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On the Morning of Christ's Nativity
On Time ...
THE ARGUMENT. The First Bouk proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise, where. in he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of angels, was, by the 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 falling into hell, described here, not in the centre, (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed,) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos : here Saian, with his angels, lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity sly by him: they confer of their miserable fall; Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounde M. They rise; their numbers ; array of battle; their chie leaders named according to the idols known afterwards in Ca. naan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his Beech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining heaven, but Iclls them lastly of a new world, and a new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy, or report, in hea. ven; for, that angels were long before this visible creations was the opinion of many ancient fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to , full council. What his associatce thence attempt. Pande monium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep : the infernal peers there sit in council.
Or Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow and
may assert Eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to meri.
Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of hell ; say first, what causa Moved our grand Parents, in that happy state, Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off From their Creator, and transgress his will For one restraint, zords 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 Tebel angels ; by whose aid, aspiring To set himself in glory above his peers, He trusted to have equalled the Most High, If he opposed ; and with ambitious aim Against the throne and monarchy of God, Raised impious war in heaven, and battle proud, Witb vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, With hideous ruin and combustion, dawn To bottomless perdition there to dwell In adamantina chaids and penal fire, Who durss dety De Oran podent to arms,
Nine times the space that measure day and nighe To mortul man, he with his horrid crew Isay vanquishel, rolling in the fiery gulf, Confounded, though immortal : but his doom Reserved him to more wrath; for now the though Both of lost happiness and lasting pain Torments him: round ne throws his baleful eyes, That witnessed huge affliction and dismay, Mixed with obdurate pride and stedfast hate : At once, as far as angels' ken, he views l'he disnial situation waste and wild ; A dungeon horrible on all sides round, As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flainen No light; but rather darkness visible Served only to discover sights of woe, kegions 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 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. O, how unlike the place from whence they fell ! There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed With Alvods 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 Beëlzebub. To whom the arch-enemy, And thencein heaven called Satan, with bold words, Breaking the horrid silence, thus began :
“If thou beest he; buto, how fallen ! how changed From him, who, in the happy realms of light, Clothedwith transcendent brightners,didstoutshine Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious entorprize
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined
To bow and sue for grace
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 pov ers, That led the embutuled serall im to war