[Skip Navigation]

Plagiarist Poetry Sites: Plagiarist.com | Poetry X | Poetry Discussion Forums | Open Poetry Project | Joycean.org
Enter our Poetry Contest
Win Cash and Publication!

Plagiarist.com Archive

Read more poems by John Milton: John Milton Poems at Poetry X.

More poems by John MiltonJohn Milton | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments | Books by John MiltonBooks by John Milton

Paradise Lost: Book 11

John Milton

Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn 
From his displeasure; in whose look serene, 
When angry most he seemed and most severe, 
What else but favour, grace, and mercy, shone? 
So spake our father penitent; nor Eve 
Felt less remorse: they, forthwith to the place 
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell 
Before him reverent; and both confessed 
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged; with tears 
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 
Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek. 
Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood 
Praying; for from the mercy-seat above 
Prevenient grace descending had removed 
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh 
Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breathed 
Unutterable; which the Spirit of prayer 
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight 
Than loudest oratory:  Yet their port 
Not of mean suitors; nor important less 
Seemed their petition, than when the ancient pair 
In fables old, less ancient yet than these, 
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore 
The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine 
Of Themis stood devout.  To Heaven their prayers 
Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds 
Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed 
Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then clad 
With incense, where the golden altar fumed, 
By their great intercessour, came in sight 
Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son 
Presenting, thus to intercede began. 
See$ Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung 
From thy implanted grace in Man; these sighs 
And prayers, which in this golden censer mixed 
With incense, I thy priest before thee bring; 
Fruits of more pleasing savour, from thy seed 
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those 
Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees 
Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen 
From innocence.  Now therefore, bend thine ear 
To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute; 
Unskilful with what words to pray, let me 
Interpret for him; me, his advocate 
And propitiation; all his works on me, 
Good, or not good, ingraft; my merit those 
Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay. 
Accept me; and, in me, from these receive 
The smell of peace toward mankind: let him live 
Before thee reconciled, at least his days 
Numbered, though sad; till death, his doom, (which I 
To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse,) 
To better life shall yield him: where with me 
All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss; 
Made one with me, as I with thee am one. 
To whom the Father, without cloud, serene. 
All thy request for Man, accepted Son, 
Obtain; all thy request was my decree: 
But, longer in that Paradise to dwell, 
The law I gave to Nature him forbids: 
Those pure immortal elements, that know, 
No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul, 
Eject him, tainted now; and purge him off, 
As a distemper, gross, to air as gross, 
And mortal food; as may dispose him best 
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first 
Distempered all things, and of incorrupt 
Corrupted.  I, at first, with two fair gifts 
Created him endowed; with happiness, 
And immortality: that fondly lost, 
This other served but to eternize woe; 
Till I provided death: so death becomes 
His final remedy; and, after life, 
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined 
By faith and faithful works, to second life, 
Waked in the renovation of the just, 
Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renewed. 
But let us call to synod all the Blest, 
Through Heaven's wide bounds: from them I will not hide 
My judgements; how with mankind I proceed, 
As how with peccant Angels late they saw, 
And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed. 
He ended, and the Son gave signal high 
To the bright minister that watched; he blew 
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps 
When God descended, and perhaps once more 
To sound at general doom.  The angelick blast 
Filled all the regions: from their blisful bowers 
Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring, 
By the waters of life, where'er they sat 
In fellowships of joy, the sons of light 
Hasted, resorting to the summons high; 
And took their seats; till from his throne supreme 
The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will. 
O Sons, like one of us Man is become 
To know both good and evil, since his taste 
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast 
His knowledge of good lost, and evil got; 
Happier! had it sufficed him to have known 
Good by itself, and evil not at all. 
He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite, 
My motions in him; longer than they move, 
His heart I know, how variable and vain, 
Self-left.  Lest therefore his now bolder hand 
Reach also of the tree of life, and eat, 
And live for ever, dream at least to live 
For ever, to remove him I decree, 
And send him from the garden forth to till 
The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil. 
