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To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend,
Chorus. All is best, though we oft doubt
SELECTIONS FROM PARADISE LOST
THE VERSE The measure is English heroic verse without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin -rhyme being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame metre; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse, than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rime both in longer and shorter works, as have also long since our best English gedies, as a thing of itse to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings a fault avoided by the learned ancients both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect then of rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem from the troublesome and modern bondage of riming.
THE ARGUMENT This 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, revolting 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 bastes into the midst of things; presenting Satan, with his "Angels, 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, thunderstruck and astonished, after
a certain space recovers, as from confusion; calls up him 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 afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech; comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven; but tells them, lastly, of a new world and 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
bis asgociates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: the infernal Peers there sit in council.
OF Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Say first — for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,
The infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile,
Nine times the space that measures day and night 60
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed.
changed From him, who in the happy realms of light, Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine Myriads, though bright — if he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprise, Joined with me once, now misery hath joined In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest From what highth fallen: so much the stronger proved He with his thunder: and till then who knew The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those, Nor what the potent Victor in his rage Can else inflict, do I repent, or change, Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind, And high disdain from sense of injured merit, That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along * Innumerable force of Spirits armed, That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,