« PreviousContinue »
435 debating what should become of At last, after discourse of enmity on either side, Chorus prepare resistance at his first approach. Man, if he fall.
he departs; whereat the Chorus sing of the battell and victorie in Heaven against him and his accomplices as before, after the first act, was sung a hymn of the creation3.
Heer again may appear Lucifer, relating and
Chorus sing the marriage song, and describe Pa- insulting in what he had don to the destruction of Man. Man next, and Eve, having by this time bin seduc't by the serpent, appears confusedly cover'd with leaves. Conscience, in a shape, accuses him. Justice cites him to the place, whither Jehovah called for him. In the mean while, the Chorus entertains the stage, and is informed, by some angel, [of] the manner of his fallt.
Lucifer contriving Adam's ruine.
Chorus feares for Adam, and relates Lucifer's rebellion and fall.
Heer the Chorus bewails Adam's fall. Adam then and Eve returne, and accuse one another; but especially Adam layes the blame to his wife; is stubborn in his offence. Justice appears; reasons with him, convinces him. The Chorus admonishes Adam, and bids him beware Lucifer's example of impenitences.
The angel is sent to banish them out of Paradise; but, before, causes to pass before his eyes,
Adam and Eve driven out of Paradice: præsented in shapes, a mask of all the evills of this life and
world. He is humbl'd, relents, dispaires. At
by an angel with
last appeares Mercy, comforts him, promises the
Messiah; then calls in Faith, Hope, and Cha-
rity; instructs him. He repents; gives God the
glory, submitts to his penalty. The Chorus
Compare this with the former draught7.
Conscience cites them to God's examination. Chorus bewailes, and tells the good, Adam hath lost.
Mutes, to whom he gives thire
names; likewise Winter, Heat,
Death, entered into the world.
Chorus briefly concludes.
comfort him, and instruct him.
The next sketch, as Dr. Johnson has remarked, seems to have attained more maturity; and is entitled
The angel Gabriel, either descending or entring; showing, since the globe was created, his frequency as much on Earth as in Heaven; describes Paradise. Next, the Chorus, showing the reason of his comming to keep his watch after Jucifer's rebellion, by command from God: and withall expressing his desire to see and know more concerning this excellent and new creature, Man. The angel Gabriel, as by his name signifying a prince of power, tracing Paradise with a more free office, passes by the station of the Chorus ; and, desired by them, relates what he knew of Man; as the creation of Eve, with thire love and marriage.
After this, Lucifer appears after his overthrow, bemoans himself, seeks revenge upon Man. The
THE ARGUMENT. I
The subject proposed. Invocation of the Holy
Spirit. The poem opens with John baptizing
3 End of the second act.
4 End of the third act.
s End of the fourth act.
• End of the fifth act.
7 The reader may compare the allegorical characters, and their offices, in this and the preceding draught, with those in the Italian drama by Andreini:
Phillips, the nephew of Milton, has told us, that Paradise Lost was first designed for a tragedy, and that in the fourth book of the poem "there are ten verses, which, several years before the poem was begun, were shown to me, and some others, as designed for the very beginning of the said tragedy." Life, &c. 1694, p. xxxv. These verses are the opening of Satan's celebrated address to the Sun. "O thou, that with surpassing glory crown'd, &c." TODD. (') No edition of Paradise Regained had ever appeared with Arguments to the Books, before that which was published in 1795 by Mr. Dunster; from which they are adopted in this edition. Peck indeed endeavoured to supply the deficiency, in his Memoirs of Milton, 1740,
at the river Jordan. Jesus coming there is
baptized; and is attested, by the descent of
the Holy Ghost, and by a voice from Heaven,
to be the Son of God. Satan, who is present,
upon this immediately flies up into the regions
of the air where, summoning his infernal
council, he acquaints them with his apprc-
hensions that Jesus is that seed of the Woman,
destined to destroy all their power, and points
out to them the immediate necessity of bring-
ing the matter to proof, and of attempting,
by snares and fraud, to counteract and de-
feat the person, from whom they have so much
to dread. This office he offers himself to un-
dertake; and, his offer being accepted, sets
out on his enterprise.-In the mean time God,
in the assembly of holy angels, declares that
he has given up his Son to be tempted by
tan; but foretels that the tempter shall be
completely defeated by him:-upon which
the angels sing a hymn of triumph. Jesus is
led up by the Spirit into the wilderness, while
he is meditating on the commencement of his
great office of Saviour of mankind. Pursuing
his meditations he narrates, in a soliloquy,
what divine and philanthrophic impulses he
had felt from his early youth, and how his
mother Mary, on perceiving these dispositions
in him, had acquainted him with the circum-
stances of his birth, and informed him that
he was no less a person than the Son of God;
to which he adds what his own inquiries and
reflections had supplied in confirmation of this
great truth, and particularly dwells on the
recent attestation of it at the river Jordan.