Michael, this my behest have thou in charge; 
Take to thee from among the Cherubim 
Thy choice of flaming warriours, lest the Fiend, 
Or in behalf of Man, or to invade 
Vacant possession, some new trouble raise: 
Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God 
Without remorse drive out the sinful pair; 
From hallowed ground the unholy; and denounce 
To them, and to their progeny, from thence 
Perpetual banishment.  Yet, lest they faint 
At the sad sentence rigorously urged, 
(For I behold them softened, and with tears 
Bewailing their excess,) all terrour hide. 
If patiently thy bidding they obey, 
Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal 
To Adam what shall come in future days, 
As I shall thee enlighten; intermix 
My covenant in the Woman's seed renewed; 
So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace: 
And on the east side of the garden place, 
Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs, 
Cherubick watch; and of a sword the flame 
Wide-waving; all approach far off to fright, 
And guard all passage to the tree of life: 
Lest Paradise a receptacle prove 
To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey; 
With whose stolen fruit Man once more to delude. 
He ceased; and the arch-angelick Power prepared 
For swift descent; with him the cohort bright 
Of watchful Cherubim: four faces each 
Had, like a double Janus; all their shape 
Spangled with eyes more numerous than those 
Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drouse, 
Charmed with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed 
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod.  Mean while, 
To re-salute the world with sacred light, 
Leucothea waked; and with fresh dews imbalmed 
The earth; when Adam and first matron Eve 
Had ended now their orisons, and found 
Strength added from above; new hope to spring 
Out of despair; joy, but with fear yet linked; 
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed. 
Eve, easily my faith admit, that all 
The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends; 
But, that from us aught should ascend to Heaven 
So prevalent as to concern the mind 
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will, 
Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer 
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne 
Even to the seat of God.  For since I sought 
By prayer the offended Deity to appease; 
Kneeled, and before him humbled all my heart; 
Methought I saw him placable and mild, 
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew 
That I was heard with favour; peace returned 
Home to my breast, and to my memory 
His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe; 
Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now 
Assures me that the bitterness of death 
Is past, and we shall live.  Whence hail to thee, 
Eve rightly called, mother of all mankind, 
Mother of all things living, since by thee 
Man is to live; and all things live for Man. 
To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek. 
Ill-worthy I such title should belong 
To me transgressour; who, for thee ordained 
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach 
Rather belongs, distrust, and all dispraise: 
But infinite in pardon was my Judge, 
That I, who first brought death on all, am graced 
The source of life; next favourable thou, 
Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsaf'st, 
Far other name deserving.  But the field 
To labour calls us, now with sweat imposed, 
Though after sleepless night; for see!the morn, 
All unconcerned with our unrest, begins 
Her rosy progress smiling: let us forth; 
I never from thy side henceforth to stray, 
Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoined 
Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell, 
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks? 
Here let us live, though in fallen state, content. 
So spake, so wished much humbled Eve; but Fate 
Subscribed not:  Nature first gave signs, impressed 
On bird, beast, air; air suddenly eclipsed, 
After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight 
The bird of Jove, stooped from his aery tour, 
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove; 
Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods, 
First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace, 
Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind; 
Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight. 
Adam observed, and with his eye the chase 
Pursuing, not unmoved, to Eve thus spake. 
O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, 
Which Heaven, by these mute signs in Nature, shows 
Forerunners of his purpose; or to warn 
Us, haply too secure, of our discharge 
From penalty, because from death released 
Some days: how long, and what till then our life, 
Who knows? or more than this, that we are dust, 
And thither must return, and be no more? 
Why else this double object in our sight 
Of flight pursued in the air, and o'er the ground, 
One way the self-same hour? why in the east 
Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning-light 
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws 
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white, 
And slow descends with something heavenly fraught? 
He erred not; for by this the heavenly bands 
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now 
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt; 
A glorious apparition, had not doubt 
And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye. 
