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 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.
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 their Creator, and transgress his Will For one restraint, Lords of the World besides?
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 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, And shook his throne.
Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime, Said then the lost Arch Angel, this the seat That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom For that celestial light?
Princes, Potentates, Warriers, the Flowr of Heav'n, once yours, now lost, If such astonishment as this can sieze Eternal spirits; or have ye chos'n this place After the toyl of Battel to repose Your wearied vertue, for the ease you find To slumber here, as in the Vales of Heav'n?
Forthwith from every Squadron and each Band The Heads and Leaders thither hast where stood Their great Commander; Godlike shapes and forms Excelling human, Princely Dignities, And Powers that earst in Heaven sat on Thrones; Though of their Names in heav'nly Records now Be no memorial, blotted out and ras'd By thir Rebellion, from the Books of Life.
For who can yet beleeve, though after loss, That all these puissant Legions, whose exile Hath emptied Heav'n, shall faile to re-ascend Self-rais'd, and repossess their native seat.
He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze Far round illumin'd hell: highly they rag'd Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arm's Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heav'n.
MAMMON led them on, MAMMON, the least erected Spirit that fell From heav'n, for ev'n in heav'n his looks & thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of Heav'ns pavement, trod'n Gold, Then aught divine or holy else enjoy'd In vision beatific: by him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught, Ransack'd the Center, and with impious hands Rifl'd the bowels of thir mother Earth For Treasures better hid.