Our Lord passes forty days, fasting, in the
wilderness, where the wild beasts become
mild and harmless in his presence. Satan
now appears under the form of an old peasant;
and enters into discourse with our Lord, won-
dering what could have brought him alone
into so dangerous a place, and at the same
time professing to recognize him for the per-
son lately acknowledged by John, at the river
Jordan, to be the Son of God. Jesus briefly
replies. Satan rejoins with a description of
the difficulty of supporting life in the wilder-
ness; and entreats Jesus, if he be really the
Son of God, to manifest his divine power, by
changing some of the stones into bread. Je-
sus reproves him, and at the same time tells
him that he knows who he is. Satan instantly
avows himself, and offers an artful apology |
for himself and his conduct. Our blessed
Lord severely reprimands him, and refutes
every part of his justification. Satan, with
much semblance humility, still endea-
yours to justify himself; and, professing his
admiration of Jesus and his regard for virtue,
requests to be permitted at a future time to
hear more of his conversation; but is answer-
ed, that this must be as he shall find per-
mission from above. Satan then disappears,
and the book closes with a short description of
night coming on in the desert.
I, who ere while the happy garden sung
By one man's disobedience lost, now sing
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind,
By one man's firm obedience fully tried
Through all temptation, and the tempter foil'd
In all his wiles, defeated and repuls'd,
And Eden rais'd in the waste wilderness.
Thou Spirit, who ledst this glorious eremite
Into the desert, his victorious field, [thence
Against the spiritual foe, and brought'st him
By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire,
As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute,
And bear through height or depth of Nature's
With prosperous wing full summ'd, to tell of
Above heroic, though in secret done,
And unrecorded left through many an age;
Sa-Worthy to have not remain'd so long unsung.
Now had the great proclaimer, with a voice
More awful than the sound of trumpet, cried
Repentance, and Heaven's kingdom nigh at hand
To all baptiz'd: to his great baptism flock'd
With awe the regions round, and with them
p. 70, &c.
But the arguments, which he has
there given, are too diffuse; and want that con-
ciseness and energy which distinguish Mr, Dun-
From Nazareth the son of Joseph deem'd
To the flood Jordan; came, as then obscure,
Unmark'd, unknown; but him the Baptist soon
Descried, divinely warn'd, and witness bore
As to his worthier, and would have resign'd
To him his heavenly office; nor was long
His witness unconfirm'd: on him baptiz'd
Heaven open'd, and in likeness of a dove
The Spirit descended, while the Father's voice
From Heaven pronoure'd him his beloved Son.
That heard the adversary, who, roving still
About the world, at that assembly fam'd
Would not be last, and, with the voice divine
Nigh thunder-struck, the exalted man, to whom
Such bigh attest was given, a while survey'd
With wonder; then, with envy fraught and rage,
Flies to his place, nor rests, but in mid air
To council summons all his mighty peers,
Within thick clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd,
A gloomy consistory; and them amidst,
With looks aghast and sad, he thus bespake.
"O ancient powers of air, and this wide world,
(For much more willingly I mention air,
This our old conquest, than remember Hell,
Our hated habitation,) well ye know
How many ages, as the years of men,
This universe we have possess'd, and rul'd,
In manner at our will, the affairs of Earth,
Since Adam and his facile consort Eve
Lost Paradise, deceiv'd by me; though since
With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the seed of Eve
Upon my head. Long the decrees of Heaven
Delay, for longest time to him is short;
And now, too soon for us, the circling hours
This dreaded time have compass'd, wherein we
Must bide the stroke of that long-threaten'd
(At least if so we can, and by the head [wound,
Broken be not intended all our power
To be infring'd, our freedom and our being,
In this fair empire won of Earth and air,)
For this ill news I bring, the woman's seed
Destin'd to this, is late of woman born.
His birth to our just fear gave no small cause:
But his growth now to youth's full flower dis
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to achieve
Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
His coming, is sent harbinger, who all
Invites, and in the consecrated stream
Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them, so
Purified, to receive him pure, or rather
To do him honour as their king: all come,
And he himself among them was baptiz'd;
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The testimony of Heaven, that who he is
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt; I saw
The prophet do him reverence; on him, rising
Out of the water, Heaven above the clouds
Unfold her crystal doors: thence on his head
A perfect dove descend, (whate'er it meant,)
And out of Heaven the sovran voice I heard,
This is my Son belov'd, in him am pleas'd.'
His mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the monarchy of Heaven:
And what will he not do to advance his Son?
His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep:
Who this is we must learn, for Man he seems
In all his lineaments, though in his face
The glimpses of his father's glory shine.
Ye see our danger on the utmost edge
Of hazard, which admits no long debate,
But must with something sudden be oppos'd,
(Not force, but well-couch'd fraud, well-woven
Ere in the head of nations he appear, [snares,)
Their king, their leader, and supreme on Earth.
I, when no other durst, sole undertook
The dismal expedition to find out
And ruin Adam; and the exploit perform'd
Successfully: a calmer voyage now [once,
Will waft me; and the way, found prosperous
Induces best to hope of like success.
He ended, and his words impression left Of much amazement to the infernal crew, Distracted, and surpris'd with deep dismay At these sad tidings; but no time was then For long indulgence to their fears or grief: Unanimous they all commit the care And management of this main enterprise To him, their great dictator, whose attempt At first against mankind so well had thriv'd In Adam's overthrow, and led their march From Hell's deep-vaulted den to dwell in light, Regents, and potentates, and kings, yea gǝds, Of many a pleasant realm and province wide, So to the coast of Jordan he directs His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles, Where he might likeliest find this new-declar'd, This Man of men, attested Son of God, Temptation and all guile on him to try; So to subvert whom he suspected rais'd To end his reign on Earth, so long enjoy'd: But, contrary, unweeting he fulfill'd The purpos'd council, pre-ordain'd and fix'd, Of the Most High; who, in full frequence
Then told'st her, doubting how these thing could be
Of angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake.
"Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold, Thou and all angels conversant on Earth With man or men's affairs, how I begin To verify that soleinn message, late On which I sent thee to the virgin pure In Galilee, that she should bear a son, Great in renown, and call'd the Son of God;
To her a virgin, that on her should come The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highests O'ershadow her. This man, born and now upTo show him worthy of his birth divine [grown, And high prediction, henceforth I expose To Satan; let him tempt, and now assay His utmost subtlety, because he boasts And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng Of his apostacy: he might have learnt Less overweening, since he fail'd in Job, Whose constant perseverance overcame Whate'er his cruel malice could invent. He now shall know I can produce a man, Of.female seed, far abler to resist All his solicitations, and at length All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell; Winning, by conquest, what the first man lost, By fallacy surpris'd. But first I mean To exercise him in the wilderness; There he shall first lay down the rudiments Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes, By humiliation and strong sufferance: His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength, And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh, That all the angels and ethereal powers, They now, and men hereafter, may discern, From what consummate virtue I have chose This perfect man, by merit call'd my Son, To earn salvation for the sons of men."
So spake the Eternal Father, and all Heaven Admiring stood a space, then into hymns Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd, Circling the throne and singing, while the hand Sung with the voice, and this the argument. Victory and triumph to the Son of God, Now entering his great duel, not of arms, But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles! The Father knows the Son; therefore secure Ventures his filial virtue, though untried, Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce, Allure, or terrify, or undermine. Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of Hell, And, devilish machinations, come to naught!"
So they in Heaven their odes and vigils tun'd: Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days Lodg'd in Bethabara, where John baptiz'd, Musing, and much revolving in his breast, How best the mighty work he might begin Of saviour to mankind, and which way first Publish his God-like office now mature, One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading And his deep thoughts, the better to converse
With solitude, till, far from track of men, Thought following thought, and step by step led He enter'd now the bordering desert wild, [on, And, with dark shades and rocks environ'd His holy meditations thus pursued.
