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Week 12 Instructions

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Paradise Lost

Starts on page 774, Volume C.

Choose one of the following for your reading response:

  1. Write about Satan as a character: find passages that seem best to define his nature in the poem.
  2. Find one or two passages in the work that seem to crystallize the overall meaning or value of Milton's Paradise Lost for you; or, that seem especially interesting for the imagery, wisdom, rhetorical power, or other memorable quality. Quote and defend your choice in a few sentences.
  3. Browse one or more critical works in the library databases. Quote one passage from the critical work, and in a few sentences tell us why it is helpful in appreciating the primary work.

REMEMBER to write beyond the minimum required length of 1 page, not including any quotations you use from the primary works or from secondary, critical sources. Also, REMEMBER not to plagiarize, and CITE any sources you happen to use.

In Paradisum Amissam Summi Poetæ

JOHANNIS MILTONI

Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis?

Res cunctas, & cunctarum primordia rerum, Et fata, & fines continet iste liber.

Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi, Scribitur & toto quicquid in Orbe latet.

Terræque, tractusque maris, cœlumque profundum Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivomumque specus.

Quæque colunt terras, Portumque & Tartara cæca, Quæque colunt summi lucida regna Poli.

Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam, Et sine fine Chaos, & sine fine Deus:

Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine, In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.

Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum? Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.

O quantos in bella Duces! quæ protulit arma! Quæ canit, & quanta prælia dira tuba.

Cœlestes acies! atque in certamine Cœlum! Et quæ Cœlestes pugna deceret agros!

Quantus in ætheriis tollit se Lucifer armis! Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor!

Quantis, & quam funestis concurritur iris Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit!

Dum vulsos Montes ceu Tela reciproca torquent, Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:

Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus, Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ.

At simul in cœlis Messiæ insignia fulgent, Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,

Horrendumque rotæ strident, & sæva rotarum Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,

Et flammæ vibrant, & vera tonitrua rauco Admistis flammis insonuere Polo:

Excidit attonitis mens omnis, & impetus omnis Et cassis dextris irrita Tela cadunt.

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Ad pœnas fugiunt, & ceu foret Orcus asylum Infernis certant condere se tenebris.

Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus.

Hæc quicunque leget tantum cecinesse putabit Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.

S.B. M.D.

On the Paradise Lost of the most excellent poet, John Milton

You who read Paradise Lost, the sublime poem of the great Milton, what do you read but the story of all things. That book contains all things and the origin of all things, and their destinies and final ends. The innermost recesses of the great universe are thrown open, and whatever lies hidden in all the world is described: the land and the expanse of the sea and the vast height of heaven and the sulphurous, flame- vomiting den of Erebus; all that dwell on earth and in the sea and in dark Tartarus, and all that dwell in the bright realms of the highest heaven; whatever is contained anywhere within any boundaries, as well as boundless Chaos and the infinite God, and even more limitless, if there is anything more without limit, the reconciling love toward mankind in Christ. Who that had hoped for such a poem could have believed it would come to be? And yet today the land of Britain reads this poem. O what leaders in war? what deeds of arms? What dreadful battles does he sing on the war-trumpet? Celestial battles and Heaven itself at war! And fighting that is fitting for the fields of Heaven! How great Lucifer rises up in his celestial armor! And strides forth scarce inferior to Michael himself ! With what great and deadly anger is the battle joined, when one fiercely defends and the other assaults the stars! While they fling the uprooted mountains at each other as missiles and rain down inhuman fire from above, Olympus waits, doubtful as to which side it must yield, and fears that it may not survive its own battles. But soon as the standards of Messiah shine forth in the heavens and his living chariot and arms worthy of God, and soon as the wheels grate horribly and the fierce lightnings of the wheels burst forth from the grim eyes, and the flames flash and real thunder with intermixed fires resounds through the clangorous sky, all courage and all fighting depart from his awestruck foes and their

6 In Paradisum Amissam Summi Poetæ

42. Homer (Maeonides) was wrongly thought to have written the Batrachomyomachia (“Battle of the Frogs and Mice”); Virgil wrote a comic poem, Culex (“Gnat”).

S.B. is Samuel Barrow, an eminent London physician and friend of Milton. He had been chief physician to Monk’s army in Scotland and one of his confidential advisers; he then became physician in ordinary to Charles II. The poem appeared first in the 1674 edition.

