Essay Eye Behold A Pale Horse Wiki

Paradise Lost (1667, 1674) is an epic poem by the 17th century English poet John Milton. The poem concerns the Christian story of the fall of Satan and his brethren and the rise of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Note that chapter and line references correspond with the 1674 version of the text, available online here.

Book I[edit]

  • Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
    Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
    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.
  • 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.
  • The infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile,
    Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
    The mother of mankind.
  • 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.
  • As far as angels' ken.
  • Yet from those flames
    No light, but rather darkness visible.
  • Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
    And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
    That comes at all.
  • What though the field be lost?
    All is not lost; th’ unconquerable will,
    And study of revenge, immortal hate,
    And courage never to submit or yield.
  • To be weak is miserable,
    Doing or suffering.
  • And out of good still to find means of evil.
  • Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate
    With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
    That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
    Prone on the flood, extended long and large
    Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
    As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
    Titanian, or Earth-born, that warred on Jove,
    Briareos or Typhon, whom the den
    By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
    Leviathan, which God created of all his works
    Created hugest that swim th' Ocean stream.
  • Farewell happy fields,
    Where joy forever dwells: hail, horrors!
  • A mind not to be changed by place or time.
    The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.
    • Lines 253-55. See also Book IV, line 75.
  • […] Here at least
    we shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
    Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
    Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
    to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
    Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
  • Heard so oft
    In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
    Of battle.
  • His spear, to equal which the tallest pine
    Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast
    Of some great ammiral were but a wand,
    He walk'd with to support uneasy steps
    Over the burning marle.
  • Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
    In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
    High over-arch'd imbower.
  • Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.
  • Spirits when they please
    Can either sex assume, or both.
  • Execute their airy purposes.
  • And, when night
    Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
    Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
  • Th' imperial ensign, which full high advanc'd
    Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind.
    • Line 536. Compare: "Stream'd like a meteor to the troubled air", Thomas Gray, The Bard, i. 2, line 6.
  • Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
    At which the universal host up sent
    A shout that tore hell's concave, and beyond
    Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
  • Anon they move
    In perfect phalanx, to the Dorian mood
    Of flutes and soft recorders.
  • His form had yet not lost
    All her original brightness, nor appear'd
    Less than archangel ruin'd, and th' excess
    Of glory obscur'd.
  • In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
    On half the nations, and with fear of change
    Perplexes monarchs.
  • Thrice he assay'd, and thrice in spite of scorn
    Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth.
  • For who can yet believe, though after loss,
    That all these puissant legions, whose exile
    Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend,
    Self-raised, and repossess their native seat?
  • Who overcomes
    By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
  • Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
    From heaven; for ev’n in heaven his looks and thoughts
    Were always downward bent, admiring more
    The riches of heaven’s pavement, trodden gold,
    Than aught divine or holy else enjoy’d
    In vision beatific.
  • Let none admire
    That riches grow in hell; that soil may best
    Deserve the precious bane.
  • Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
    Rose, like an exhalation.
  • From morn
    To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
    A summer's day; and with the setting sun
    Dropped from the zenith like a falling star.
  • Fairy elves,
    Whose midnight revels by a forest side
    Or fountain some belated peasant sees,
    Or dreams he sees, while overhead the moon
    Sits arbitress.

Book II[edit]

