Book 2: Satan holds counsel and begins his journey

THE ARGUMENT.—The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle is to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan—to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created. Their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search: Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage; is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways and to several imployments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell-gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven. With what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new World which he sought.

tl;dr Satan basically holds a "debate/discussion" about what to do to get even with Heaven. Satan eventually suggests going after God's special creatures in Eden. Overall, Satan is going to do what he wants regardless of how everyone in Hell feels.


HIGH on a throne of royal state, which far

Satan was sitting on his throne
Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,

which was a lot nicer and fancier
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand

than any other chair on the market.
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,

Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
Satan finally felt like a "King."
To that bad eminence; and, from despair

Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires

He felt as though he deserved everything about
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue

his status, but being the prideful jerk he was, he wanted more
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,

Instead of learning from his mistake of warring with Heaven, he wanted to fight again.
His proud imaginations thus displayed:—
He decided to let his buddies know what was on his mind.
  “Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!—

"Hey you guys, so we're finally like our own bosses now
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold

down here. We've still go our immortal power and nothing can stop us even though we're in Hell.
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen,

I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent

I'm not giving up on getting even with Heaven.
Celestial Virtues rising will appear
I'm pretty confident we can rise up, even more glorious than before.
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,

Heaven is going to fear us as long
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!—

as we aren't scared of losing again.
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven,

I am your true leader.
Did first create your leader—next, free choice,

We have free will, and we can do what we want.
With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit—yet this loss,

What we have accomplished so far has given us honor and glory.
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more

We're back now,
Established in a safe, unenvied throne,

and we're in a safer place that we can call our home
Yielded with full consent. The happier state

Those who rule in Heaven might be envied,
In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
Envy from each inferior; but who here

but who is going to envy those who rule in Hell?
Will envy whom the highest place exposes

Foremost to stand against the Thunderer’s aim

Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share

Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there

From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell

Precedence; none whose portion is so small

Of present pain that with ambitious mind

Will covet more! With this advantage, then,
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,

We are more firmly united
More than can be in Heaven, we now return

than we could ever be in Heaven. Now we can
To claim our just inheritance of old,

fight for what is ours.
Surer to prosper than prosperity

Could have assured us; and by what best way,
Whether of open war or covert guile,

Now it's all a matter of how we want to fight. Will it be all out war or will it be something more covert and sneaky?
We now debate. Who can advise may speak.”

Does anyone have any good ideas?"
  He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,

After Satan was done speaking, Moloch
Stood up—the strongest and the fiercest Spirit

stood up, he was the strongest and fiercest
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair.
Angel that fought in Heaven. He was stronger now because of his pain.
His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed

Moloch wanted to be as strong as God.
Equal in strength, and rather than be less

To be an equal, instead of being inferior.
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost

He was willing to risk everything for that chance
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse,

He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:—
He was also stern in his contribution to the counsel when he said:
  “My sentence is for open war. Of wiles,

"I vote for war. Because I don't know about using trickery
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those

on the battlefield. Those of you who want to plan and
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now.

conspire, you can do that on your own time!
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest—

Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
Do you really expect us to wait while we make plans?
The signal to ascend—sit lingering here,

Waiting for the time to strike?
Heaven’s fugitives, and for their dwelling-place

Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,

The prison of His tyranny who reigns

Why should we let God even continue to reign
By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
because we're delaying our attack. The time to attack is now!
Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once

With full force all at once!
O’er Heaven’s high towers to force resistless way,

Turning our tortures into horrid arms

We can turn our pain and anguish and direct it to our enemies on the battlefield
Against the torturer; when, to meet the noise

against God.
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see

Black fire and horror shot with equal rage

Among his Angels and his throne itself

Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,

His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale

It may seem hard right now, but
With upright wing against a higher foe!

we still have the advantage of taking them
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench

by surprise.
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,

That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat; descent and fall

To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,

When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear

Insulting, and pursued us through the Deep,

With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy, then;

The event is feared! Should we again provoke

Are you all afraid to make God and Heaven angry again?
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find

Seriously, what more can he do to us. We're already in
To our destruction, if there be in Hell

the worst place. We're already in Hell!
Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse
What is worse than this anyway?
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned

In this abhorred deep to utter woe;

Where pain of unextinguishable fire

Where there is endless pain
Must exercise us without hope of end

The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
And we are at the mercy of Hell's devices.
Inexorably, and the torturing hour,

Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus,

Really, how much more worse can things get?
We should be quite abolished, and expire.

If he ends up killing us, he can do that then.
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense

His utmost ire? which, to the highth enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce

To nothing this essential—happier far

If we do die, then it'll be better than
Than miserable to have eternal being!—

being here forever.
Or, if our substance be indeed Divine,

And hey, if we really are immortal and cannot be destroyed
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel

then we can use that to our advantage
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,

and harass Heaven
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,

with repeated attacks forever!
Though inaccessible, his fatal Throne:

Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.”
If we don't achieve victory, at least we'll have our revenge."
  He ended frowning, and his look denounced

When Moloch finished, his face braced for opposing opinions.
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous

To less than gods. On the other side up rose

The next to speak was Belial. He was good at acting
Belial, in act more graceful and humane.

A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed
and he was also handsome
For dignity composed, and high exploit.