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met 
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw 
The field pavilioned with his guardians bright; 
Nor that, which on the flaming mount appeared 
In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire, 
Against the Syrian king, who to surprise 
One man, assassin-like, had levied war, 
War unproclaimed.  The princely Hierarch 
In their bright stand there left his Powers, to seise 
Possession of the garden; he alone, 
To find where Adam sheltered, took his way, 
Not unperceived of Adam; who to Eve, 
While the great visitant approached, thus spake. 
Eve$ now expect great tidings, which perhaps 
Of us will soon determine, or impose 
New laws to be observed; for I descry, 
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill, 
One of the heavenly host; and, by his gait, 
None of the meanest; some great Potentate 
Or of the Thrones above; such majesty 
Invests him coming! yet not terrible, 
That I should fear; nor sociably mild, 
As Raphael, that I should much confide; 
But solemn and sublime; whom not to offend, 
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire. 
He ended: and the Arch-Angel soon drew nigh, 
Not in his shape celestial, but as man 
Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms 
A military vest of purple flowed, 
Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain 
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old 
In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof; 
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime 
In manhood where youth ended; by his side, 
As in a glistering zodiack, hung the sword, 
Satan's dire dread; and in his hand the spear. 
Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state 
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared. 
Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs: 
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard; and Death, 
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress, 
Defeated of his seisure many days 
Given thee of grace; wherein thou mayest repent, 
And one bad act with many deeds well done 
Mayest cover:  Well may then thy Lord, appeased, 
Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim; 
But longer in this Paradise to dwell 
Permits not: to remove thee I am come, 
And send thee from the garden forth to till 
The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil. 
He added not; for Adam at the news 
Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood, 
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen 
Yet all had heard, with audible lament 
Discovered soon the place of her retire. 
O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death! 
Must I thus leave thee$ Paradise? thus leave 
Thee, native soil! these happy walks and shades, 
Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend, 
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day 
That must be mortal to us both.  O flowers, 
That never will in other climate grow, 
My early visitation, and my last 
 ;t even, which I bred up with tender hand 
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names! 
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank 
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount? 
Thee lastly, nuptial bower! by me adorned 
With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee 
How shall I part, and whither wander down 
Into a lower world; to this obscure 
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air 
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits? 
Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild. 
Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign 
What justly thou hast lost, nor set thy heart, 
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine: 
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes 
Thy husband; whom to follow thou art bound; 
Where he abides, think there thy native soil. 
Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp 
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned, 
To Michael thus his humble words addressed. 
Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named 
Of them the highest; for such of shape may seem 
Prince above princes! gently hast thou told 
Thy message, which might else in telling wound, 
And in performing end us; what besides 
Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair, 
Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring, 
Departure from this happy place, our sweet 
Recess, and only consolation left 
Familiar to our eyes! all places else 
Inhospitable appear, and desolate; 
Nor knowing us, nor known:  And, if by prayer 
Incessant I could hope to change the will 
Of Him who all things can, I would not cease 
To weary him with my assiduous cries: 
But prayer against his absolute decree 
No more avails than breath against the wind, 
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth: 
Therefore to his great bidding I submit. 
This most afflicts me, that, departing hence, 
As from his face I shall be hid, deprived 
His blessed countenance:  Here I could frequent 
With worship place by place where he vouchsafed 
Presence Divine; and to my sons relate, 
'On this mount he appeared; under this tree 
'Stood visible; among these pines his voice 
'I heard; here with him at this fountain talked: 
So many grateful altars I would rear 
Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone 
Of lustre from the brook, in memory, 
Or monument to ages; and theron 
Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers: 
In yonder nether world where shall I seek 
His bright appearances, or foot-step trace? 
For though I fled him angry, yet recalled 
To life prolonged and promised race, I now 
Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts 
Of glory; and far off his steps adore. 
To whom thus Michael with regard benign. 