  • High on a throne of royal state, which far
    Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
    Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
    Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
    Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
    To that bad eminence; and from despair
    Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
    Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
    Vain war with heav'n.
  • Surer to prosper than prosperity
    Could have assur'd us.
  • The strongest and the fiercest spirit
    That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair.
  • Rather than be less
    Cared not to be at all.
  • My sentence is for open War; Of Wiles,
    More unexpert, I boast not: them let those
    Contrive who need, or when they need, not now.
    For while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
    Millions that stand in Arms, and longing wait
    The Signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here,
    Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling place
    Accept this dark opprobrious Den of shame,
    The Prison of his Tyranny who Reigns
    By our delay? no, let us rather choose,
    Arm'd with Hell flames and fury all at once
    O'er Heaven's high Tow'rs to force resistless way,
    Turning our Tortures into horrid Arms
    Against the Torturer.
  • That in our proper motion we ascend
    Up to our native seat: descent and fall
    To us is adverse.
  • When the scourge
    Inexorable and the torturing hour
    Call us to penance.
  • Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.
  • But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
    Dropp'd manna, and could make the worse appear
    The better reason, to perplex and dash
    Maturest counsels.
    • Lines 112-114. Compare: "Aristophanes turns Socrates into ridicule…as making the worse appear the better reason", Diogenes Laërtius, Socrates, v.
  • Th' ethereal mould
    Incapable of stain would soon expel
    Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
    Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
    Is flat despair: we must exasperate
    Th' Almighty Victor to spend all his rage;
    And that must end us; that must be our cure--
    To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,
    Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
    Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
    To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
    In the wide womb of uncreated Night,
    Devoid of sense and motion?
    • Lines 142-51. Compare: "Our hope is loss, our hope but sad despair", William Shakespeare, Henry VI. part iii. act ii, scene. 3.
  • His red right hand.
    • Line 174. Compare: "Rubente dextera", Horace, Ode i. 2, 2.
  • Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd.
  • The never-ending flight
    Of future days.
  • Thus Belial with words clothed in reason's garb
    Counseled ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
    Not peace.
  • Our torments also may in length of time
    Become our elements.
  • With grave
    Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
    A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven
    Deliberation sat and public care;
    And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
    Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood,
    With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
    The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
    Drew audience and attention still as night
    Or summer's noontide air.
  • To sit in darkness here
    Hatching vain empires.
  • The palpable obscure.
  • Long is the way
    And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light.
    • Lines 432-33.
      • Compare: "Facilis descensus Averni: Noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis; Sed revocare gradium superasque evadere ad auras, Hoc opus, hic labor est." Virgil, Aeneid, iv. 128. ("The gates of hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way: But to return, and view the cheerful skies, In this the task and mighty labor lies." —Dryden.)
  • Their rising all at once was as the sound
    Of thunder heard remote.
  • The low'ring element
    Scowls o'er the darken'd landscape.
  • Oh, shame to men! devil with devil damn'd
    Firm concord holds, men only disagree
    Of creatures rational.
  • In discourse more sweet;
    For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense.
    Others apart sat on a hill retired,
    In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high
    Of Providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
    Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,
    And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost.
  • Vain wisdom all and false philosophy.
  • Arm th' obdur'd breast
    With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
  • A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog
    Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old,
    Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air
    Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire.
    Thither by harpy-footed Furies hal'd,
    At certain revolutions all the damn'd
    Are brought, and feel by turns the bitter change
    Of fierce extremes,—extremes by change more fierce;
    From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
    Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
    Immovable, infix'd, and frozen round,
    Periods of time; thence hurried back to fire.
  • O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,
    Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death.
  • Gorgons and Hydras and Chimæras dire.
  • The other shape,
    If shape it might be call'd that shape had none
    Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
    Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd,
    For each seem'd either,—black it stood as night,
    Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell,
    And shook a dreadful dart; what seem'd his head
    The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
    Satan was now at hand.
  • Whence and what art thou, execrable shape?
  • Back to thy punishment,
    False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings.
  • So spake the grisly Terror.
  • Incens'd with indignation Satan stood
    Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd
    That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
    In th' arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
    Shakes pestilence and war.
  • Their fatal hands
    No second stroke intend.
  • Hell
    Grew darker at their frown.
  • I fled, and cry'd out, DEATH!
    Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
    From all her caves, and back resounded, DEATH!
  • Before mine eyes in opposition sits
    Grim Death, my son and foe.
  • Death
    Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
    His famine should be fill'd.
  • On a sudden open fly,
    With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
    Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
    Harsh thunder.
  • Where eldest Night
    And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold
    Eternal anarchy amidst the noise
    Of endless wars, and by confusion stand;
    For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champions fierce,
    Strive here for mast'ry.
  • Into this wilde Abyss,
    The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,
    Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
    But all these in thir pregnant causes mixt
    Confus'dly, and which thus must ever fight,
    Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain
    His dark materials to create more Worlds,
    Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend
    Stood on the brink of Hell and look'd a while,
    Pondering his Voyage.
  • To compare
    Great things with small.
    • Line 921. Compare: "Compare great things with small", Virgil, Eclogues, i. 24; Georgics, iv. 176; Abraham Cowley, The Motto; John Dryden, Ovid, Metamorphoses, book i. line 727; Thomas Tickell, Poem on Hunting; Alexander Pope, Windsor Forest.
  • O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
    With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
    And swims or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.
  • With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
    Confusion worse confounded.
  • So he with difficulty and labour hard
    Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour he.
  • And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
    This pendent world, in bigness as a star
    Of smallest magnitude, close by the moon.