"O, what a multitude of thoughts at once Awaken'd in me swarm, while I consider What from within I feel myself, and here What from without comes often to my ears, Ill sorting with my present state compar'd! When I was yet a child, no childish play To me was pleasing; all my mind was set Serious to learn and know, and thence to do What might be public good; myself I thought Born to that end, born to promote all truth,
All righteous things: therefore, above my years,
The law of God I read, and found it sweet,
Made it my whole delight, and in it grew
To such perfection, that, ere yet my age
Had measur'd twice six years, at our great feast
I went into the temple, there to hear
The teachers of our law, and to propose [own;
What might improve my knowledge or their
And was admir'd by all: yet this not all
To which my spirit aspir'd; victorious deeds
Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts; one while
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke,
Then to subdue and quell, o'er all the Earth,
Brute violence and proud tyrannic power,
Till truth were freed, and equity restor❜d:
Yet held it more humane, more heavenly, first
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make persuasion do the work of fear;
At least to try, and teach the erring soul,
Not wilfully misdoing, but unaware
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue. [ceiving,
These growing thoughts my mother soon per-
By words at times cast forth, inly rejoic'd,
And said to me apart, High are thy thoughts,
O son, but nourish them, and let them soar
To what height sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high;
By matchless deeds express thy matchless sire,
For know, thou art no son of mortal man;
Though men esteem thee low of parentage,
Thy father is the Eternal King who rules
All Heaven and Earth, angels and sons of men;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a virgin; he foretold, [throne,
Thou should'st be great, and sit on David's
And of thy kingdom there should be no end.
At thy nativity, a glorious quire
Of angels, in the fields of Bethlehem, sung
To shepherds, watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born,
Where they might see him, and to thee they
Directed to the manger where thou lay'st,
For in the inn was left no better room:
A star, not seen before, in Heaven appearing,
Guided the wise men thither from the east,
To honour thee with incense, myrrh, and gold;
By whose bright course led on they found the
Affirming it thy star, new-graven in Heaven,
By which they knew the king of Israel born.
Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warn'd
By vision, found thee in the temple, and spake,
Before the altar and the vested priest,
Like things of thee to all that present stood.'-
This having heard, straight I again revolv'd
The law and prophets, searching what was writ
Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes [spake
Known partly, and soon found, of whom they
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard assay, even to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,
Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet, neither thus dishearten'd or dismay'd,
The time prefix'd I waited; when behold
The Baptist, (of whose birth I oft had heard,
Not knew by sight,) now come, who was to
Before Messiah, and his way prepare!
I, as all others, to his baptism came,
Which I believ'd was from above; but he Straight knew me, and with loudest voice pro claim'd
Me him, (for it was shown him so from Heaven,)
Me him, whose harbinger he was; and first
Refus'd on me his baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won:
But, as I rose out of the laving stream,
Heaven opened her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit descended on me like a dove;
And last, the sum of all, my father's voice,
Audibly heard from Heaven, pronounc'd me his,
'Me his beloved son, in whom alone
He was well pleas'd;' by which I knew the time
Now full, that I no more should live obscure,
But openly begin, as best becomes,
The authority which I deriv'd from Heaven.
And now by some strong motion I am led
Into this wilderness, to what intent
I learn not yet; perhaps I need not know,
For what concerns my knowledge God reveals."
So spake our Morning-star, then in his rise,
And, looking round, on every side beheld
A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades;
The way he came not having mark'd, return
Was difficult, by human steps untrod;
And he still on was led, but with such thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come
Lodg'd in his breast, as well might recommend
Such solitude before choicest society.
Full forty days he pass'd, whether on hill
Sometimes, anon on shady vale, each night
Under the covert of some ancient oak,
Or cedar, to defend him from the dew,
Or harbour'd in one cave, is not reveal'd;
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt
Till those days ended; hunger'd then at last
Among wild beasts: they at his sight grew mild,
Nor sleeping him nor waking harm'd; his walk
The fiery serpent fled and noxious worm,
The lion and fierce tiger glar'd aloof.
But now an aged man in rural weeds,
Following, as seem'd, the quest of some stray ewe,
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serve
Against a winter's day, when winds blow keen,
To warm him wet return'd from field at eve,
He saw approach, who first with curious eye
Perus'd him, then with words thus utter'd spake.
"Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to
So far from path or road of men, who pass
In troop or caravan? for single none
Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His carcase, pin'd with hunger and with drought.
I ask the rather, and the more admire,
For that to me thou seem'st the Man, whom late
Our new baptizing prophet at the ford
Of Jordan honour'd so, and call'd thee Son
Of God: I saw and heard, for we sometimes
Who dwell this wild, constrain'd by want, come
To town or village nigh, (nighest is far,) Where aught we hear, and curious are to hear, What happens new; fame also finds us out."
To whom the Son of God.. "Who brought me hither,
Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek." "By miracle he may,” replied the swain; "What other way I see not; for we here Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inur'd
More than the camel, and to drink go far,
Men to much misery and hardship born:
But, if thou be the Son of God, command
That out of these hard stones be made thee bread,
So shalt thou save thyself, and us relieve
With food, whereof we wretched seldom taste."
He ended, and the Son of God replied.
