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“ Ambition. Yet, why not? some other power
“ As great might have aspir'd, and me, though mean,
“Drawn to his part: but other powers as great

“Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within, 65 “Or from without, to all temptations arm'd.

“ 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 accurs'd! since, love or hate 70 6. To me alike, it deals eternal woe.

Nay, curs'd be thou ! since, against his, thy will
“ Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
“ Me miserable! which way shall I fly

“ Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
75 “ Which way I fly 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 heaven.

“O, then, at last relent! Is there no place 80 “Left for repentance ? none for pardon left ?

“None left, but by submission ! and that word
“ Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame

Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduc'd

“ With other promises, and other vaunts
85 “ Than to submit, boasting I could subdue

“The Omnipotent! Ah 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;

With diadem and sceptre high advanc'd,
“ The lower still I fall, only supreme
“In misery: such joy ambition finds.
“ But say I could repent, and could obtain,

' By act of grace, my former state; how soon 95 “ Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay

“ What feign'd submission swore: ease would recant
“ Vows made in pain, as violent and void ;
For never can true reconcilement grow

90

“ Where wounds of deadly hate have pierc'd so deep 100 “ Which would but lead me to a worse relapse,

“ 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. 105 “ All hope excluded thus, behold, (instead

“Of us, outcast, exil'd,) 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: 110 “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 dimm'd his face, 115 Thrice chang'd with pale ire, envy, and despair;

Which marr'd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld;
For heavenly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear.

Whereof he soon aware,
120 Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm,

Artificer of fraud! and was the first
That practis'd falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge:

Yet not enough had practis'd to deceive
125 Uriel once warn'd; whose eye pursued him down

The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigur’d, more than could befal
Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce

He mark'd, and mad demeanour, then alone, 130 As he suppos'd, all unobserv'd, unseen.

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 champaign head 135 Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides

With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,

Access denied ; and over-head up-grew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,

Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm140 A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend

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 145 Into his nether empire neighbouring round:

And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit;
Blossoms and fruits at once, of golden hue,

Appear'd, with gay enamellid colours mix'd;
150 On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams

Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath shower'd the earth; so lovely seem'd
That landscape ; and of pure, now purer air

Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires 155 Vernal delight and joy, able to drive

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 160 Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past

Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabëan odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the Blest; with such delay

Well pleas'd they slack their course, and, many a league, 165 Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles :

So entertain'd those odorous sweets the fiend,
Who came their bane: though with them better pleas'd
Than Asmodëus with the fishy fume

That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse 170 Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent

From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to the ascent of that steep savage

hill
Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick entwin'd,

175 As one continued brake, the undergrowth

Of shrubs, and tangling bushes, had perplex'd
All path of man, or beast, that pass'd that way.
One gate there only was, and that look'd east

On th’ other side: which when the arch-felon saw, 180 Due entrance he disdain'd; and, in contempt,

At one slight bound high over-leap'd 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, 185 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, 190 Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault,

In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles;
So clomb the 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,
195 (The middle tree and highest there that grew,)

Sat like a cormorant: yet not true life
Thereby regain’d, but sat devising death
To them who liv'd; nor on the virtue thought

Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd 200 For prospect what, well us’d, 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. 205 Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views,

To all delight of human sense expos'd
In narrow room, nature's whole wealth ; yea more,
A heaven on earth! for blissful Paradise

Of God the garden was, by him in th' east 210 Of Eden planted : Eden stretch'd her line

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
215 His far more pleasant garden God ordain’d.

Out of the fertile ground he caus'd 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 220 Of vegetable gold; and next to life,

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 chang'd his course, but through the shaggy hill 225 Pass'd underneath ingulf’d; for God had thrown

That mountain as his garden-mould, high-rais'd
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
Of porous earth, with kindly thirst up-drawn,

Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill 230 Water'd the garden; thence united fell

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 235 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 240 Ran nectar, visiting each plant; and fed

Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice art
In beds and curious knots, but nature boon
Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,

Both where the morning sun first warmly smote 245 The open field, and where the unpierc'd shade

Imbrown'd 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, burnish'd with golden rind, 250 Hung amiable, (Hesperian fables true,

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