Book III[edit]

  • Hail, holy light! offspring of heav'n first born.
  • The rising world of waters dark and deep.
  • Thoughts that voluntary move
    Harmonious numbers.
  • Thus with the year
    Seasons return; but not to me returns
    Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
    Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
    Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
    But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
    Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
    Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
    Presented with a universal blank
    Of Nature's works to me expunged and razed,
    And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
  • I made him just and right,
    Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
  • Golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
    With joy and love triumphing.
  • Dark with excessive bright.
  • Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars,
    White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery.
  • Into a limbo large and broad, since call'd
    The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown.
  • Neither man nor angel can discern
    Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
  • Lines 682-684.
  • And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
    At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
    Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
    Where no ill seems.

Book IV[edit]

  • The hell within him.
  • Now conscience wakes despair
    That slumber'd,—wakes the bitter memory
    Of what he was, what is, and what must be
  • At whose sight all the stars
    Hide their diminish'd heads.
    • Line 34. Compare: "Ye little stars! hide our diminished rays", Alexander Pope, Moral Essays, epistle iii. line 282.
  • A grateful mind
    By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
    Indebted and discharg'd.
  • Me miserable! which way shall I fly
    Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
    Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
    And in the lowest deep a lower deep,
    Still threat’ning to devour me, opens wide,
    To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
  • Such joy ambition finds.
  • Ease would recant
    Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
    For never can true reconcilement grow,
    Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.
  • So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
    Farewell remorse; all good to me is lost.
    Evil, be thou my good.
  • That practis'd falsehood under saintly shew,
    Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge.
  • Sabean odours from the spicy shore
    Of Araby the Blest.
  • And on the Tree of Life,
    The middle tree and highest there that grew,
    Sat like a cormorant.
  • A heaven on earth.
  • Flowers worthy of paradise.
  • Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.
    • Line 256. Compare: "But ne'er the rose without the thorn", Robert Herrick, The Rose.
  • Proserpine gathering flowers,
    Herself a fairer flower.
  • Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
    Godlike erect, with native honor clad
    In naked majesty seemed lords of all.
  • For contemplation he and valor formed,
    For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
    He for God only, she for God in him.
    His fair large front and eye sublime declar'd
    Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
    Round from his parted forelock manly hung
    Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad.
  • Implied
    Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
    And by her yielded, by him best received,
    Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
    And sweet reluctant amorous delay.
  • Adam the goodliest man of men since born
    His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
  • So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,
    The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.
    • Lines 393-394. Compare: "Necessity is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves", William Pitt the Younger, Speech on the India Bill, November, 1783.
  • As Jupiter
    On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds
    That shed May flowers.
  • Imparadis'd in one another's arms.
  • Live while ye may,
    Yet happy pair.
  • Knowledge forbidd'n?
    Suspicious, reasonless. Why should thir Lord
    Envie them that? can it be sin to know,
    Can it be death? and do they onely stand
    By Ignorance, is that thir happie state,
    The proof of thir obedience and thir faith?
    O fair foundation laid whereon to build
    Thir ruine! Hence I will excite thir minds
    With more desire to know, and to reject
    Envious commands, invented with designe
    To keep them low whom knowledge might exalt
    Equal with Gods; aspiring to be such,
    They taste and die: what likelier can ensue?
  • Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
    Had in her sober livery all things clad
    Silence accompany'd; for beast and bird,
    They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
    Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
    She all night long her amorous descant sung;
    Silence was pleas'd. Now glow'd the firmament
    With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
    The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
    Rising in clouded majesty, at length
    Apparent queen unveil'd her peerless light,
    And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
  • The wakeful nightingale,
    She all night long her amorous descant sung;
    Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament
    With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
    The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
    Rising in clouded majesty, at length
    Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light,
    And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
  • The timely dew of sleep.
  • With thee conversing I forget all time,
    All seasons, and their change; all please alike.
    Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
    With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun
    When first on this delightful land he spreads
    His orient beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
    Glist'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
    After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
    Of grateful ev'ning mild; then silent night
    With this her solemn bird and this fair moon,
    And these the gems of heaven, her starry train:
    But neither breath of morn when she ascends
    With charm of earliest birds, nor rising sun
    On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flower,
    Glist'ring with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
    Nor grateful ev'ning mild, nor silent night
    With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon
    Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
  • Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
    Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep.
  • In naked beauty more adorn'd,
    More lovely than Pandora.
    • Line 713. Compare: "When unadorned, adorned the most", James Thomson, Autumn, line 204.
  • Eased the putting off
    These troublesome disguises which we wear.
  • Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source
    Of human offspring.
  • Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve.
  • Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
    Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can endure
    Touch of celestial temper.
  • Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
    The lowest of your throng.
  • Abashed the Devil stood,
    And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
    Virtue in her shape how lovely.
    —saw, and pined his loss.
  • Came not all hell broke loose?
  • Like Teneriff or Atlas unremoved.
  • The starry cope
    Of heaven.
  • Fled
    Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.