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In Paradisum Amissam Summi Poetæ 7

useless weapons fall from their feeble hands. They flee to their punishments and, as if Orcus were a refuge, they struggle to hide themselves in infernal darkness. Yield, writers of Rome, yield, writers of Greece and all those whom ancient or modern fame has celebrated. Whoever will read this poem will think Homer sang only of frogs, Virgil only of gnats.

On Paradise Lost

When I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold, In slender Book his vast Design unfold, Messiah Crown’d, Gods Reconcil’d Decree, Rebelling Angels, the Forbidden Tree, Heav’n, Hell, Earth, Chaos, All; the Argument Held me a while misdoubting his Intent, That he would ruine (for I saw him strong) The sacred Truths to Fable and old Song (So Sampson groap’d the Temples Posts in spight) The World o’rewhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, soon growing less severe, I lik’d his Project, the success did fear; Through that wide Field how he his way should find O’re which lame Faith leads Understanding blind; Lest he perplex’d the things he would explain, And what was easie he should render vain.

Or if a Work so infinite he spann’d Jealous I was that some less skilful hand (Such as disquiet always what is well, And by ill imitating would excell) Might hence presume the whole Creations day To change in Scenes, and show it in a Play.

Pardon me, Mighty Poet, nor despise My causeless, yet not impious, surmise. But I am now convinc’d, and none will dare Within thy Labours to pretend a share. Thou hast not miss’d one thought that could be fit, And all that was improper dost omit: So that no room is here for Writers left, But to detect their Ignorance or Theft.

That Majesty which through thy Work doth Reign Draws the Devout, deterring the Profane. And things divine thou treatst of in such state As them preserves, and thee, inviolate. At once delight and horrour on us seise, Thou singst with so much gravity and ease;

18–22. The reference is to Dryden, who sought and received Milton’s permission to turn Paradise Lost into an opera/play, in rhymed couplets. It was published in 1677 as The State of Innocence, but never performed.

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On Paradise Lost 9

And above humane flight dost soar aloft With Plume so strong, so equal, and so soft. The Bird nam’d from that Paradise you sing So never flaggs, but always keeps on Wing.

Where couldst thou words of such a compass find? Whence furnish such a vast expence of mind? Just Heav’n thee like Tiresias to requite Rewards with Prophesie thy loss of sight.

Well mightst thou scorn thy Readers to allure With tinkling Rhime, of thy own sense secure; While the Town-Bayes writes all the while and spells, And like a Pack-horse tires without his Bells: Their Fancies like our Bushy-points appear, The Poets tag them, we for fashion wear. I too transported by the Mode offend, And while I meant to Praise thee must Commend. Thy Verse created like thy Theme sublime, In Number, Weight, and Measure, needs not Rhime.

A.M.

39–40. Birds of Paradise were popularly believed to have no feet, and therefore to be always in flight. 43 Tiresias. Blind Theban seer prominent in the mythical history of Greece. 47–50. Marvell satirizes the fashion for rhyme which Dryden advanced through his own poems and plays

and vigorously defended in his essay Of Dramatick Poesie (1667). 47. In Buckingham’s play The Rehearsal, Dryden was satirized as “Bayes,” referring to his ambition to wear

the laurel crown (from the bay/laurel tree) of the designated Poet Laureate. 49 Bushy-points. The tassels on hose fastenings “tagged” with bits of metal at the ends. Marvell compares

the constraints of rhyme to that foppish fashion, as Milton himself did when he gave Dryden permission to “Tagg my Points.”

A.M. is Milton’s friend, the poet Andrew Marvell, who served with him for a time in the Office of the Secretary for Foreign Tongues under Oliver Cromwell, and who was reportedly instrumental after the Restoration in helping Milton gain pardon for supporting the regicide and republic. This poem appeared first in the 1674 edition and again in the posthumous collected edition of Marvell’s poems, Miscellaneous Poems, 1681.

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THE VERSE

The Measure is English Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and Virgil in Latin; Rime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter; grac’t indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets, carried away by Custom, but much to thir own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse then else they would have exprest them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian, and Spanish Poets of prime note have rejected Rime both in longer and shorter Works, as have also long since our best English Tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, triveal and of no true musical delight; which consists onely in apt Numbers, fit quantity of Syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one Verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoyded by the learned Ancients both in Poetry and all good Oratory. This neglect then of Rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar Readers, that it rather is to be esteem’d an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recover’d to Heroic Poem from the troublesom and modern bondage of Rimeing.