"Think'st thou such force in bread? Is it not As a poor miserable captive thrall
(For I discern thee other than thou seem'st)
Man lives not by bread only, but each word
Proceeding from the mouth of God, who fed
Our fathers here with manna?' in the mount
Moses was forty days, nor eat, nor drank;
And forty days Elijah, without food,
Wander'd this barren waste; the same I now:
Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust,
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art ?"
Whom thus answer'd the arch-fiend, now
""Tis true I am that Spirit unfortunate,
Who, leagu'd with millions more in rash revolt,
Kept not my happy station, but was driven
With them from bliss to the bottomless deep,
Yet to that hideous place not so confin'd
By rigour unconniving, but that oft,
Leaving my dolorous prison, I enjoy
Large liberty to round this globe of earth,
Man fall'n shall be restor❜d, I never more."
To whom our Saviour sternly thus replied.
"Deservedly thou griev'st, compos'd of lies
From the beginning, and in lies wilt end;
Who boast'st release from Hell, and leave to
Comes to the place where he before had sat
Among the prime in splendour, now depos'd,
Ejected, emptied, gaz'd, unpitied, shunn'd,
A spectacle of ruin, or of scorn,
To all the host of Heaven: the happy place
Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy,
Rather inflames thy torment: representing
Lost bliss, to thee no more communicable,
So never more in Hell than when in Heaven.
But thou art serviceable to Heaven's King.
Wilt thou impute to obedience what thy fear
Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites?
What but thy malice mov'd thee to misdeem
Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict him
With all inflictions? but his patience won.
The other service was thy chosen task,
To be a liar in four hundred mouths;
For lying is thy sustenance, thy food.
Yet thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles
By thee are given, and what confess'd more true
Or range in the air; nor from the Heaven of Among the nations? that hath been thy craft,
Hath he excluded my resort sometimes.
I came among the sons of God, when he
Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job
To prove him, and illustrate his high worth;
And, when to all his angels he propos'd
To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud
That he might fall in Ramoth, they demurring,
I undertook that office, and the tongues
Of all his flattering prophets glibb'd with lies
To his destruction, as I had in charge;
For what he bids I do. Though I have lost
Much lustre of my native brightness, lost
To be belov'd of God, I have not lost
To love, at least contemplate and admire,
What I see excellent in good, or fair,
Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense :
What can then be less in me than desire
To see thee and approach thee, whom I know
Declar'd the Son of God, to hear attent
Thy wisdom, and behold thy God-like deeds?
Men generally think me much a foe
To all mankind: why should I? they to me
Never did wrong or violence; by them
I lost not what I lost, rather by them
I gain'd what I have gain'd, and with them
Copartner in these regions of the world,
If not disposer; lend them oft my aid,
Oft my advice by presages and signs,
And answers, oracles, portents and dreams,
Whereby they may direct their future life.
Envy they say excites me, thus to gain
Companions of my misery and woe.
At first it may be; but, long since with woe
Nearer acquainted, now I feel, by proof,
That fellowship in pain divides not smart,
Nor lightens aught each man's peculiar load.
Small consolation then, were man adjoin'd:
This wounds me most, (what can it less?) that
Into the Heaven of Heavens: thou com'st indeed
By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies.
But what have been thy answers, what but
Ambiguous, and with double sense deluding,
Which they who ask'd have seldom understood,
And not well understood as good not known?
Who ever by consulting at thy shrine
Return'd the wiser, or the more instruct,
To fly or follow what concern'd him most,
And run not sooner to his fatal snare?
For God hath justly given the nations up
To thy delusions; justly, since they fell
Idolatrous: but, when his purpose is
Among them to declare his providence
To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy
But from him, or his angels president
In every province, who, themselves disdaining
To approach thy temples, give thee in command
What, to the smallest tittle. thou shalt say
To thy adorers? Thou, with trembling fear,
Or like a fawning parasite, obey'st:
Then to thyself ascrib'st the truth foretold.
But this thy glory shall be soon retrench'd;
No more shalt thou by oracling abuse
The Gentiles; henceforth oracles are ceas'd,
And thou no more with pomp and sacrifice
Shalt be inquir'd at Delphos, or elsewhere;
At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute.
God hath now sent his living oracle
Into the world to teach his final will,
And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell
In pious hearts, an inward oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know."
So spake our Saviour, but the subtle fiend,
Though inly stung with anger and disdain,
Dissembled, and this answer smooth return'd.
"Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke,
And urg'd me with hard doings, which not will
But misery hath wrested from me.
Easily canst thou find one miserable,