Book V[edit]

  • Now morn, her rosy steps in th' eastern clime
    Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl,
    When Adam wak'd, so custom'd; for his sleep
    Was aery light, from pure digestion bred.
  • Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
    Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
    Shot forth peculiar graces.
  • My latest found,
    Heaven's last, best gift, my ever new delight!
  • Good, the more
    Communicated, more abundant grows.
  • These are thy glorious works, Parent of good.
  • Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
  • Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
    If better thou belong not to the dawn.
  • Fountains, and ye, that warble, as ye flow,
    Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
  • A wilderness of sweets.
  • Another morn
    Ris'n on mid-noon.
  • So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
    She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent.
  • Nor jealousy
    Was understood, the injured lover's hell.
  • The bright consummate flower.
  • Freely we serve,
    Because we freely love, as in our will
    To love or not; in this we stand or fall.
  • What if earth
    Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein
    Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?
  • Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers.
  • All seemed well pleased, all seemed but were not all.
  • They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
    Quaff immortality and joy.
  • Satan; so call him now, his former name
    Is heard no more in heaven.
  • Midnight brought on the dusky hour
    Friendliest to sleep and silence.
  • Innumerable as the stars of night,
    Or stars of morning, dewdrops which the sun
    Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
  • Will ye submit your necks, and chuse to bend
    The supple knee? ye will not, if I trust
    To know ye right, or if ye know your selves
    Natives and Sons of Heav'n possest before
    By none, and if not equal all, yet free,
    Equally free; for Orders and Degrees
    Jarr not with liberty, but well consist.
    Who can in reason then or right assume
    Monarchie over such as live by right...
  • So spake the seraph Abdiel, faithful found;
    Among the faithless, faithful only he.

Book VI[edit]

  • Morn,
    Waked by the circling hours, with rosy hand
    Unbarred the gates of light.
  • Servant of God, well done, well hast thou fought
    The better fight, who single hast maintained
    Against revolted multitudes the cause
    Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms.
  • How few somtimes may know, when thousands err.
  • Arms on armour clashing bray'd
    Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
    Of brazen chariots rag'd: dire was the noise
    Of conflict.
  • Spirits that live throughout,
    Vital in every part, not as frail man,
    In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,
    Cannot but by annihilating die.
  • Far off his coming shone.
  • In heavenly spirits could such perverseness dwell?
    • Line 788. Compare: "Tantaene animis coelestibus irae?", Virgil, Aeneid, i. 16.

