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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
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,
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
Either man's work or his own gifts. TO THE LORD GENERAL CROM
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best."
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
ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIED
Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints,
whose bones Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains
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
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.
TO CYRIACK SKINNER
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,
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 rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring
If he opposed; and, with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God, That shepherd who first taught the chosen Raised impious war in Heaven, and battle seed
Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
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
Torments him; round he throws his bale-
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,
3 because of.
At once, as far as Angel's ken, he views The force of those dire arms? Yet not for
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
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?
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
“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,
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.
3 let slip