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Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful
Of absolute perfection, therein Man
Plac'd in a Paradise, by our exile
Made happy: him by fraud I have seduc'd
From his Creator, and the more to increase
Your wonder, with an apple; he thereat
Offended, worth your laughter, hath giv'n up
Both his beloved man and all his world
To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,

490
Without our hazard, labor, or alarm,
To range in, and to dwell, and over man
To rule, as over all he should have rul'd.
True is, me also he hath judg’d, or rather
Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape
Man I deceiv'd: that which to me belongs
Is enmity, which he will put between
Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel;
His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head:
A world who would not purchase with a bruise, 500
Or much more grievous pain ? Ye have th' account
Of my performance: what remains, ye Gods,
But up and enter now into full bliss ?

So having said, a while he stood, expecting Their universal shout and high applause To fill his ear, when contrary he hears On all sides, from innumerable tongues A dismal universal hiss, the sound Of public scorn; he wonder'd, but not long Had leisure, wond'ring at himself now more; 510 His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare,

His arms clung to his ribs, his legs intwining
Each other, till supplanted down he fell
A monstrous serpent on his belly pròne,
Reluctant, but in vain, a greater Power
Now ruld him, punish'd in the shape he sinn'd
According to his doom: he would have spoke,
But hiss for hiss return'd with forked tongue
To forked tongue, for now were all transform'd
Alike to serpents, all as accessories

520
To his bold riot: dreadful was the din
Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now
With complicated monsters head and tail,
Scorpion, and asp, and amphisbæna dire,
Cerastes horn’d, Hydrus, and Elops drear,
And Dipsas (not so thick swarm'd once the soil
Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
Ophiusa) but still greatest he in the midst,
Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
Ingender'd in the Pythian vale on slime, 530
Huge Python, and his power no less he seem'd
Above the rest still to retain; they all
Him follow'd issuing forth to th' open field,
Where all yet left of that revolted rout
Heav'n-fall'n, in station stood or just array,
Sublime with expectation when to see
In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief;
They saw, but other sight instead, a crowd
Of ugly serpents; horror on them fell,
And horrid sympathy; for what they saw,

540 They felt themselves now changing; down their arms,

Down fell both spear and shield, down they as fast,
And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire form
Catch'd by contagion, like in punishment,
As in their crime. Thus was th' applause they meant
Turn’d to exploding hiss, triumph to shame
Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There

stood А

grove bard by, sprung up with this their change, His will who reigns above, to aggravate Their

penance, laden with fair fruit, like that 550 Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve Us'd by the Tempter: on that prospect strange Their earnest eyes they fix’d, imagining For one forbidden tree a multitude Now ris'n, to work them further woe or shame; Yet parch'd with scalding thirst and hunger fierce; Though to delude them sent, could not abstain, But on they roll'd in heaps, and up the trees Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks That curld Megæra: greedily they pluck'd 560 The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew Near that bitumi'nous lake where Sodom flam'd; This more delusive, not the touch, but taste, Deceiv’d; they fondly thinking to allay Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit Chew'd bitter ashes, which th' offended taste With spattering noise rejected: oft they' assay'd, Hunger and thirst constraining, drug'd as oft, With hatefullest disrelish writh’d their jaw's With soot and cinders fillid; so oft they fell 570

Into the same illusion, not as man
Whom they triumph'd once laps'd. Thus were

they plagu'd
And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss,
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resum'd,
Yearly injoin'd, some say, to undergo
This annual humbling certain number'd days,
To dash their pride, and joy for man seduc’d.
However some tradition they dispers’d
Among the Heathen of their purchase got,
And fabled how the serpent, whom they callid 580
Ophion with Eurynome, the wide
Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven
And Ops, ere yet Dictæan Jove was born.

Mean while in Paradise the hellish pair Too soon arriv'd, Sin there in power before, Once actual, now in body, and to dwell Habitual habitant; behind her Death Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet On his pale horse : to whom Sin thus began : 590

Second of Satan sprung, all conqu’ring Death, What think'st thou of our empire now, though With travel difficult, not better far [earn'd Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat

watch Unnam’d, undreaded, and thyself half starv?d?

Whom thus the sin-born monster answer'd soon; To me, who with eternal famine pine, Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heav'ın,

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There best, where most with ravin I may meet; Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps.

To whom th' incestuous mother thus reply'd: Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and

flowers Feed first, on each beast next, and fish and fowl, No homely morsels; and whatever thing The scithe of Time mows down, devour unspard; Till I in Man residing through the race, His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect, And season him thy last and sweetest prey. 609

This said, they both betook them several ways, Both to destroy, or unimmortal make All kinds, and for destruction to mature Sooner or later; which th' Almighty seeing, From his transcendent seat the saints among, To those bright orders utter'd thus his voice:

See with what heat these dogs of Hell advance To waste and havoc yonder world, which I So fair and good created, and had still Kept in that state, had not the folly' of man Let in these wasteful furies, who impute 620 Folly to me, so doth the Prince of Hell And his adherents, that with so much ease I suffer them to enter and possess A place so heav'nly, and conniving seem To gratify my scornful enemies, That laugh, as if transported with some fit Of passion; I to them had quitted all,

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