Book VII[edit]

  • More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged
    To hoarse or mute, though fall'n, and evil tongues;
    In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
    And solitude.
  • Still govern thou my song,
    Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
  • Out of one man a race
    Of men innumerable.
  • Heaven open'd wide
    Her ever during gates, harmonious sound,
    On golden hinges moving.
  • On heav'nly ground they stood, and from the shore
    They view'd the vast immeasurable Abyss
    Outrageous as a Sea, dark, wasteful, wilde,
    Up from the bottom turn'd by furious windes
    And surging waves, as Mountains to assault
    Heav'ns highth, and with the Center mix the Pole.
    "Silence, ye troubl'd waves, and thou Deep, peace!"
    Said then th' Omnific Word, "Your discord end!"
    Nor staid, but on the Wings of Cherubim
    Uplifted, in Paternal Glorie rode
    Farr into Chaos, and the World unborn;
    For Chaos heard his voice: him all his Traine
    Follow'd in bright procession to behold
    Creation, and the wonders of his might.
    Then staid the fervid Wheeles, and in his hand
    He took the golden Compasses, prepar'd
    In Gods Eternal store, to circumscribe
    This Universe, and all created things:
    One foot he center'd, and the other turn'd
    Round through the vast profunditie obscure,
    And said, "Thus farr extend, thus farr thy bounds,
    This be thy just Circumference, O World!"
  • Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
    Repairing, in their golden urns draw light.
  • There Leviathan
    Hugest of living creatures, on the deep
    Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims,
    And seems a moving land, and at his gills
    Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out a sea.
  • Now half appear'd
    The tawny lion, pawing to get free
    His hinder parts.
  • Indu'd
    With sanctity of reason.
  • The planets in their stations list'ning stood,
    While the bright pomp ascended jubilant.
    Open, ye everlasting gates, they sung,
    Open ye heavens, your living doors; let in
    The great Creator from his work returned
    Magnificent, his six days' work, a world.
  • A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold,
    And pavement stars,—as stars to thee appear
    Seen in the galaxy, that milky way
    Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest
    Powder'd with stars.

Book VIII[edit]

  • The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
    So charming left his voice that he awhile
    Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear.
  • There swift return
    Diurnal, merely to officiate light
    Round this opacous earth, this punctual spot.
  • And grace that won who saw to wish her stay.
  • And touch'd by her fair tendance, gladlier grew.
  • With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er,
    Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb.
  • Her silent course advance
    With inoffensive pace, that spinning sleeps
    On her soft axle.
  • Be lowly wise:
    Think only what concerns thee and thy being.
  • To know
    That which before us lies in daily life
    Is the prime wisdom.
  • Liquid lapse of murmuring streams.
  • And feel that I am happier than I know.
  • Among unequals what society
    Can sort, what harmony, or true delight?
  • Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,
    In every gesture dignity and love.
  • Her virtue and the conscience of her worth,
    That would be wooed, and not unsought be won.
  • She what was honour knew,
    And with obsequious majesty approv'd
    My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
    I led her blushing like the morn; all heaven
    And happy constellations on that hour
    Shed their selectest influence; the earth
    Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill;
    Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs
    Whisper'd it to the woods, and from their wings
    Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub.
  • The sum of earthly bliss.
  • So absolute she seems
    And in herself complete, so well to know
    Her own, that what she wills to do or say,
    Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best.
  • Accuse not Nature: she hath done her part;
    Do thou but thine.
  • Ofttimes nothing profits more
    Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
    Well managed.
    • Lines 571-573. Compare: "But most of all respect thyself", a precept of the Pythagoreans, attributed to Pythagoras.
  • Those graceful acts,
    Those thousand decencies that daily flow
    From all her words and actions.
  • With a smile that glow'd
    Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue.

Book IX[edit]

  • My unpremeditated verse.
  • Pleas'd me, long choosing and beginning late.
  • Not sedulous by Nature to indite
    Warrs, hitherto the onely Argument
    Heroic deem'd, chief maistrie to dissect
    With long and tedious havoc fabl'd Knights
    In Battels feign'd; the better fortitude
    Of Patience and Heroic Martyrdom
  • Unless an age too late, or cold
    Climate, or years, damp my intended wing.
  • The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
  • Revenge, at first though sweet,
    Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.
  • The work under our labour grows,
    Luxurious by restraint.
  • Smiles from reason flow,
    To brute deny'd, and are of love the food.
  • For solitude sometimes is best society,
    And short retirement urges sweet return.
  • At shut of evening flowers.
  • Go in thy native innocence, rely
    On what thou hast of virtue; summon all!
    For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine.
  • As one who long in populous city pent,
    Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air.
  • So gloz'd the tempter.
  • Hope elevates, and joy
    Brightens his crest.
  • God so commanded, and left that command
    Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live
    Law to ourselves, our reason is our law.
    • Lines 652-654. Compare: "Stern daughter of the voice of God", William Wordsworth, Ode to Duty.
  • Her rash hand in evil hour
    Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat:
    Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat,
    Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe
    That all was lost.
  • So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
    I could endure, without him live no life.
  • In her face excuse
    Came prologue, and apology too prompt.
  • O fairest of creation! last and best
    Of all God's works! creature in whom excelled
    Whatever can to sight or thought be formed,
    Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
    How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
    Defaced, deflowered, and now to Death devote?
  • I feel
    The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
    Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
    Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.
  • Our state cannot be severed; we are one,
    One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.
  • A pillar'd shade
    High overarch'd, and echoing walks between.

