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Would not admit; thine and of all thy sons
The weal or woe in thee is plac'd; beware.
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,

And all the blest: 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
Follow'd with benediction. Since to part,
Go, heavenly guest, ethereal messenger,
Sent from whose sov'reign goodness I adore.
Gentle to me and affable hath been
Thy condescension, and shall be honour'd ever
With grateful memory: thou to mankind
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.



637 admit] Used in the Latin sense, as in Ter. Heaut. act v. sc. ii. 'Quid ego tantum sceleris admisi miser?" Newton. 641 Free] See Dante Il Purgat. c. xxvii. v. 139. 'Non aspettar mio dir più, nè mio cenno.

Libero, dritto, e sano è tuo arbitrio;

E fallo fora non fare a suo senno.'

658 bower] Compare the parting of Jupiter and Thetis in Hom. Il. i. 531.

—ἡ μὲν ἔπειτα

Εις ἅλα άλτο βαθεῖαν ἀπ' αἰγλήεντος Ολύμπου,

Ζεὺς δὲ ἑὸν πρὸς δῶμα.






SATAN having compassed the earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by night into Paradise, and enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alleging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her found alone: Eve loath 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. Eve, 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: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the Tree of Knowledge forbidden; the serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat: she, pleased with the taste, deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam, or not; at last brings him of the fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof: Adam at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her, and extenuating the trespass eats also of the fruit: the effects thereof in them both: they seek to cover their nakedness: then fall to variance and accusation of one another.

No more of talk where GOD or angel guest
With man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while

Venial discourse unblam'd: I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt,

And disobedience: on the part of heaven
Now alienated, distance and distaste,


Anger, and just rebuke, and judgment given,
That brought into this world a world of woe;
Sin and her shadow death, and misery
Death's harbinger: sad task, yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursu'd
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd,
Or Neptune's ire or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek and Cytherea's son:
If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd,

And dictates to me slumb'ring, or inspires

11 world] Atterbury proposed reading

'That brought into this world (a world of woe),'

but such is not Milton's manner.




11 a world of woe] See Davison's Poetical Rhapsody, ii. 178. ed. 1826.

' a private hell, a very world of woe.'

Easy my unpremeditated verse:

Since first this subject for heroic song
Pleas'd me, long choosing and beginning late;
Not sedulous by nature to indite

Wars, hitherto the only argument

Heroic deem'd, chief mastery to dissect
With long and tedious havock fabled knights
In battles feign'd; the better fortitude
Of patience and heroic martyrdom
Unsung; or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, emblazon'd shields,
Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; then marshal'd feast
Serv'd up in hall with sewers, and seneshals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,

Not that which justly gives heroic name
Το person or to poem. Me, of these

Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Remains, sufficient of itself to raise

That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depress'd; and much they may, if all be mine,
Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear.

The sun was sunk, and after him the star






41 of these] The construction adopted by Milton occurs in Harrington's Ariosto, c. iv. st. 42.

'As holy men of humane manners skill'd.' Todd. 45 years] Grief, want, wars, clime, or say, years. Bentl.

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Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring
Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter
Twixt day and night, and now from end to end
Night's hemisphere had veil'd the horizon round:
When Satan who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd

In meditated fraud and malice, bent

On man's destruction, maugre what might hap
Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.
By night he fled, and at midnight return'd
From compassing the earth, cautious of day,
Since Uriel regent of the sun descry'd
His entrance, and forewarn'd the cherubim
That kept their watch; thence full of anguish

The space of seven continu'd nights he rode
With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line



He circled, four times cross'd the car of night 65
From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
On the eighth return'd, and on the coast averse
From entrance or cherubic watch by stealth

50 arbiter] Sydney, in his Arcadia, calls the sun, about the time of the Equinox,

'An indifferent arbiter between the night and the day.'

59 compassing] Sylv. Du Bartas, p. 896, of Satan,

'I come, said he, from walking in, and out,
And compassing the earthlie ball about.'

66 colure] See Lisle's Du Bartas, p. 155.

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'The second is, and call'd the nigh equall colure.'



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