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I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.
Say first, for heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of hell; say first, what cause Mov'd our grand parents in that happy state, Favour'd of heaven so highly, to fall off From their Creator, and transgress his will For one restraint, lords of the world besides? Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt? Th' infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile, Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd 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 equall'd the Most High, If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim Against the throne and monarchy of God Rais'd impious war in heaven and battle proud, With vain attempt. Him the almighty Power Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky, With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomless perdition, there to dwell In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night 50
33 Who] v. Hom. Il. i. 8. Hume.
48 adamantine] v. Spenser. chains.' See Todd's Note.
'Together link'd in adamantine
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great furnace, flam'd; yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
For those rebellious; here their prison ordain'd
63 darkness visible] v. Senecæ Ep. 57. de Crypt. Neapol. 'Nihil illis faucibus obscurius; quæ nobis præstant, ut non per tenebras videamus, sed ut ipsas.' Bentl. MS.
66 hope] Compare Jer. Taylor's Contemplations, p. 211, and see Todd's Note, p. 18.
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd
And thence in heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words
If thou beest he-But O how fall'n! how chang'd From him, who in the happy realms of light, Cloath'd with transcendent brightness, didst outshine Myriads, though bright! If he, whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprize,
Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd
From what height fall'n, so much the stronger prov'd
Can else inflict, do I repent, or change,
85 Isaiah, xiv. 12. Virg. Æn. ii. 274.
'Hei mihi! qualis erat! quantum mutatus ab illo!" Newton.
98 high] Spens. F. Queen. b. i. c. i. s. 19. grief, and high disdain.'
That durst dislike his reign; and, me preferring,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
And study of revenge, immortal hate
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
So spake th' apostate angel, though in pain,
Fearless, endanger'd heaven's perpetual King,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
As far as gods and heavenly essences
Can perish for the mind and spirit remains
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Than such could have o'erpower'd such force as ours,)
131 perpetual] Consult Newton's note on the word 'perpetual.'
139 mind and spirit] So Satan in the Adamus Exsul of Grotius, p. 32, ed. Lauder.
--Abstulit sortem Deus
Quam potuit, animis pristinum mansit decus,
Et cor, profunda providum sapientia;
Sunt reliqua nobis regna, sunt vires suæ,
140 Invincible] v. Eschyli Prometheus, ver. 1060.
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Τοὐμὸν, ἀνάγκης στερῥαῖς δίναις.