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The First Book proposes, first, in brief, the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise, wherein he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolt. ing from God, and drawing to his side many legions of angels was, by the command of God, driven out of heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan, with his angeis, now fallen into hell, described here, not in the centre (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed,) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: here Satan, with his angels, lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonisher, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up hin who next in order and dignity lay by him: they confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers; array of battle; their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterward in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Sitan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world, and a new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy, 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 prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: the infernal peers there sit in council.
Or Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed,
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd'
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
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, Favour'd 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?" The infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile, Stirr'd 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 'bove his peers, He trusted to have equall'd the Most High If he oppos'd; and, with ambitious aim Against the throne and monarchy of God, Rais'd impious war in heaven, and battle proud,, With vain attempt. Him the Almighty PowerHurl'd headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomless perdition; there to dwell In adamantine chains and penal fire, Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night To. mortal men, he with his horrid crew,
Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed !
And thence in heaven called Satan, with bold words
"If thou beest he; but O, how fall'n! how changed
Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd
From what height fall'n; so much the stronger proved