John Milton – Paradise Lost, Book 1

PYONG!
1

You pyonged “John Milton – Paradise Lost, Book 1”

Save Note No Thanks
Follow
Caution: You are now annotating this song as

Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos:
or, if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the height of this great argument
I may assert Eternal Providence
And justify the ways of God to men
Say first--for Heaven hides nothing from thy view
Nor the deep tract of Hell--say first what cause
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state
Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the World besides
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers
He trusted to have equalled the Most High
If he opposed, and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurled headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms
Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew
Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf
Confounded, though immortal. But his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him: round he throws his baleful eyes
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all
, but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed
Such place Eternal Justice has prepared
For those rebellious; here their prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of Heaven
As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole
Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell!
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire
He soon discerns; and, weltering by his side
One next himself in power, and next in crime
Long after known in Palestine, and named
Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch-Enemy
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began:--
"If thou beest he--but O how fallen! how changed
From him who, in the happy realms of light
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads, though bright!--if he whom mutual league
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined
In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest
From what height fallen: so much the stronger proved
He with his thunder; and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms?
Yet not for those
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent, or change
Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind
And high disdain from sense of injured merit
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend
And to the fierce contentions brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits armed
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring
His utmost power with adverse power opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
All is not lost--the unconquerable will
And study of revenge, immortal hate
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power
Who, from the terror of this arm, so late
Doubted his empire
--that were low indeed;
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of Gods
And this empyreal sybstance, cannot fail;
Since, through experience of this great event
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven."
So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair;
And him thus answered soon his bold compeer:--
"O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers
That led th' embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endangered Heaven's perpetual King
And put to proof his high supremacy
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate
Too well I see and rue the dire event
That, with sad overthrow and foul defeat
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low
As far as Gods and heavenly Essences
Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallowed up in endless misery
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less
Than such could have o'erpowered such force as ours)
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire
Strongly to suffer and support our pains
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his business be
Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire
Or do his errands in the gloomy Deep?
What can it the avail though yet we feel
Strength undiminished, or eternal being
To undergo eternal punishment?"
Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-Fiend replied:--
"Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure--
To do aught good never will be our task
But ever to do ill our sole delight
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good
Our labour must be to pervert that end
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim
But see! the angry Victor hath recalled
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery surge that from the precipice
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep
Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn
Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild
The seat of desolation, void of light
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
And, re-assembling our afflicted powers
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair
How overcome this dire calamity
What reinforcement we may gain from hope
If not, what resolution from despair."
Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size
Titanian or Earth-born, that warred on Jove
Briareos or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th' ocean-stream
Him, haply slumbering on the Norway foam
The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff
Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays
So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay
Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence
Had risen, or heaved his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
Evil to others, and enraged might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shewn
On Man by him seduced, but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames
Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and,rolled
In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid vale
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights--if it were land that ever burned
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire
And such appeared in hue as when the force
Of subterranean wind transprots a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side
Of thundering Etna, whose combustible
And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds
And leave a singed bottom all involved
With stench and smoke. Such resting found the sole
Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate;
Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood
As gods, and by their own recovered strength
Not by the sufferance of supernal Power
"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,"
Said then the lost Archangel, "this the seat
That we must change for Heaven?--this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
Who now is sovereign can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields
Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail
Infernal world! and thou, profoundest Hell
Receive thy new possessor--one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven
What matter where, if I be still the same
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reigh secure; and, in my choice
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends
Th' associates and co-partners of our loss
Lie thus astonished on th' oblivious pool
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion, or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?"
So Satan spake; and him Beelzebub
Thus answered:--"Leader of those armies bright
Which, but th' Omnipotent, none could have foiled!
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers--heard so oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battle, when it raged, in all assaults
Their surest signal--they will soon resume
New courage and revive, though now they lie
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire
As we erewhile, astounded and amazed;
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height!"
He scare had ceased when the superior Fiend
Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round
Behind him cast. The broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening, from the top of Fesole
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe
His spear--to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand--
He walked with, to support uneasy steps
Over the burning marl, not like those steps
On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire
Nathless he so endured, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called
His legions--Angel Forms, who lay entranced
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases
And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood
Under amazement of their hideous change
He called so loud that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded:--"Princes, Potentates
Warriors, the Flower of Heaven--once yours; now lost
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern
Th' advantage, and, descending, tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf?
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!"
They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung
Upon the wing, as when men won't to watch
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;
Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed
Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day
Waved round the coast, up-called a pitchy cloud
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like Night, and darkened all the land of Nile;
So numberless were those bad Angels seen
Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires;
Till, as a signal given, th' uplifted spear
Of their great Sultan waving to direct
Their course, in even balance down they light
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain:
A multitude like which the populous North
Poured never from her frozen loins to pass
Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
Came like a deluge on the South, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands
Forthwith, form every squadron and each band
The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
Their great Commander--godlike Shapes, and Forms
Excelling human; princely Dignities;
And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones
Though on their names in Heavenly records now
Be no memorial, blotted out and rased
By their rebellion from the Books of Life
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the earth
Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man
By falsities and lies the greatest part
Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
God their Creator, and th' invisible
Glory of him that made them to transform
Oft to the image of a brute, adorned
With gay religions full of pomp and gold
And devils to adore for deities:
Then were they known to men by various names
And various idols through the heathen world
Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last
Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch
At their great Emperor's call, as next in worth
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof?
The chief were those who, from the pit of Hell
Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fix
Their seats, long after, next the seat of God
Their altars by his altar, gods adored
Among the nations round, and durst abide
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned
Between the Cherubim; yea, often placed
Within his sanctuary itself their shrines
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned
And with their darkness durst affront his light
First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears;
Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud
Their children's cries unheard that passed through fire
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
Worshiped in Rabba and her watery plain
In Argob and in Basan, to the stream
Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
Of Solomon he led by fraoud to build
His temple right against the temple of God
On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove
The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence
And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell
Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moab's sons
From Aroar to Nebo and the wild
Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
And Horonaim, Seon's real, beyond
The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines
And Eleale to th' Asphaltic Pool:
Peor his other name, when he enticed
Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile
To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe
Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged
Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove
Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate
Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell
With these came they who, from the bordering flood
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names
Of Baalim and Ashtaroth--those male
These feminine. For Spirits, when they please
Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
And uncompounded is their essence pure
Not tried or manacled with joint or limb
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones
Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure
Can execute their airy purposes
And works of love or enmity fulfil
For those the race of Israel oft forsook
Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down
To bestial gods; for which their heads as low
Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear
Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called
Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns;
To whose bright image nigntly by the moon
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs;
In Sion also not unsung, where stood
Her temple on th' offensive mountain, built
By that uxorious king whose heart, though large
Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell
To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
In amorous ditties all a summer's day
While smooth Adonis from his native rock
Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood
Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale
Infected Sion's daughters with like heat
Whose wanton passions in the sacred proch
Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led
His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
Of alienated Judah. Next came one
Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark
Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off
In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge
Where he fell flat and shamed his worshippers:
Dagon his name, sea-monster,upward man
And downward fish; yet had his temple high
Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast
Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds
Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seat
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks
Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams
He also against the house of God was bold:
A leper once he lost, and gained a king--
Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drew
God's altar to disparage and displace
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn
His odious offerings, and adore the gods
Whom he had vanquished. After these appeared
A crew who, under names of old renown--
Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train--
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused
Fanatic Egypt and her priests to seek
Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms
Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape
Th' infection, when their borrowed gold composed
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox--
Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed
From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods
Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
Vice for itself. To him no temple stood
Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he
In temples and at altars, when the priest
Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled
With lust and violence the house of God?
In courts and palaces he also reigns
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers
And injury and outrage; and, when night
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine
Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape
These were the prime in order and in might:
The rest were long to tell; though far renowned
Th' Ionian gods--of Javan's issue held
Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth
Their boasted parents;--Titan, Heaven's first-born
With his enormous brood, and birthright seized
By younger Saturn: he from mightier Jove
His own and Rhea's son, like measure found;
So Jove usurping reigned. These, first in Crete
And Ida known, thence on the snowy top
Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air
Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian cliff
Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds
Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old
Fled over Adria to th' Hesperian fields
And o'er the Celtic roamed the utmost Isles
All these and more came flocking; but with looks
Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appeared
Obscure some glimpse of joy to have found their Chief
Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost
In loss itself; which on his countenance cast
Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised
Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears
Then straight commands that, at the warlike sound
Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared
His mighty standard. That proud honour claimed
Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall:
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled
Th' imperial ensign; which, full high advanced
Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
At which the universal host up-sent
A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night