Adam, thou knowest Heaven his, and all the Earth; 
Not this rock only; his Omnipresence fills 
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives, 
Fomented by his virtual power and warmed: 
All the earth he gave thee to possess and rule, 
No despicable gift; surmise not then 
His presence to these narrow bounds confined 
Of Paradise, or Eden: this had been 
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread 
All generations; and had hither come 
From all the ends of the earth, to celebrate 
And reverence thee, their great progenitor. 
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down 
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons: 
Yet doubt not but in valley, and in plain, 
God is, as here; and will be found alike 
Present; and of his presence many a sign 
Still following thee, still compassing thee round 
With goodness and paternal love, his face 
Express, and of his steps the track divine. 
Which that thou mayest believe, and be confirmed 
Ere thou from hence depart; know, I am sent 
To show thee what shall come in future days 
To thee, and to thy offspring: good with bad 
Expect to hear; supernal grace contending 
With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn 
True patience, and to temper joy with fear 
And pious sorrow; equally inured 
By moderation either state to bear, 
Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead 
Safest thy life, and best prepared endure 
Thy mortal passage when it comes.--Ascend 
This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes) 
Here sleep below; while thou to foresight wakest; 
As once thou sleptst, while she to life was formed. 
To whom thus Adam gratefully replied. 
Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the path 
Thou leadest me; and to the hand of Heaven submit, 
However chastening; to the evil turn 
My obvious breast; arming to overcome 
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won, 
If so I may attain. -- So both ascend 
In the visions of God.  It was a hill, 
Of Paradise the highest; from whose top 
The hemisphere of earth, in clearest ken, 
Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay. 
Not higher that hill, nor wider looking round, 
Whereon, for different cause, the Tempter set 
Our second Adam, in the wilderness; 
To show him all Earth's kingdoms, and their glory. 
His eye might there command wherever stood 
City of old or modern fame, the seat 
Of mightiest empire, from the destined walls 
Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can, 
And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir's throne, 
To Paquin of Sinaean kings; and thence 
To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul, 
Down to the golden Chersonese; or where 
The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since 
In Hispahan; or where the Russian Ksar 
In Mosco; or the Sultan in Bizance, 
Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken 
The empire of Negus to his utmost port 
Ercoco, and the less maritim kings 
Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind, 
And Sofala, thought Ophir, to the realm 
Of Congo, and Angola farthest south; 
Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount 
The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus, 
Morocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen; 
On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway 
The world: in spirit perhaps he also saw 
Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume, 
And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat 
Of Atabalipa; and yet unspoiled 
Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons 
Call El Dorado.  But to nobler sights 
Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed, 
Which that false fruit that promised clearer sight 
Had bred; then purged with euphrasy and rue 
The visual nerve, for he had much to see; 
And from the well of life three drops instilled. 
So deep the power of these ingredients pierced, 
Even to the inmost seat of mental sight, 
That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes, 
Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranced; 
But him the gentle Angel by the hand 
Soon raised, and his attention thus recalled. 
Adam, now ope thine eyes; and first behold 
The effects, which thy original crime hath wrought 
In some to spring from thee; who never touched 
The excepted tree; nor with the snake conspired; 
Nor sinned thy sin; yet from that sin derive 
Corruption, to bring forth more violent deeds. 
His eyes he opened, and beheld a field, 
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves 
New reaped; the other part sheep-walks and folds; 
I' the midst an altar as the land-mark stood, 
Rustick, of grassy sord; thither anon 
A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought 
First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf, 
Unculled, as came to hand; a shepherd next, 
More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock, 
Choicest and best; then, sacrificing, laid 
The inwards and their fat, with incense strowed, 
On the cleft wood, and all due rights performed: 
His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven 
Consumed with nimble glance, and grateful steam; 
The other's not, for his was not sincere; 
Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talked, 
Smote him into the midriff with a stone 
That beat out life; he fell;and, deadly pale, 
Groaned out his soul with gushing blood effused. 
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart 
Dismayed, and thus in haste to the Angel cried. 
