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Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow, And on the neck of crowned Fortune It shall be still in strictest measure


5 even

Hast reared God's trophies, and his work To that same lot, however mean or high, pursued, Toward which Time leads me, and the will While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots of Heaven;

imbrued, All is, if I have grace to use it so,

And Dunbar field, resounds thy praises As ever in my great Task-Master's eye. loud,

And Worcester's laureate wreath: yet

much remains ON SHAKESPEARE

To conquer still; Peace hath her vic

tories What needs my Shakespeare for his No less renowned than War: new foes honored bones

arise, The labor of an age in pilèd stones?

Threatening to bind our souls with Or that his hallowed relics should be hid secular chains. Under a star-ypointing pyramid?

Help us to save free conscience from the Dear son of memory, great heir of fame, 5 paw What need'st thou such weak witness of Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their

thy name? Thou in our wonder and astonishment Hast built thyself a livelong monument.

ON HIS BLINDNESS For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavoring art,

When I consider how my light is spent ; Thy easy numbers flow, and that each Ere half my days, in this dark world and heart

wide, Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued | And that one talent which is death to book


is Those Delphic lines with deep impression Lodged with me useless, though my soul took,

more bent

a Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving, To serve therewith my Maker, and present Dost make us marble with too much My true account, lest he returning chide; Lconceiving,

"Doth God exact day-labor, light deAnd so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie 15 nied?” That kings for such a tomb would wish to I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent die.

That murmur, soon replies, “God doth

not need

Either man's work or his own gifts. TO THE LORD GENERAL CROM

Who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best."

His state
MAY, 1652

Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,

And post o’er land and ocean without ON THE PROPOSALS OF CERTAIN MINISTERS

rest; AT THE COMMITTEE FOR PROPAGATION They also serve who only stand and OF THE GOSPEL



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Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a

Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way

hast ploughed,

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints,

whose bones Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains


1 invaluable.

band gave,


Even them who kept thy truth so pure of Whom Jove's great son to her glad hus

old, When all our fathers worshipped stocks Rescued from Death by force, though pale and stones,

and faint. Forget not: in thy book record their Mine, as whom washed from spot of childgroans

bed taint

5 Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient Purification in the old law did save, fold

And such as yet once more I trust to have Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that Full sight of her in Heaven without rerolled

straint, Mother with infant down the rocks. Their Came vested all in white, pure as her mind. moans

Her face was veiled; yet to my fancied The vales redoubled to the hills, and they sight To heaven. Their martyred blood and Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person ashes sow

shined O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth So clear as in no face with more delight. sway

But, oh! as to embrace me she inclined, The triple tyrant; that from these may I waked, she fled, and day brought back grow

my night. A hundredfold, who, having learnt thy

way, Early may fly the Babylonian woe.







Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes,

though clear To outward view, of blemish or of spot, Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot; Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear Of sun or moon or star throughout the year,

5 Or man or woman. Yet I argue not Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a

jot Of heart or hope, but still bear up and

steer Right onward. What supports me, dost

thou ask? The conscience, friend, to have lost them

overplied In liberty's defence, my noble task, Of which all Europe talks from side to

side. This thought might lead me through the

world's vain mask Content, though blind, had I no better


This First Book proposes, first in brief,

the whole subject,-Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise, wherein 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 fallen into Hell-described here, not in the Center (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 Satan with his Angels, lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion; calls up him who, next in order and dignity, lay by him: they confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers; array of battle; their


ON HIS DECEASED WIFE Methought I saw my late espousèd saint Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,

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chief leaders named, according to the Illumine; what is low, raise and support; idols known afterwards in Canaan and That to the highth of this great argument the countries adjoining. To these Satan I may assert ? Eternal Providence,

25 directs his speech; comforts them with And justify the ways of God to men. hope yet of regaining Heaven; but tells Say first—for Heaven hides nothing them lastly of a new world and new from Thy view, kind of creature to be created, according Nor the deep tract of Hell-say first what to an ancient prophecy, or report, in Heaven-for that Angels were long be- Moved our grand Parents, in that happy fore this visible creation was the opinion state, of many ancient Fathers. To find out Favored of Heaven so highly, to fall off 30 the truth of this prophecy, and what to From their Creator, and transgress his will determine thereon, he refers to a full For one restraint, lords of the world becouncil. What his associates thence sides. attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the

The infernal Serpent; he it was, whose Deep: the infernal Peers there sit in guile, council.

Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived

35 Of Man's first disobedience, and the The mother of mankind, what time his fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Had cast him out from Heaven, with all
Brought death into the world, and all our his host

Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man To set himself in glory above his peers,
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, 5 He trusted to have equalled the Most
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that on the secret High,

If he opposed; and, with ambitious aim
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

Against the throne and monarchy of God, That shepherd who first taught the chosen Raised impious war in Heaven, and battle seed

In the beginning how the heavens and With vain attempt. Him the Almighty

Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill

Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that


45 flowed

With hideous ruin and combustion, down
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence To bottomless perdition; there to dwell
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song, In adamantine chains and penal fire,
That with no middle flight intends to soar Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues Nine times the space that measures day
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. and night

50 And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost pre- To mortal men, he with his horrid crew fer

17 Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gull, Before all temples the upright heart and Confounded, though immortal. But his pure,

doom Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from Reserved him to more wrath; for now the the first

Wast present, and, with mighty wings out- Both of lost happiness and lasting pain 55

Torments him; round he throws his bale-
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast

That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is Mixed with obdurate pride, and steadfast

1 close.
? vindicate.