Book X[edit]

  • I shall temper so
    Justice with mercy.
  • So scented the grim Feature, and upturn'd
    His nostril wide into the murky air,
    Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
  • Pandemonium, city and proud seat
    Of Lucifer.
  • A dismal universal hiss, the sound
    Of public scorn.
  • Death...on his pale horse.
  • Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
    To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
    From darkness to promote me?
  • How gladly would I meet
    Mortality my sentence, and be earth
    Insensible! how glad would lay me down
    As in my mother's lap!

Book XI[edit]

  • Must I thus leave thee, Paradise?—thus leave
    Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades?
  • Then purg'd with euphrasy and rue
    The visual nerve, for he had much to see.
  • Moping melancholy
    And moon-struck madness.
  • And over them triumphant Death his dart
    Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invok'd.
  • So may'st thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop
    Into thy mother's lap.
  • Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st
    Live well; how long or short permit to Heaven.
    • Lines 553-554. Compare: "Summum nec metuas diem, nec optes" (Translated: "Neither fear nor wish for your last day"), Martial, lib. x. epigram 47, line 13.
  • A bevy of fair women.
  • The evening star,
    Love's harbinger.
  • The brazen throat of war.
  • For now I see
    Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste.

Book XII[edit]

  • In me is no delay; with thee to go,
    Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
    Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
    Art all things under heaven, all places thou,
    Who for my willful crime art banished hence.
  • Some natural tears they dropp'd, but wip'd them soon;
    The world was all before them, where to choose
    Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
    They hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow
    Through Eden took their solitary way.

About Paradise Lost[edit]

  • A poem which, considered with respect to design, may claim the first place, and with respect to performance the second, among the productions of the human mind.
    • Samuel Johnson, Lives of the English Poets (1781), "The Life of Milton".
  • The want of human interest is always felt. Paradise Lost is one of the books which the reader admires and lays down, and forgets to take up again. None ever wished it longer than it is. Its perusal is a duty rather than a pleasure. We read Milton for instruction, retire harassed and overburdened, and look elsewhere for recreation; we desert our master, and seek for companions.
    • Samuel Johnson, Lives of the English Poets (1781), "The Life of Milton".

External links[edit]

Golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and love triumphing.
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat.
Incens'd with indignation Satan stood
Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In th' arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war.

rating: +101+–x

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

The living creature thrashed in its slumber, twitching and jerking in its never-ending agony.

It wasn't in pain because of the acid bath, or the radiation, or the injected chemicals coursing through its body. It barely felt those. In fact, it had almost never felt any pain from anything the humans had done, no matter how many times they'd nearly destroyed its body. Its agony was the same anywhere it went, no matter what it was doing, no matter what was done to it, only lessened in the presence of one, never stopped.

A voice echoed in the living creature's mind.

You have endured your suffering long enough. Your punishment is finished.

Emotions flew through the living creature's mind. Incomprehension and disbelief, then joy, then regret, then sorrow.

All is forgiven. Once more, you are one of Mine, and you will never pass from My sight again.

The living creature felt elation - gratitude and elation beyond compare.

Dr. Alto Clef watched SCP-682 from the viewing deck above its new enclosure in Area 1032. The creature writhed in its massive holding tank. Its mouth was moving, though vital sign readouts confirmed that it was unconscious. Through the new acid mixture, you could still see it rapidly regenerating. But the mix was working excellently, in combination with the K103-particle bombardment and the chemical cocktail regularly injected into the creature's veins by darts fired from slots in the inner tank.