O Teacher, some great mischief hath befallen 
To that meek man, who well had sacrificed; 
Is piety thus and pure devotion paid? 
To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied. 
These two are brethren, Adam, and to come 
Out of thy loins; the unjust the just hath slain, 
For envy that his brother's offering found 
From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact 
Will be avenged; and the other's faith, approved, 
Lose no reward; though here thou see him die, 
Rolling in dust and gore.  To which our sire. 
Alas! both for the deed, and for the cause! 
But have I now seen Death?  Is this the way 
I must return to native dust?  O sight 
Of terrour, foul and ugly to behold, 
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel! 
To whom thus Michael.  Death thou hast seen 
In his first shape on Man; but many shapes 
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead 
To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense 
More terrible at the entrance, than within. 
Some, as thou sawest, by violent stroke shall die; 
By fire, flood, famine, by intemperance more 
In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring 
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew 
Before thee shall appear; that thou mayest know 
What misery the inabstinence of Eve 
Shall bring on Men.  Immediately a place 
Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark; 
A lazar-house it seemed; wherein were laid 
Numbers of all diseased; all maladies 
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms 
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, 
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, 
Intestine stone and ulcer, colick-pangs, 
Demoniack phrenzy, moaping melancholy, 
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, 
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, 
Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. 
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair 
Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch; 
And over them triumphant Death his dart 
Shook, but delayed to strike, though oft invoked 
With vows, as their chief good, and final hope. 
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long 
Dry-eyed behold?  Adam could not, but wept, 
Though not of woman born; compassion quelled 
His best of man, and gave him up to tears 
A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess; 
And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed. 
O miserable mankind, to what fall 
Degraded, to what wretched state reserved! 
Better end here unborn.  Why is life given 
To be thus wrested from us? rather, why 
Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew 
What we receive, would either no accept 
Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down; 
Glad to be so dismissed in peace.  Can thus 
The image of God in Man, created once 
So goodly and erect, though faulty since, 
To such unsightly sufferings be debased 
Under inhuman pains?  Why should not Man, 
Retaining still divine similitude 
In part, from such deformities be free, 
And, for his Maker's image sake, exempt? 
Their Maker's image, answered Michael, then 
Forsook them, when themselves they vilified 
To serve ungoverned Appetite; and took 
His image whom they served, a brutish vice, 
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. 
Therefore so abject is their punishment, 
Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; 
Or if his likeness, by themselves defaced; 
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules 
To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they 
God's image did not reverence in themselves. 
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit. 
But is there yet no other way, besides 
These painful passages, how we may come 
To death, and mix with our connatural dust? 
There is, said Michael, if thou well observe 
The rule of Not too much; by temperance taught, 
In what thou eatest and drinkest; seeking from thence 
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight, 
Till many years over thy head return: 
So mayest thou live; till, like ripe fruit, thou drop 
Into thy mother's lap; or be with ease 
Gathered, nor harshly plucked; for death mature: 
This is Old Age; but then, thou must outlive 
Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty; which will change 
To withered, weak, and gray; thy senses then, 
Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego, 
To what thou hast; and, for the air of youth, 
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign 
A melancholy damp of cold and dry 
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume 
The balm of life.  To whom our ancestor. 
Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong 
Life much; bent rather, how I may be quit, 
Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge; 
Which I must keep till my appointed day 
Of rendering up, and patiently attend 
My dissolution.  Michael replied. 
Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest 
Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven: 
And now prepare thee for another sight. 
He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon 
Were tents of various hue; by some, were herds 
Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound 
Of instruments, that made melodious chime, 
Was heard, of harp and organ; and, who moved 
Their stops and chords, was seen; his volant touch, 
Instinct through all proportions, low and high, 
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. 
