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When Satan who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd
In meditated fraud and malice, bent

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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

60 His entrance, and forewarn’d the Cherubim That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven, The space of sev’n continued nights he rode With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line He circled, four times cross'd the car of night From pole to pole, travérsing each colure; On th' eighth return'd, 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, 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 involv'd in rising mist, then sought

75 Where to lie hid; fea he had search'd and land From Eden over Pontus, and the pool Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob; Downward as far antarctic; and in length West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd

80 At Darien, thence to the land where flows Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd

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With narrow search, and with inspection deep
Consider'd every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found 85
The Serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him after long debate, irresolute
Of thoughts revolv’d, his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide

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From Marpest fight: for in the wily snake,
Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding, which in other beasts obfery'd
Doubt might beget of diabolic power

95 Active within beyond the sense of brute. Thus he resolv'd, but first from inward grief His bursting passion into plaints thus pour’d.

O Earth, how like to Heav'n, if not preferr'd More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built With second thoughts, reforming what was old! For what God after better worse would build ? Terrestrial Heav’n, danc'd round by other Heavens That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps, Light above light, for thee alone, as seems, JOS In thee concentring all their precious beams Of sacred influence! As God in Heaven Is center, yet extends to all, so thou Centring receiv'ft from all those orbs; in thee, Not in themselves, all their known virtue' appears 110 Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth Of creatures animate with gradual life

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Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in Man.
With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,
If I could joy in ought, sweet interchange 115
Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd,
Rocks, dens, and caves! but I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me', as from the hateful fiege
Of contraries; all good to me becomes
Bane, and in Heav'n much worse would be my state.
But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven
To dwell, unless by mast'ring Heav'n's Supreme; 125
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 destroy'd, 130
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe;
In woe then; that destruction wide may range:
To me shall be the glory sole among

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Th’ infernal Pow'rs, in one day to have marr’d
What he Almighty ftild, fix 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 fervitude inglorious well nigh half
Th’angelic name, and thinner left the throng

Of his adorers : he to be aveng'd,
And to repair his numbers thus impair'd,
Whether such virtue spent of old now failid 145
More Angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or to spite us more,
Determin’d to advance into our room
A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,

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With heav'nly spoils, our spoils: What he decreed
He' effected; Man he made, and for him built
Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,
Him lord pronounc'd, and, O indignity!
Subjected to his service Angel wings,

155 And flaming ministers to watch and tend Their earthly 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 160 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 fit the high’est, am now constrain'd Into a beast, and mix'd with bestial slime, 165 This essence to incarnate and imbrute, That to the highth of Deity aspir’d; But what will not ambition and revenge Descend to? who aspires must down as low As high he foar’d, obnoxious first or last To bafest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, Bitter ere long back on itself recoils

Let

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Let it ; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy," this new favorite

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Of Heav'n, this man of clay, son of despite,
Whom us the more to spite his Maker rais'd
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-roll'd, His head the midst, well stor'd with subtle wiles : Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, Nor nocent yet, but on the grasly herb Fearless unfear'd he Nept : in at his mouth The Devil enter'd, and his brutal sense, In heart or head, possessing soon inspir’d With act intelligential; but his sleep Disturb’d not, waiting close th' approach of morn. Now when as sacred light began to dawn In Eden on the humid flow'rs, that breath'd Their morning incense, when all things that breathe, From th' earth's great altar send up filent praise 195 To the Creator, and his nostrils fill With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, And join'd their vocal worship to the quire Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs : Then commune how that day they best may ply Their growing work : for much their work outgrew;

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