All in a moment through the gloom were seen
Ten thousand banners rise into the air
With orient colours waving: with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appeared, and serried shields in thick array
Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
Of flutes and soft recorders--such as raised
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle, and instead of rage
Deliberate valour breathed, firm, and unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they
Breathing united force with fixed thought
Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil. And now
Advanced in view they stand--a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief
Had to impose. He through the armed files
Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views--their order due
Their visages and stature as of gods;
Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and, hardening in his strength
Glories: for never, since created Man
Met such embodied force as, named with these
Could merit more than that small infantry
Warred on by cranes--though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were joined
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side
Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
In fable or romance of Uther's son
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptized or infidel
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed
Their dread Commander. He, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appeared
Less than Archangel ruined, and th' excess
Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams, or, from behind the moon
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone
Above them all th' Archangel: but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion, to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned
For ever now to have their lot in pain--
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced
Of Heaven, and from eteranl splendours flung
For his revolt--yet faithful how they stood
Their glory withered; as, when heaven's fire
Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines
With singed top their stately growth, though bare
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
With all his peers: attention held them mute
Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn
Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last
Words interwove with sighs found out their way:--
"O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers
Matchless, but with th' Almighth!--and that strife
Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire
As this place testifies, and this dire change
Hateful to utter. But what power of mind
Forseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have feared
How such united force of gods, how such
As stood like these, could ever know repulse?
For who can yet believe, though after loss
That all these puissant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend
Self-raised, and repossess their native seat?
For me, be witness all the host of Heaven
If counsels different, or danger shunned
By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns
Monarch in Heaven till then as one secure
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute
Consent or custom, and his regal state
Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed--
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own
So as not either to provoke, or dread
New war provoked: our better part remains
To work in close design, by fraud or guile
What force effected not; that he no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes
By force hath overcome but half his foe
Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rife
There went a fame in Heaven that he ere long
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
Our first eruption--thither, or elsewhere;
For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor th' Abyss
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired;
For who can think submission? War, then, war
Open or understood, must be resolved."
He spake; and, to confirm his words, outflew
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze
Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged
Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms
Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war
Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven
There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top
Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire
Shone with a glossy scurf--undoubted sign
That in his womb was hid metallic ore
The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed
A numerous brigade hastened: as when bands
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on--
Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell
From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold
Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed
In vision beatific. By him first
Men also, and by his suggestion taught
Ransacked the centre, and with impious hands
Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
Opened into the hill a spacious wound
And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire
That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those
Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame
And strength, and art, are easily outdone
By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour
What in an age they, with incessant toil
And hands innumerable, scarce perform
Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
With wondrous art founded the massy ore
Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross
A third as soon had formed within the ground
A various mould, and from the boiling cells
By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook;
As in an organ, from one blast of wind
To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet--
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven;
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon
Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine
Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile
Stood fixed her stately height, and straight the doors
Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide
Within, her ample spaces o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naptha and asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky. The hasty multitude
Admiring entered; and the work some praise
And some the architect. His hand was known
In Heaven by many a towered structure high
Where sceptred Angels held their residence
And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule
Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright
Nor was his name unheard or unadored
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell
From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve
A summer's day, and with the setting sun
Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star
On Lemnos, th' Aegaean isle.
Thus they relate
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor aught aviled him now
To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew, to build in Hell
Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command
Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called
From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice the worthiest: they anon
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came
Attended. All access was thronged; the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold
Won't ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair
Defied the best of Paynim chivalry
To mortal combat, or career with lance)
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank
The suburb of their straw-built citadel
New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer
Their state-affairs: so thick the airy crowd
Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given
Behold a wonder! They but now who seemed
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless--like that pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves
Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth
Wheels her pale course: they, on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds
Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms
Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large
Though without number still, amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within
And in their own dimensions like themselves
The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat
A thousand demi-gods on golden seats
Frequent and full. After short silence then
And summons read, the great consult began

Edit the description to add:

  • Historical context: the work's place in history, how it was received
  • A summary of the work's overall themes (example: "Here, Byron evokes the classic struggle between virtue and temptation...")
  • A description of the work's overall style and tone
This text has been changed by someone else. Copy your work to your clipboard and click here to reload.