid part of the bridge 
material is frozen into stone-like solidity by the Gorgon look of 

298. With asphaltic slittie. This feature connects the valley of 
Death (compare " shoaling," 1. 288) with the vale of Siddim, where 
there were slime-pits {Gen. xiv. 10), and where, too, the horror of 
destruction turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt. 

299. Roots of Hell. I Tim. vi. 10. The power of the scarlet 
woman over the nations of the earth is obtained through her mer- 
chandise {Rev. xviii. 11- 17). 

304. A passage broad, etc. Matt. vii. 13 ; jEn. vi. 126. 

306. From Susa, etc. " Shushan the palace" is an Old Testa- 
ment designation. The city bore the epithet ' ' Memnonian ," which 
suggests the darkness of Death, for Memnon is called by Hesiod 
{Theog. 986) king of the Ethiopians. The Memnonium of Thebes 
has been believed to be a tomb. Neptune, too, had his magnificent 
palace at .^gse under the sea (//. xiii. 21 ; Odys. v. 381). 

311. And scourged, etc. " The Greeks who, in the bridging of 
the sacred Hellespont, saw the beginning of a long career of auda- 
cious impiety, gradually transformed the fastenings with which the 
passage was finally secured into fetters and scourges, with which 
the barbarian in his madness had thought to chastise the aggression 
of the rebellious stream." — Class. Diet. Death bears "a whip of 
scorpions," and Neptune also has his scourges. 

313. Pontifical. The title " pontiff," established by Numa, was 


afterwards assumed by the Roman emperors and used finally as a 
sacred designation of the pope. The epithet is further evidence of 
Milton's identification of Rome with the spiritual Babylon, whose 
fall is like that of a great millstone (" pendent rock") into the sea 
{Rev. xviii. 2i). 

315. To the self -same place, etc. The Limbo of Vanity. The 
beginning of the way of sin is in foolishness {Eccl. x. 13). Those 
void of understanding enter the strange woman's house, which " is 
the way to Hell " {Prov. vii. 27). 

320. In little space, etc. Near the road leading from Earth to 
Heaven is the house of Sin, which Hell, reaching out with a long 
arm, had interposed so as to draw men away from Heaven into her 
own broad road {Prov. vii. 12-15). This interpretation requires " in- 
terposed" to be a verb, the predicate of " Hell," and not a passive 
participle. Masson inclines to the same grammatical construction, 
though he does not seem to take quite the same meaning from the 

323. Three several ways. There is a passage downward to 
Earth, a stairway upward to the right leading to Heaven, a bridge 
downward to the left leading to Hell. Here Sin begins her allure- 
ments, having her house on the corner of the street {Prov. vii. 8). 
One of the names of the sorceress Hecate at the entrance to the 
lower world is Trivia {^11. vi. 13). 

328. Bettvixt the Centaur atid the Scorpion, etc. The time was 
near daybreak, the twilight for which the adulterer waits {Job xxiv. 
15-17). His highest object (zenith) was to avoid shame and pun- 
ishment, represented in Centaurus and Scorpio. 

336. Saw their shame, etc. The sin of the Israelites made 
them naked to their shame among their enemies {Exod. xxxii. 25). 

351. Stupendious bridge. The emotion at the works of Sin and 
Death surpasses ordinary wonder. St. John ' ' wondered with great 
admiration." The pure wonder with horror, the depraved with 
pleasure {Rev, xvii. 6, 8 ; xiii. 3). 

362. Though distant, etc. The power of sorcery is here de- 
scribed. Egyptian sorcerers by their enchantments called up frogs 
upon the land of Egypt {Exod. viii. 7). The three frog-like spirits 
of Rev. xvi. 13 appear to represent Satan, Sin and Death, and the 
miracles attributed to them emanate from their sorcerous power. 

371. Portentous bridge. "Portentous" involves the idea of 
presaging calamities, causing fear in those subject to death {Heb. 
ii. 15). 