In the 1668 and 1669 reissues of the 1667 edition, Samuel Simmons explained in a brief address, “The Printer to the Reader,” that he had elicited from Milton the arguments to the several books and this note on the verse: “Courteous Reader, there was no Argument at first intended to the Book, but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have procur’d it, and withall a reason of that which stumbled many others, why the Poem Rimes not.”

3 barbarous Age. The Middle Ages, following the fall of Rome and the demise of classical culture. 4–5 famous modern Poets. Ariosto, Tasso, and Spenser used rhymed stanzas in their heroic poems. 8. Spanish poetry is usually rhymed, but unrhymed verse was used by Joan Boscà Almugaver in Leandro (1543)

and by Garcilaso de la Vega. Among Italian examples, Milton probably knew Torquato Tasso’s hexam- eron, Il Mondo Creato (written 1592–4).

9 best English Tragedies. Shakespeare chiefly, but also Marlowe. 10 apt Numbers. Appropriate rhythm. 11 quantity. Alludes to Greek and Latin quantitative meter, which Milton does not imitate; his direct ref-

erence is probably to the number of syllables in the poetic line, e.g., ten (usually) for his own iambic pentameter lines.

15–16. The charged language – “ancient liberty,” “modern bondage” – associates the Restoration aesthetic norm of rhymed verse with Stuart political tyranny and aligns classical and Elizabethan unrhymed poetry, and Milton’s own blank verse, with republican liberty.

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BOOK 1 THE ARGUMENT

This first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole Subject, Mans disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac’t: 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 past over, the Poem hasts into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, describ’d here, not in the Center ( for Heaven and Earth may be suppos’d as yet not made, certainly not yet accurst) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest call’d Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-struck and astonisht, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in Order and Dignity lay by him; they confer of thir miserable fall. Satan awakens all his Legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; They rise, thir Numbers, array of Battel, thir chief Leaders nam’d, according to the Idols known afterwards in Canaan and the Countries adjoyning. To these Satan directs his Speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new World and new kind of Creature to be created, according to an ancient Prophesie or report in Heaven; for that Angels were long before this visible Creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this Prophesie, and what to determin thereon he refers to a full Councel. What his Associates thence attempt. Pandemonium the Palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: The infernal Peers there sit in Councel.

Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast 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 Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

5–6. According to Horace, the epic poet should begin in medias res. 7. Center. Hell was not, as some thought, in the center of the earth. 17. Fathers. Church Fathers writing in the early Christian centuries, e.g., Jerome, Origen, Basil, Chrysostom,

Gregory of Nazianzen. See Milton’s Christian Doctrine, 1.7.

1–26. The first Proem contains the epic statement of theme (1–5) and the invocation. 4. Christ, the second Adam. 6. See 7.1 and note. Urania, the Greek Muse of astronomy, had been made into the Muse of Christian

poetry by Du Bartas and other religious poets. Here she is identified as the Muse that inspired biblical prophet-poets.

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That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed, In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill Delight thee more, and Siloa’s Brook that flow’d Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song, That with no middle flight intends to soar Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime. 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 satst brooding on the vast Abyss And mad’st it pregnant: What in me is dark Illumin, what is low raise and support; That to the highth of this great Argument° subject I may assert Eternal Providence, And justifie° the wayes of God to men. show the justice of

Say first, for Heav’n hides nothing from thy view Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause Mov’d our Grand Parents in that happy State, Favour’d of Heav’n so highly, to fall off From thir Creator, and transgress his Will For° one restraint, Lords of the World besides? because of

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8. Moses, thought to be the author of Genesis and the other four books of the Pentateuch, was tending sheep on Mount Horeb (“Oreb”) when God spoke to him from a burning bush (Exod. 3:1–2); he received the Law on the highest peak, “Sinai.” chosen Seed. The Jews.

9–10 In the Beginning. Echoes Gen. 1:1; Milton thought God created the universe out of unformed matter (“Chaos”), not out of nothing. Sion Hill. Mount Zion, associated with the biblical poet David (reputed author of many psalms); also the site of Solomon’s Temple with its songs and ceremonies.

11–12 Siloa’s Brook. Siloah, a pool near Mount Zion (Neh. 3:15); it parallels Aganippe, the Muses’ spring. Also Siloam, the pool where Jesus cured a blind man ( John 9:1–11). Oracle. Mount Zion as site of Divine teaching and prophecy (Isa. 2:3).

