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Against the charm of beauty's powerful glance.
Or nature fail'd in me, and left some part
Not proof enough such object to sustain;
Or from my side subducting took perhaps
More than enough; at least on her bestow'd
Too much of ornament, in outward show
Elaborate, of inward less exact.
For well I understand, in the prime end
Of nature, her the inferior, in the mind
And inward faculties, which most excel;
In outward also her resembling less
His image who made both, and less expressing
The character of that dominion given
O'er other creatures: yet, when I approach
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems
And in herself complete, so well to know
Her own, that what she wills to do or say
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best
All higher knowledge in her presence falls
Degraded; wisdom in discourse with her
Loses discountenanced, and like folly shows:
Authority and reason on her wait,
As one intended first, not after made
Occasionally; and, to consummate all,
Greatness of mind and nobleness their seat
Build in her loveliest, and create an awe
About her, as a guard angelic placed.

To whom the angel, with contracted brow:
Accuse not Nature; she hath done her part,
Do thou but thine, and be not diffident
Of wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou
Dismiss not her, when most thou needst her nigh,
By attributing overmuch to things
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceivest.
For what admirest thou, what transports thee so?
An outside? fair, no doubt, and worthy well
Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love,
Not thy subjection: weigh with her thyself;
Then value: ofttimes nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well managed; of that skill, the more thou knowest,
The more she will acknowledge thee her head
And to realities yield all her shows;
Made so adorn for thy delight the more,
So awful, that with honour thou mayest love
Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise.
But if the sense of touch, whereby mankin''
Is propagated, seem such dear delight
Beyond all other, think the same vouchsafed
To cattle and each beast; which would not be
To them made common and divulged, if aught
Therein enjoy'd were worthy to subdue

The soul of man, or passion in him move.
What higher in her society thou findst
Attractive, human, rational, love still;
In loving thou dost well, in passion not,
Wherein true love consists not. Love refines
The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his scat
In reason, and is judicious; is the scale
By which to heavenly love thou mayest ascend,
Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.

To whom thus half abash'd Adam replied:
Neither her outside form'd so fair, nor aught
In procreation common to all kinds,
Though higher of the genial bed by far,
And with mysterious reverence I deem,
So much delights me, as those graceful acts,
Those thousand decencies that daily flow
From all her words and actions, mix'd with love
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign'd
Union of mind, or in us both one soul;
Harmony to behold in wedded pair
More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear.
Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foil'd,
Who meet with various objects, from the sense
Variously representing; yet still free
Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
To love thou blamest me not, for love, thou sayest,
Leads up to heaven, is both the way and guide;
Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask:
Love not the heavenly spirits, and how their love
Express they, by looks only, or do they mix
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?

To whom the angel, with a smile that glow'd Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue, Answer'd: Let it suffice thee that thou knowest Us happy, and without love no happiness. Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy'st, And pure thou wert created, we enjoy In eminence, and obstacle find none Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars Easier than air with air, if spirits embrace, Total they mix, union of pure with pure Desiring; nor restrain'd conveyance need As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul. But I can now no more; the parting sun, Beyond the earth's green cape and verdant isles Hesperian, sets, my signal to depart. 'Be strong, live happy, and love, but, first of all, Him whom to love is to obey, and keepHis great command; take heed lest passion sway Thy judgment to do aught, which else free-will

Would not admit; thine, and of all thy sons,
The weal or woe in thee is placed; beware.
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,
And all the blest: stand fast; to stand or fall
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 sovereign 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.

BOOK IX.
THE ARGUMENT.

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, loth to be thought not circumspect or Arm 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 awhile 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 used
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblamed. 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 pursued,

Thrice fugitive, about Troy wall; or rage

Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused,

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 unimplored,

And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires

Easy my unpremeditated verse:

Since first this subject for heroic song

Pleased 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 havoc 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 marshall'd feast

Served up in hall with sewers and seneschals;

The skill of artifice or office mean,

Not that which justly gives heroic name

To 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 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 improved 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, descried His entrance, and forewarn'd the cherubim That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven,

The space of seven continued nights he rode
With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line
He circled, four times cross'd the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
On the 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 involved in rising mist; then sought
Where to lie hid; sea he had search'd and land
From Eden over Pontus, and the pool
Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctic; and in length
West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd
At Darien; thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus; thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search; and with inspection deep
Consider'd every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him after long debate, irresolute,
Of thoughts revolved, his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp.of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight; for in the wily snake
Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding, which in other beasts observed
Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Active within, beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolved, but first, from inward grief,
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd:
O earth, how like to heaven, 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 heaven, danced round by other heavens
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems,
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence. As God in heaven
Is centre, yet extends to all, so thou
Centring receivest from all those orbs: in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in man.
With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,

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