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PARADISO

PERDUTO.

BOOK THE FIRST.

THE ARGUMENT.

The first Book proposes , first in brief, the whole subject, Man's

disobedience and the loss thereapon 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 lo bis 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 bastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his angels now falling 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 place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos ; here Satan with his angels , lying on the burning lake, thuoder-struck and astonished , after a certain space recovers, as from confusion ; calls up bim who next in order and dignity Jay 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 his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep. The infernal peers there sit in council.

Or Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

LIBRO PRIMO.

ARGOMENTO.

Il primo libro espone primamente in breve l'intero subbiello, la

disobbedienza dell'uomo e però la perdita del paradiso ove egli era stato collocato ; quindi tocca la prima cagione di sua caduta, il Serpente, o meglio Satano nel Serpente; il quale ribellando a Dio e traendo a sue parti molte legioni di angeli, fu per comando di Dio cacciato del cielo con tutta la sua ciurma nel prufondo abisso: accennata questa azione, entra il poema nel mezzo de' fatti, presentando Satano cogli angeli suoi caduto or ora nell'inferno ivi descritto o posto non pel centro ( che cielo e terra debbonsi credere se non creati ancora , certamente non ancor maledetti), ma in luogo di totale tenebra , detto ottimamente Caos ; quì Satano co' suoi angeli giacente sull'ardente lago fulminato e stordito dopo un cotal poco si risente come da confusione;

chiama chi secondo ordine e dignità gli giace vicino. Essi ragionano della triste loro caduta. Satano desta tutte le sue legioni che fino allora giaceano confuse alla stessa gaisa. Elle sorgono ; loro pumero ; ordine di battaglia; nomi de' primi loro duci secondo gl'idoli conosciuti poi dopo in Canaan e'paesi vicini. Satano parla ad esse ; le conforta con isperanza di riconquistare il cielo ; ma sul fine dice loro di un nQoyo mondo e di un nuovo genere di creature da crearsi, giusta l'antica profezia o fama ia cielo; poichè fu opinione di molti antichi padri, che gli angeli erano assai prima di questa visibile creazione. A cercare la verità di questa profezia e risolvere su ciò, Satano la riserisce ad un pieno concilio. Che tentano quindi i suoi compagni. Pandemonio, regia di Satano, sorge improvvisamente edificato dal profondo. I pari infernali vi si accolgono in concilio.

Dell

' uomo il primo inobbedir e il frutto

Di quel arbor vietato che la morte

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, heavenly 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 Heavens 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 adventurous song ,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit! that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings out-spread,
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark,
Illumine: what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heaven 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 Heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?
Th’infernal Serpent: he it was, whose guile,

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