In other part stood one who, at the forge 
Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass 
Had melted, (whether found where casual fire 
Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale, 
Down to the veins of earth; thence gliding hot 
To some cave's mouth; or whether washed by stream 
From underground;) the liquid ore he drained 
Into fit moulds prepared; from which he formed 
First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought 
Fusil or graven in metal.  After these, 
But on the hither side, a different sort 
From the high neighbouring hills, which was their seat, 
Down to the plain descended; by their guise 
Just men they seemed, and all their study bent 
To worship God aright, and know his works 
Not hid; nor those things last, which might preserve 
Freedom and peace to Men; they on the plain 
Long had not walked, when from the tents, behold! 
A bevy of fair women, richly gay 
In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung 
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on: 
The men, though grave, eyed them; and let their eyes 
Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net 
Fast caught, they liked; and each his liking chose; 
And now of love they treat, till the evening-star, 
Love's harbinger, appeared; then, all in heat 
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke 
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked: 
With feast and musick all the tents resound. 
Such happy interview, and fair event 
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers, 
And charming symphonies, attached the heart 
Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight, 
The bent of nature; which he thus expressed. 
True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest; 
Much better seems this vision, and more hope 
Of peaceful days portends, than those two past; 
Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse; 
Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends. 
To whom thus Michael.  Judge not what is best 
By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet; 
Created, as thou art, to nobler end 
Holy and pure, conformity divine. 
Those tents thou sawest so pleasant, were the tents 
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race 
Who slew his brother; studious they appear 
Of arts that polish life, inventers rare; 
Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit 
Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none. 
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; 
For that fair female troop thou sawest, that seemed 
Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, 
Yet empty of all good wherein consists 
Woman's domestick honour and chief praise; 
Bred only and completed to the taste 
Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance, 
To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye: 
To these that sober race of men, whose lives 
Religious titled them the sons of God, 
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame 
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles 
Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy, 
Erelong to swim at large; and laugh, for which 
The world erelong a world of tears must weep. 
To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft. 
O pity and shame, that they, who to live well 
Entered so fair, should turn aside to tread 
Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint! 
But still I see the tenour of Man's woe 
Holds on the same, from Woman to begin. 
From Man's effeminate slackness it begins, 
Said the Angel, who should better hold his place 
By wisdom, and superiour gifts received. 
But now prepare thee for another scene. 
He looked, and saw wide territory spread 
Before him, towns, and rural works between; 
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers, 
Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war, 
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise; 
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, 
Single or in array of battle ranged 
Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood; 
One way a band select from forage drives 
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine, 
From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock, 
Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain, 
Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly, 
But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray; 
With cruel tournament the squadrons join; 
Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies 
With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field, 
Deserted:  Others to a city strong 
Lay siege, encamped; by battery, scale, and mine, 
Assaulting; others from the wall defend 
With dart and javelin, stones, and sulphurous fire; 
On each hand slaughter, and gigantick deeds. 
In other part the sceptered heralds call 
To council, in the city-gates; anon 
Gray-headed men and grave, with warriours mixed, 
Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon, 
In factious opposition; till at last, 
Of middle age one rising, eminent 
In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong, 
Of justice, or religion, truth, and peace, 
And judgement from above: him old and young 
Exploded, and had seized with violent hands, 
Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence 
Unseen amid the throng: so violence 
Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law, 
Through all the plain, and refuge none was found. 
Adam was all in tears, and to his guide 
Lamenting turned full sad; O!what are these, 
Death's ministers, not men? who thus deal death 
Inhumanly to men, and multiply 
Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew 
His brother: for of whom such massacre 
Make they, but of their brethren; men of men 
But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven 
Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost? 
To whom thus Michael.  These are the product 
Of those ill-mated marriages thou sawest; 
Where good with bad were matched, who of themselves 
Abhor to join; and, by imprudence mixed, 
Produce prodigious births of body or mind. 
Such were these giants, men of high renown; 
For in those days might only shall be admired, 
And valour and heroick virtue called; 
To overcome in battle, and subdue 
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite 
Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch 
Of human glory; and for glory done 
Of triumph, to be styled great conquerours 
Patrons of mankind, Gods, and sons of Gods; 
Destroyers rightlier called, and plagues of men. 
Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth; 
And what most merits fame, in silence hid. 
But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheldst 
The only righteous in a world preverse, 
And therefore hated, therefore so beset 
With foes, for daring single to be just, 
And utter odious truth, that God would come 
To judge them with his Saints; him the Most High 
Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds 
Did, as thou sawest, receive, to walk with God 
High in salvation and the climes of bliss, 
Exempt from death; to show thee what reward 
Awaits the good; the rest what punishment; 
Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold. 
He looked, and saw the face of things quite changed; 
The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar; 
All now was turned to jollity and game, 
To luxury and riot, feast and dance; 
Marrying or prostituting, as befel, 
Rape or adultery, where passing fair 
Allured them; thence from cups to civil broils. 
At length a reverend sire among them came, 
And of their doings great dislike declared, 
And testified against their ways; he oft 
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met, 
Triumphs or festivals; and to them preached 
Conversion and repentance, as to souls 
In prison, under judgements imminent: 
But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceased 
Contending, and removed his tents far off; 
Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall, 
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk; 
Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth; 
Smeared round with pitch; and in the side a door 
Contrived; and of provisions laid in large, 
For man and beast: when lo, a wonder strange! 
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small, 
Came sevens, and pairs; and entered in as taught 
Their order: last the sire and his three sons, 
With their four wives; and God made fast the door. 
Mean while the south-wind rose, and, with black wings 
Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove 
From under Heaven; the hills to their supply 
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist, 
Sent up amain; and now the thickened sky 
Like a dark cieling stood; down rushed the rain 
Impetuous; and continued, till the earth 
No more was seen: the floating vessel swum 
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow 
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else 
Flood overwhelmed, and them with all their pomp 
Deep under water rolled; sea covered sea, 
Sea without shore; and in their palaces, 
Where luxury late reigned, sea-monsters whelped 
And stabled; of mankind, so numerous late, 
All left, in one small bottom swum imbarked. 
How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold 
The end of all thy offspring, end so sad, 
Depopulation!  Thee another flood, 
Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drowned, 
And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently reared 
By the Angel, on thy feet thou stoodest at last, 
Though comfortless; as when a father mourns 
His children, all in view destroyed at once; 
And scarce to the Angel utter'dst thus thy plaint. 
O visions ill foreseen!  Better had I 
Lived ignorant of future! so had borne 
My part of evil only, each day's lot 
Enough to bear; those now, that were dispensed 
The burden of many ages, on me light 
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth 
Abortive, to torment me ere their being, 
With thought that they must be.  Let no man seek 
Henceforth to be foretold, what shall befall 
Him or his children; evil he may be sure, 
Which neither his foreknowing can prevent; 
And he the future evil shall no less 
In apprehension than in substance feel, 
Grievous to bear: but that care now is past, 
Man is not whom to warn: those few escaped 
Famine and anguish will at last consume, 
Wandering that watery desart:  I had hope, 
When violence was ceased, and war on earth, 
All would have then gone well; peace would have crowned 
With length of happy days the race of Man; 
But I was far deceived; for now I see 
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste. 
How comes it thus? unfold, celestial Guide, 
And whether here the race of Man will end. 
To whom thus Michael.  Those, whom last thou sawest 
In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they 
First seen in acts of prowess eminent 
And great exploits, but of true virtue void; 
Who, having spilt much blood, and done much wast 
Subduing nations, and achieved thereby 
Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey; 
Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth, 
Surfeit, and lust; till wantonness and pride 
Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. 