15 Aonian Mount. Mount Helicon, home of the classical Muses. 16. The line translates Ariosto, Orlando Furioso 1.2.2: “Cosa non detta in prosa mai, né in rima.” 17 Spirit. Probably the creative power of God (see Milton’s commentary on Gen. 1:2 in Christian Doctrine,

1.7), but possibly the Holy Spirit, understood in antitrinitarian terms (ch. 6). 17–22. A composite of biblical phrases (e.g., Gen. 1:2, 1 Cor. 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, and John 1:32).

Milton’s brooding image comes from the Hebrew, accurately translated in the Tremellius Latin Bible (“incubabat”).

27. An opening question like this is an epic convention. Compare Aeneid 1.8, “Musa, mihi causas memora” (“Tell me the cause, O Muse”).

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Who first seduc’d them to that foul revolt? Th’ infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv’d The Mother of Mankind, what time° his Pride when Had cast him out from Heav’n, with all his Host° army Of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring To set himself in Glory above his Peers,° equals, nobles He trusted to have equal’d the most High, If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim Against the Throne and Monarchy of God Rais’d impious War in Heav’n and Battel proud With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power Hurld headlong flaming from th’ Ethereal Skie With hideous ruine and combustion down To bottomless perdition, there to dwell In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire, Who durst defie th’ Omnipotent to Arms. Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night To mortal men, he with his horrid crew Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe Confounded though immortal: But his doom Reserv’d him to more wrath; for now the thought Both of lost happiness and lasting pain Torments him; round he throws his baleful° eyes malignant That witness’d huge affliction and dismay Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate: At once as far as Angels kenn° he views range of sight The dismal Situation waste and wilde, A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round As one great Furnace flam’d, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Serv’d onely to discover sights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace And rest can never dwell, hope never comes

33. Compare Iliad 1.8, asking who first sowed discord among the Greeks. 34. See Rev. 12:9: “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan.” The description of Satan’s fall (42–9) echoes

Isa. 14:12–15, Luke 10:18, and Jude 6. 48. Adamant was a mythical substance of great hardness. 50. Alludes to the analogous fall of the defeated Titans in Greek myth (Hesiod, Theogony 664–735), who fell

nine days from heaven to earth and nine more into Tartarus. 66. The phrase alludes to the inscription over Dante’s Hell, “All hope abandon, you who enter here” (Inferno

3.9) and to Euripides, Troades 681, “to me even hope, that remains to all mortals, never comes.”

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That comes to all; but torture without end Still urges,° and a fiery Deluge, fed always provokes With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum’d: Such place Eternal Justice had prepar’d For those rebellious, here thir Prison ordain’d In utter darkness, and thir portion set As far remov’d from God and light of Heav’n As from the Center thrice to th’ utmost Pole. O how unlike the place from whence they fell! There the companions of his fall, o’rewhelm’d With Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, He soon discerns, and weltring° by his side rolling in the waves One next himself in power, and next in crime, Long after known in Palestine, and nam’d Beelzebub. To whom th’ Arch-Enemy, And thence in Heav’n call’d Satan, with bold words Breaking the horrid silence thus began.

If thou beest he; But O how fall’n! how chang’d From him, who in the happy Realms of Light Cloth’d with transcendent brightness didst out-shine Myriads though bright: If he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the Glorious Enterprize, Joynd with me once, now misery hath joynd In equal ruin: into what Pit thou seest From what highth fall’n, so much the stronger prov’d 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 chang’d in outward lustre, that fixt mind And high disdain, from sence of injur’d merit, That with the mightiest rais’d me to contend, And to the fierce contention brought along

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74. Milton here describes the distance from Heaven to Hell as three times the distance from the center (earth) to the outermost sphere. Cf. other descriptions of the universe at 2.1051–3 and 8.66–170.

81. The Phoenician sun god Baal (the name in Hebrew means “Lord of the Flies”); in Matt. 12:24 he is called “the prince of the devils.” Like Satan (whose name in Hebrew means “Adversary”) and the other fallen angels, he is now known by the name he will bear in Hell and as a pagan deity.

84–5. Satan’s opening words recall Aeneas’ vision of the ghost of Hector on the night of Troy’s fall, “so changed from the living Hector” (Aeneid 2.274–5).

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Book 1 15

Innumerable force of Spirits arm’d That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring, His utmost power with adverse power oppos’d In dubious° Battel on the Plains of Heav’n, of uncertain outcome 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 deifie his power, Who from the terrour of this Arm so late Doubted° his Empire, that were low indeed, feared for That were an ignominy and shame beneath This downfall; since by Fate the strength of Gods And this Empyreal substance cannot fail,° cease to exist Since through experience of this great event In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc’t, We may with more successful hope resolve To wage by force or guile eternal Warr Irreconcileable, to our grand Foe, Who now triumphs, and in th’ excess of joy Sole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav’n.