381. His quadrature, etc. The term "quadrature" seems to 

Book X.] NOTES 441 

have been universally misunderstood. Lexicographers have in- 
vented the new definition of " a quadrate, a square." Commenta- 
tors agree in taking it to signify a square or cubic form, though 
everywhere else the word has a different and well-understood sense. 
The moon is in her quadratures when half her disc is illuminated ; 
at the close of the second book Heaven is compared to the moon ; 
and the two passages together confirm the contention that the 
" quadrature " of Heaven is of the shape of a half moon. Sin can 
therefore depreciate Heaven by speaking of it as a mere hemisphere 
in contrast with the perfect sphere of the World. 

389. Near Heaven's door. Bunyan saw a way to Hell even from 
the gate of Heaven. 

395. Them to acquaint, etc. When the Philistines were suc- 
cessful over Israel and Saul and his sons fell by their own hands 
on the battle-field of Mount Gilboa, the victors published it "in 
the house of their idols and among the people." Not only did 
they proclaim their victory, but placed trophies of it — the armor and 
body of Saul— in the house of Ashtaroth (the stars) and on the wall 
of Beth-shan (house of ivory — probably representative of the sky). 
The trophies of Satan's victory over Adam, king of a larger Israel, 
are likewise hung in the sky, when Sin and Death take possession 
thereof (i Sam. xxxi. 9, 10 ; 2 Sam. i. 20). 

404. Plenipotent on earth. The devil gives power to death 
{Heb. ii. 14) and the dragon to the terrible beast of Revelation 
{Rev. xiii. 2, 4). 


The scene is changed back to Pandemonium and the action is 
analogous to events in the history of the real and the spiritual 

412. Spreading their bane, etc. Newton thinks that Milton here 
adapts to his own use Ovid's journey of Envy to Athens {Met. ii. 
793 et seq.). The approach of Death sickens all nature ; and it is 
the malign influence of the planet Earth that smites the neighbor- 
ing planets with eclipse and pales the glory of the far-off stars. 

415. Causey signifies a road paved with stone. The bridges of 
Xerxes were really causeways against which the angry Hellespont 
roared and finally broke them down. 

419. Wide open and unguarded. So Cyrus and his Persians 
found the gates of Babylon on the night when the city was taken. 

427. These kept their watch, etc. There was no armed force to 


resist Cyrus until he came to the palace, where Belshazzar (Nabu- 
nahid) was feasting his lords while the Medes were taking the city 
{Dan. v.). Anxiety and fear entered the palace on account of the 
handwriting on the wall, 

431, As when the Tartar, etc. The Tartar retreats from that 
region known to biblical writers as Meshech, and the Bactrian 
Sophi from that known as Tubal, the one lying northwest, the 
other east, of the Caspian Sea. The tribes of these regions are the 
prophetic Gog and Magog, who, after their descent upon the land 
of God's people, retire to the mountainous region of the Caucasus, 
easy of defence. 

435. The reahn of Aladule. Aladule was the last king of Armenia 
before its conquest by the Turks. The retreat of the Sophi left de- 
serted the country eastward of his kingdom around the Caspian 
Sea ; the retreat of the Tartars was from the western side of the 
sea. Fear drew the population of Hell about its capital, as the 
tribes were drawn from both sides of the Caspian to the mountains. 
Fear paralyzes the arms of the sinner, so that for the time evil ex- 
ists in the heart rather than the act. The fear of punishment to 
come with the reappearance of Satan paralyzed Hell. 

442. In shozu plebeian, etc. Fear of the consequences of his 
crime was doubtless the reason for his assumed humility. The 
expectation of judgment had quelled the old spirit of boasting 
{Heb. X. 27). 

444. Plutonian hall. " Plutonian" is from Plutus, the god of 
wealth. Like Belshazzar's capital, with its vessels of gold and sil- 
ver from the temple of Jerusalem, Pandemonium held the spoils of 

448. Saw unseen, etc. The helmet of Pluto rendered its wearer 
invisible. Regaining confidence among his helpers and on his im- 
perial throne, Satan presently manifested himself in his true form, 
flashing star-like from a cloud, as Apollo