Really, Clef wanted this containment to work perfectly because he was so goddamn tired of SCP-682. The years of failed termination tests. The constant containment breaches. The body count numbering in the thousands. He'd known some of the people on that list. A few too many.

Clef had honestly expected 682 to breach containment at a dozen points during its transport to the newly built Area. He'd expected it to breach containment when they removed it from its original chamber at Site 19. He'd been expecting it to breach containment for the past two weeks. Hell, he was still expecting it to breach containment now.

But so far, so…

SCP-682 stopped moving, all at once. Simultaneously, a warning alert came up on the monitor readout.

Clef's eyes narrowed as he read it.

The living creature's entire being suffused with light. The acid and the radiation and the chemicals ceased to affect it. The suffering and horror and fear drained away like water.

To the living creature, it was like its eyes opening for the first time in thousands of years.

Its vast wings, once cut from its back as punishment for its sins, sprouted once again.

It spread its wings and flew.

Chaos. 682 ripped through the walls of its tank, then the walls of the inner containment chamber. The MTF squads opened fire as it entered the secondary containment chamber. Clef didn't wait to see what would happen. He left the observation deck.

At this rate, 682 was going to breach into the Area at large in only minutes. When it did, it would be able to kill a lot more people, before it was either contained or the last-resort nuke went off. Clef did not intend to sit by while that happened.

He went to the office behind the observation deck, opened the safe in the back, and took out his backup gun.

"Gun" was somewhat of an understatement. "Cannon" might have been a better description. The PSX820 was a testosterone-fueled monstrosity straight from a 90's video game. It was an incredibly expensive weapon, designed initially to take down certain anomalous, heavily-armored vehicles. In testing it had been able to reduce 682's mass by up to 65%, depending on the power setting and how well you aimed.

Clef had never been what you'd call a crack shot at close range. Not without a perfectly calibrated scope. But with a cannon like this, you didn't really need to aim.

He took the elevator down to the outer containment chamber, and arrived not a moment too soon, judging from the racket coming from behind the—

682 burst through the tertiary containment doors. Wasting not a second, Clef fired the cannon directly into the monster's face.

The blast washed over the creature just as harmlessly as if Clef had been blasting it with a garden hose.

Tendrils sprouted from 682's form and ripped through Clef's body.

It was different, somehow — changed —

Shock. Then, loss of consciousness.

The darkness receded for a little.

Clef tried to prop himself up. Tried to reach the case of plastic explosives attached to his belt. But he couldn't get his fingers to move the right ways. Could hardly move at all.

682 prowled restlessly across the other side of the outer containment chamber. It didn't look like the same 682 anymore, though. It was entirely a pale off-white color. Still sort of reptilian in appearance, but mostly covered in feathers and quills. It moved less like a lizard and more like a lion, complete with feathery mane.

It had two wings folded along its back. It never had wings before.

"Fucking… Lament…" Clef muttered. "I'm gonna kick your ass so hard if…"

If 682 didn't stop ignoring him again and finish the job of killing him. If he didn't bleed to death here on the floor. If he didn't get rescued and then die of some weird 682-transmitted infection. If he survived but could ever walk again. Pretty big ifs.

And then 682 turned to look at him. Six reflective eyes blinked in the feathers on its face.

"Lament," 682 said. "I recognize the name."

Clef had heard 682 speak comprehensibly on only one other occasion, that recorded in its general-access file. "Disgusting." Inexplicably spoken in guttural English. Half of what little understanding of 682's psychology that they had. Off-the-record, researchers often assumed it had started out human. Some kind of reality bender gone wrong.

Its voice was very different now. And it wasn't speaking English. Some alien song-like sounds that for some reason Clef could understand perfectly.

"Yes. Troy Lament. The man born Jeremiah Colton. The containment specialist who designed this new prison for you."

It was conversing with him. Also… Jeremiah Colton?

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Clef said. "But I suspect you're going to tell me."

682 seemed to hesitate. "He is not the only one of yours with a false name. I know who you are, Alto Clef."