So spake th’ Apostate Angel, though in pain, Vaunting aloud, but rackt with deep despare: And him thus answer’d soon his bold Compeer.° comrade

O Prince, O Chief of many Throned Powers That led th’ imbattelld Seraphim to Warr Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds Fearless, endanger’d Heav’ns 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,° outcome That with sad overthrow and foul defeat Hath lost us Heav’n, and all this mighty Host

105. Cf. 6.833–4. 116–17 Gods. Usually angels (cf. 3.341), whose substance is “empyreal” (fiery, the substance of the highest

heaven). But Satan sometimes uses “Gods” to imply a pagan pantheon (cf. 5.70–81, 9.718–30). 128–9. According to tradition there were nine orders of angels arranged hierarchically: Seraphim, Cherubim,

Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. The poem uses some of these titles, but does not keep the hierarchy.

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In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as Gods and Heav’nly Essences Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains Invincible, and vigour soon returns, Though all our Glory extinct, and happy state Here swallow’d up in endless misery. But what if he our Conquerour, (whom I now Of force° believe Almighty, since no less necessarily Then such could hav orepow’rd such force as ours) Have left us this our spirit and strength intire Strongly to suffer and support our pains, That we may so suffice° his vengeful ire, satisfy Or do him mightier service as his thralls° slaves By right of Warr, what e’re his business be Here in the heart of Hell to work in Fire, Or do his Errands in the gloomy Deep; What can it then avail though yet we feel Strength undiminisht, or eternal being To undergo eternal punishment? Whereto with speedy words th’ Arch-fiend reply’d.

Fall’n Cherube, to be weak is miserable Doing or Suffering: but of this be sure, To do ought 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 oft times may succeed, so as perhaps Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb His inmost counsels from thir destind aim. But see the angry Victor hath recall’d His Ministers of vengeance and pursuit Back to the Gates of Heav’n: The Sulphurous Hail Shot after us in storm, oreblown° hath laid calmed The fiery Surge, that from the Precipice Of Heav’n receiv’d us falling, and the Thunder, Wing’d 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, miss

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Book 1 17

Or satiate° fury yield it from our Foe. satisfied Seest thou yon dreary Plain, forlorn and wilde, The seat of desolation, voyd of light, Save what the glimmering of these livid° flames bluish 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 reassembling our afflicted Powers, Consult how we may henceforth most offend° vex, harm Our Enemy, our own loss how repair, How overcome this dire Calamity, What reinforcement we may gain from Hope, If not what resolution from despare.

Thus Satan talking to his neerest Mate With Head up-lift above the wave, and Eyes That sparkling blaz’d, 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 warr’d 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° slumbring on the Norway foam perhaps The Pilot of some small night-founder’d° Skiff, benighted Deeming some Island, oft, as Sea-men tell, With fixed Anchor in his skaly rind Moors by his side under the Lee,° while Night out of the wind Invests° the Sea, and wished Morn delayes: covers So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay Chain’d on the burning Lake, nor ever thence

183–91. Five of these lines rhyme. 196 rood. An old unit of linear measure (6–8 yards), or the fourth part of an acre. 198–9. Both the Titans (led by “Briareos,” said to have a hundred hands) and the Giants, represented by “Typhon”

(who lived near Tarsus and was said to have a hundred serpent heads) made war on Jove. They were cast into the underworld in punishment (Hesiod, Theogony 713–16, 820–85). Christian mythographers (and Milton) often interpreted myths as analogues to the story of Satan’s rebellion and fall.

200–1. The whale, often identified with the great sea-monster and enemy of the Lord in Isa. 27:1, and the crocodile-like dragon of Job 41:1–34, who is “king over all the children of pride.” Both were commonly identified with Satan.

203–8. The story of the deceived sailor and the illusory island was a commonplace (see, e.g., Orlando Furioso 6.37–41) often applied to Satan.

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Had ris’n or heav’d 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 enrag’d might see How all his malice serv’d but to bring forth Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shewn On Man by him seduc’t, but on himself Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour’d. Forthwith upright he rears from off the Pool His mighty Stature; on each hand the flames Drivn backward slope thir pointing spires,° and rowld points of flame In billows, leave i’th’ …