Paradise Regained by John Milton

Paradise Regained


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subjects: Poetry: Classic & Pre-20th Century

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Satan is out for revenge. His rebellion has failed, he has been cast out from heaven and is doomed to spend eternity in hell. Somehow he must find a way to prove his power and wound his enemies. He fixes upon God’s beloved new creations, Adam and Eve, as the vehicles of his vengeance. In this dramatic and influential epic, Milton tells the story of the serpent and the apple, the fall of man and the exile from paradise in stunningly vivid and powerful verse.

62 pages, with a reading time of ~1.0 hour (15,653 words), and first published in 1671. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

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I, who erewhile the happy Garden sung By one man’s disobedience lost, now sing Recovered Paradise to all mankind, By one man’s firm obedience fully tried Through all temptation, and the Tempter foiled In all his wiles, defeated and repulsed, And Eden raised in the waste Wilderness.

Thou Spirit, who led'st this glorious Eremite   Into the desert, his victorious field   Against the spiritual foe, and brought'st him thence   By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire,   As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute,   And bear through highth or depth of Nature's bounds,   With prosperous wing full summed, to tell of deeds   Above heroic, though in secret done,   And unrecorded left through many an age:   Worthy to have not remained 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 baptized.  To his great baptism flocked   With awe the regions round, and with them came   From Nazareth the son of Joseph deemed   To the flood Jordan--came as then obscure,   Unmarked, unknown.  But him the Baptist soon   Descried, divinely warned, and witness bore   As to his worthier, and would have resigned   To him his heavenly office.  Nor was long   His witness unconfirmed: on him baptized   Heaven opened, and in likeness of a Dove   The Spirit descended, while the Father's voice   From Heaven pronounced him his beloved Son.   That heard the Adversary, who, roving still   About the world, at that assembly famed   Would not be last, and, with the voice divine   Nigh thunder-struck, the exalted man to whom   Such high attest was given a while surveyed   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 tenfold involved,   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 possessed, and ruled   In manner at our will the affairs of Earth,   Since Adam and his facile consort Eve   Lost Paradise, deceived 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 compassed, wherein we   Must bide the stroke of that long-threatened wound   (At least, if so we can, and by the head   Broken be not intended all our power   To be infringed, our freedom and our being   In this fair empire won of Earth and Air)--   For this ill news I bring: The Woman's Seed,   Destined 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, displaying   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 baptized--   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 perfet Dove descend (whate'er it meant);   And out of Heaven the sovraign voice I heard,   'This is my Son beloved,--in him am pleased.'   His mother, than, 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 opposed   (Not force, but well-couched fraud, well-woven snares),   Ere in the head of nations he appear,   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 performed   Successfully: a calmer voyage now   Will waft me; and the way found prosperous once   Induces best to hope of like success."