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Paradise Lost (excerpt) -- John Milton

Guest poem sent in by Matt Chanoff
(Poem #1213) Paradise Lost (excerpt)
 Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
 Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
 Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
 The mother of mankind, what time his pride
 Had cast him out from heav'n, with all his host
 Of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring
 To set himself in glory above his peers,
 He trusted to have equaled the Most High,
 If he opposed; and with ambitious aim
 Against the throne and monarchy of God
 Raised impious war in heav'n and battle proud
 With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
 Hurled headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky
 With hideous ruin and combustion down
 To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
 In adamantine chains and penal fire,
 Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
 Nine times the space that measures day and night
 To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
 Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf
 Confounded though immortal: but his doom
 Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
 Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
 Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes
 That witnessed huge affliction and dismay
 Mixed with obdúrate pride and steadfast hate:
 At once as far as angels ken he views
 The dismal situation waste and wild,
 A dungeon horrible, on all sides round
 As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames
 No light, but rather darkness visible
 Served only to discover sights of woe,
 Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
 And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
 That comes to all; but torture without end
 Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
 With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed:
 Such place Eternal Justice had prepared
 For those rebellious, here their prison ordained
 In utter darkness, and their portion set
 As far removed from God and light of heav'n
 As from the center thrice to th' utmost pole.
-- John Milton
No Milton has been posted here since 1999. Here's something I've appreciated
during these apocalyptic times. It's from Paradise Lost, right near the
beginning. The lines "Hurled headlong flaming from th'ethereal sky/ With
hideous ruin and combustion down" are, and I think, belong, in the pantheon of
immortal poetry. I'm no Christian, but the embers of that combustion seem all
around us recently.

There's a lot more about Milton than I know described and linked to Poem #106,
Poem #127, Poem #279 and Poem #281.

Matt

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