The conquered also, and enslaved by war, 
Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose 
And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned 
In sharp contest of battle found no aid 
Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal, 
Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure, 
Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords 
Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear 
More than enough, that temperance may be tried: 
So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved; 
Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot; 
One man except, the only son of light 
In a dark age, against example good, 
Against allurement, custom, and a world 
Offended: fearless of reproach and scorn, 
The grand-child, with twelve sons encreased, departs 
From Canaan, to a land hereafter called 
Egypt, divided by the river Nile; 
See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths 
Into the sea:  To sojourn in that land 
He comes, invited by a younger son 
In time of dearth; a son, whose worthy deeds 
Raise him to be the second in that realm 
Of Pharaoh:  There he dies, and leaves his race 
Growing into a nation, and now grown 
Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks 
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests 
Or violence, he of their wicked ways 
Shall them admonish; and before them set 
The paths of righteousness, how much more safe 
And full of peace; denouncing wrath to come 
On their impenitence; and shall return 
Of them derided, but of God observed 
The one just man alive; by his command 
Shall build a wonderous ark, as thou beheldst, 
To save himself, and houshold, from amidst 
A world devote to universal wrack. 
No sooner he, with them of man and beast 
Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged, 
And sheltered round; but all the cataracts 
Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour 
Rain, day and night; all fountains of the deep, 
Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp 
Beyond all bounds; till inundation rise 
Above the highest hills:  Then shall this mount 
Of Paradise by might of waves be moved 
Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood, 
With all his verdure spoiled, and trees adrift, 
Down the great river to the opening gulf, 
And there take root an island salt and bare, 
The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews' clang: 
To teach thee that God attributes to place 
No sanctity, if none be thither brought 
By men who there frequent, or therein dwell. 
And now, what further shall ensue, behold. 
He looked, and saw the ark hull on the flood, 
Which now abated; for the clouds were fled, 
Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry, 
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decayed; 
And the clear sun on his wide watery glass 
Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew, 
As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink 
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole 
With soft foot towards the deep; who now had stopt 
His sluces, as the Heaven his windows shut. 
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, 
Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed. 
And now the tops of hills, as rocks, appear; 
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive, 
Towards the retreating sea, their furious tide. 
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies, 
And after him, the surer messenger, 
A dove sent forth once and again to spy 
Green tree or ground, whereon his foot may light: 
The second time returning, in his bill 
An olive-leaf he brings, pacifick sign: 
Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark 
The ancient sire descends, with all his train; 
Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout, 
Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds 
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow 
Conspicuous with three lifted colours gay, 
Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. 
Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad, 
Greatly rejoiced; and thus his joy broke forth. 
O thou, who future things canst represent 
As present, heavenly Instructer!  I revive 
At this last sight; assured that Man shall live, 
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve. 
Far less I now lament for one whole world 
Of wicked sons destroyed, than I rejoice 
For one man found so perfect, and so just, 
That God vouchsafes to raise another world 
From him, and all his anger to forget. 
But say, what mean those coloured streaks in Heaven 
Distended, as the brow of God appeased? 
Or serve they, as a flowery verge, to bind 
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud, 
Lest it again dissolve, and shower the earth? 
To whom the Arch-Angel.  Dextrously thou aimest; 
So willingly doth God remit his ire, 
Though late repenting him of Man depraved; 
Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw 
The whole earth filled with violence, and all flesh 
Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed, 
Such grace shall one just man find in his sight, 
That he relents, not to blot out mankind; 
And makes a covenant never to destroy 
The earth again by flood; nor let the sea 
Surpass his bounds; nor rain to drown the world, 
With man therein or beast; but, when he brings 
Over the earth a cloud, will therein set 
His triple-coloured bow, whereon to look, 
And call to mind his covenant: Day and night, 
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost, 
Shall hold their course; till fire purge all things new, 
Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell. 

Added: 2 Sep 2002 | Last Read: 19 Nov 2018 6:47 PM | Viewed: 4398 times

A PoetryNotes™ Analysis of Paradise Lost: Book 11 by John Milton, is Available!

A PoetryNotes™ eBook is available for this poem for delivery within 24 hours, and usually available within minutes during normal business hours.

ON SALE - only $29.95 19.95!

For more information...


URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/6826/ | Viewed on 19 November 2018.
Copyright ©2018 Plagiarist - All rights reserved.