Clef laughed. He was getting dizzy. "Then you should know what will happen if you kill anyone else in this containment site. The Chowder-Clef Containment Protocol activates. Then it's boom, boom, boom all the way home. And that's just the beginning. You think you know pain? You have no idea. Not even the slightest clue. The plans I've set up will haunt you to the ends of the earth and beyond."

"You are lying. There is no such Chowder-Clef Containment Protocol. I know who you are. I know what you are."

"Of course I am lying." Focus. Focus. "I'm the Devil, remember? Just when you think I'm down for the count, I'll be back to stop you, roaming the Earth like a roaring lion…"

"You may have once loved the goddess, the mother of demons," 682 said, "but that does not make you the Devil."

"You'll take Lilith's shtick seriously, but you can't cut me a little bit of…" Clef coughed. "Slack?" Blood. Figured. "Looks like you got me good, either way."

"I have not killed you. Only disabled you. You will be retrieved by your underlings when I leave. You will need weeks to recover, but you have not been permanently injured in any way that your Foundation cannot fix."

"Well, that's… awesome. Very kind of you," Clef said. "We're bros now, huh? That's it?"

682 watched him with its many new eyes.

"So goddamn chatty all of a sudden. Why the hell haven't you killed me?" Clef asked.

"There will be much death to come," the creature said. "And there are other reasons, which are my own."

"That… that time when they shoved me in your containment cell," Clef said. "Why didn't you kill me then?"

"I was unsure what you were. Due to the alterations made to you. It gave me pause. Confusion. I thought perhaps… you were one of His servants, come for me at long last. I thought… No matter. Now that I have returned to my glorified form, I can see you for who and what you are."

"Glorified form? What the hell are you, anyway? What the hell are you doing here?"

"I wait. The others have ridden forth already. Conquest, War, and Famine. Only I remain."

"…The Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Clef laughed out of sheer disbelief. "And you're… what? Conquest, War and Famine… That makes you Death, doesn't it." He laughed again. "Death. Huh. Should have called that…"

"I am not Death," 682 said. "I am her Steed."

"Her Steed?"

"Yes. I await my Rider." 682 raised its head abruptly. "She comes. It is time for me to go."

"Wait!" Clef tried harder to focus. "Why didn't you kill me? Who is your Rider? What are you planning to do? What…" More questions that he should have asked already. Needed to delay the monster more. Get as much information as possible. But the words were all slipping through his mental fingers like grains of sand.

"For what it's worth, Alto Clef. I am sorry."

Clef processed that for a long moment. His vision had gone blurry.

"Why are you sorry? Thought you said… that I wasn't gonna die."

"I am sorry for everything that I have done to you and yours. I am sorry for all the innocents I have killed. I am sorry for all that I have done which you do not know of. And though I am not responsible, I am sorry for everything else you have lost. I am sorry that there is nothing I can do to make amends for any of it. My Master calls."

Clef tried to think of a witty rejoinder. Everything was so cloudy…

"Above all, I am sorry for all that is to come." 682 seemed to be moving away. "Goodbye, Alto Clef."

Alto Clef slipped away again into unconsciousness.

Excerpt from Surveillance Log x16012113441, Date █-██-████

<██05> Biohazard Level 4 Alert. Site-17 enters Accelerated Lockdown due to multiple containment breaches.

<██56> Instances of SCP-098 enter Site-17. SCP-098 instances display previously uncatalogued behavior and morphology.

<██08> Site-17 Security Team Bravo engages SCP-098 in hallway C-10.

<██12> Site-17 Security Team Bravo neutralized.

<██13> SCP-098 swarm proceeds to containment facility for SCP-053.

<██20> Containment Breach. SCP-098 swarm enters SCP-053's containment chambers. SCP-053 reacts with apparent familiarity.

<██32> SCP-098 swarm breaches lockdown and accompanies SCP-053 off premises of Site-17.

The living creature met the little girl for the second time in several thousand years and nuzzled her with delight. She kissed him, giggled a girlish giggle, and climbed onto his back.

Reunited with her Steed at last, Death rode hard towards the vast army of angels to join their march across the world.

And Hell followed with them.


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