3 because of.



ful eyes,




At once, as far as Angel's ken, he views The force of those dire arms? Yet not for
The dismal situation waste and wild. 60 those,
A dungeon horrible on all sides round Nor what the potent Victor in his rage 95
As one great furnace flamed; yet from Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
those flames

Though changed in outward luster, that No light; but rather darkness visible

fixed mind, Served only to discover sights of woe, And high disdain from sense of injured Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where

merit, peace

65 That with the Mightiest raised me to And rest can never dwell; hope never contend, comes

And to the fierce contention brought along That comes to all; but torture without end Innumerable force of Spirits armed, Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed

That durst dislike his reign, and, me preWith ever-burning sulphur unconsumed. ferring, Such place Eternal Justice had prepared 70 His utmost power with adverse power opFor those rebellious; here their prison or- posed dained

In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven, In utter darkness, and their portion set, And shook his throne. What though the As far removed from God and light of field be lost?

105 Heaven,

All is not lost: the unconquerable will, As from the center thrice to the utmost And study of revenge, immortal hate, pole.

And courage never to submit or yield, Oh how unlike the place from whence they And what is else not to be overcome; fell!

75 That glory never shall his wrath or might There the companions of his fall, o'er- Extort from me. To bow and sue for whelmed

grace With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous with suppliant knee, and deify his power fire,

Who, from the terror of this arm, so late He soon discerns; and weltering by his Doubted his empire?—that were low inside

deed; One next himself in power, and next in That were an ignominy and shame becrime,


115 Long after known in Palestine, and named This downfall; since by fate the strength of Beëlzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy, 81 gods And thence in Heaven called Satan, with And this empyreal substance cannot fail; bold words

Since, through experience of this great Breaking the horrid silence, thus began:- event, "If thou beest hebut oh how fallen! In arms not worse, in foresight much adhow changed

vanced, From him who, in the happy realms of We may with more successful hope relight,

85 solve Clothed with transcendent brightness, To wage by force or guile eternal war,. didst outshine

Irreconcilable to our grand Foe, Myriads, though bright !-if he, whom Who now triumphs, and in the excess of mutual league,

joy United thoughts and counsels, equal hope Sole reigning holds the tyranny of And hazard in the glorious enterprise, Heaven. Joined with me once, now misery hath So spake the apostate Angel, though in joined


125 In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep deFrom what highth fallen, so much the spair; stronger proved

And him thus answered soon his bold comHe with his thunder: and till then who

peer: knew

1 sovereignty.

I 20




“O Prince! O Chief of many thronèd Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb powers

His inmost counsels from their destined That led the embattled Seraphim to war aim. Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful But see! the angry Victor hath recalled deeds


His ministers of vengeance and pursuit 170 Fearless, endangered Heaven's perpetual Back to the gates of Heaven; the sulKing,

phurous hail, And put to proof his high supremacy, Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or laid fate!

The fiery surge that from the precipice Too well I see and rue the dire event Of Heaven received us falling; and the That with sad overthrow and foul de- thunder, feat

135 Winged with red lightning and impetuous Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty rage,

175 host

Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as gods and heavenly essences To bellow through the vast and boundless Can perish: for the mind and spirit re- Deep. mains

Let us not slip the occasion, whether scorn Invincible, and vigor soon returns, 140 Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe. Though all our glory extinct, and happy Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and state


180 Here swallowed up in endless misery. The seat of desolation, void of light, But what if he our Conqueror (whom I Save what the glimmering of these livid

flames Of force believe almighty, since no less Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us Than such could have o'erpowered such tend force as ours)

From off the tossing of these fiery waves; Have left us this our spirit and strength There rest, if any rest can harbor there; 185 entire,

And, reassembling our afflicted powers, Strongly to suffer and support our pains, Consult how we may henceforth most ofThat we may so suffice' his vengeful ire, fend Or do him mightier service as his thralls Our Enemy, our own loss how repair, By right of war, whate'er his business How overcome this dire calamity, be,


What reinforcement we may gain from Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire, hope, Or do his errands in the gloomy Deep? If not what resolution from despair." What can it then avail, though yet we feel Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate, Strength undiminished, or eternal being With head uplift above the wave, and eyes To undergo eternal punishment?” 155 That sparkling blazed; his other parts beWhereto with speedy words the Arch- sides, Fiend replied:

Prone on the flood, extended long and “Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable,

large, Doing or suffering: but of this be sure- Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge To do aught good never will be our task, As whom4 the fables name of monstrous But ever to do ill our sole delight, 160 size, As being the contrary to his high will Titanian, or Earth-born, that warred on Whom we resist. If then his providence Jove, Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, Briareos or Typhon, whom the den Our labor must be to pervert that end, By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast And out of good still to find means of evil; Leviathan, which God of all his works 201 Which ofttimes may succeed so as per- | Created hugest that swim the oceanhaps


stream. 1 command. 9 satisfy.




those whom

3 let slip

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