But all was false and hollow, though his tongue

but he was a good con artist.
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear

The better reason, to perplex and dash

Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low—
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds

He was decietful and
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,

lazy. His voice was pleasing to the ear, and
And with persuasive accent thus began:—

persuasive. He began to speak
  “I should be much for open war, O Peers,

"War sounds good and all, but
As not behind in hate, if what was urged
Main reason to persuade immediate war

Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast

Ominous conjecture on the whole success;

When he who most excels in fact of arms,

our best warrior
In what he counsels and in what excels
Moloch seems like he is basing everything
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair

on despair and
And utter dissolution, as the scope

Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.

hope to accomplish revenge.
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled

First of all, what revenge? How can we even think of
With armèd watch, that render all access
revenge when Heaven is surrounded by guards
Impregnable: oft on the bordering Deep

Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing

Scout far and wide into the realm of Night,

and scouts that patrol the furthest borders.
Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way

There's no way we have the element of surprise on our side
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise
With blackest insurrection to confound

Heaven’s purest light, yet our great Enemy,

All incorruptible, would on his throne

I doubt we could even touch Heaven again
Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould,

Incapable of stain, would soon expel
And we'd just get thrown back into Hell as if nothing happened.
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,

Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope

Would our last hope be to
Is flat despair: we must exasperate

The Almighty Victor to spend all his rage:

make God angry enough to
And that must end us; that must be our cure—
finally just destroy us?
To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,

No. I don't want to die. Who would want that?
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? and who knows,

Even if we did want death
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe

Can give it, or will ever? How he can

I don't think God would kill us.
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.

Will He, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
God is too smart
Belike through impotence or unaware,

To give his enemies their wish, and end

to give us what we want.
Them in his anger whom his anger saves

Because you see, God wants to keep us alive
To punish endless? ‘Wherefore cease we, then?’

so he can punish us forever.
Say they who counsel war; ‘we are decreed,
Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;

Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,

And you know what, whatever we do we can't make things worse.
What can we suffer worse?’ Is this, then, worst—

Is this the worst thing right now?
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?

We're here sitting around and talking, and we even still have our weapons.
What when we fled amain, pursued and strook
Remember when we were
With Heaven’s afflicting thunder, and besought

 bombarded with Heaven's thunder?
The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed

I'd say that this Hell
A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay

is like a kind of refuge from those bolts. Or what about
Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse.

being chained to that lake? That was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
And what about those flames around us,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,

what if they exploded and covered all of us
And plunge us in the flames; or from above

in fire?
Should intermitted vengeance arm again

His red right hand to plague us? What if all

You know God can just
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,

raise a storm and
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall

ruin us again
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,

even as we plan our war
Designing or exhorting glorious war,

Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled.
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey

we can very well end up
Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk

Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains,

chained to the burning lake forever.
There to converse with everlasting groans,

Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.

Now that would be worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, alike

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm against another war, be it open
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile

or concealed through trickery.
With Him, or who deceive His mind, whose eye

Especially with God, he sees everything.
Views all things at one view? He from Heaven’s highth
He could probably be watching
All these our motions vain sees and derides,

us right now. And laughing at our plans.
Not more almighty to resist our might

He isn't just stronger than us
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.

but he can get in our minds.
Shall we, then, live thus vile—the race of Heaven

So let's just accept our new home.
Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here
Chains and these torments? Better these than worse

It's better that we have these horrors than whatever God might have planned for us if we plan on attacking again.
By my advice; since fate inevitable

Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,

We can't fight this, because this is our fate.
The Victor’s will. To suffer, as to do,

We have to suffer.
Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust
If we are strong enough to fight, we should be strong enough to
That so ordains. This was at first resolved,

take the consequences.
If we were wise, against so great a foe

Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.

I laugh when those who at the spear are bold

It's funny that fighters can be so brave yet
And ventrous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear
they act surprised when they find out
What yet they know must follow—to endure

that they have to
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,

suffer consequences if they
The sentence of their conqueror. This is now

end up losing. We lost.
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,

If we just shut up and accept our defeat
Our Supreme Foe in time may such remit
then maybe God will leave us alone
His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,

He might forget about us
Not mind us not offending, satisfied

and be satisfied with the results.
With what is punished; whence these raging fires

Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.

Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel;

Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed

We could get used to it down here and be just fine.
In temper and in nature, will receive

Familiar the fierce heat; and void of pain,

This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
Besides what hope the never-ending flight

We don't know what the future
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change

will bring. Things may be different. But it
Worth waiting—since our present lot appears

is worth the wait I think.
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,

Let's just wait and see what happens, I don't
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.”
want to make things worse."
  Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason’s garb,

Belial stopped his speech.
Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,

It was a lazy contribution from him.
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:—

Mammon stepped up to speak.
  “Either to disinthrone the King of Heaven

We war, if war be best, or to regain
"Our chances of winning are slim if we did engage in war again.
Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then

May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield

To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife.

The former, vain to hope, argues as vain

and there is no point in hoping for the best.
The latter; for what place can be for us
If we want to regain
Within Heaven’s bound, unless Heaven’s Lord Supreme

what we have lost
We overpower? Suppose he should relent,

we might have to fight for it.
And publish grace to all, on promise made

What if God forgives us if we promise to worship him
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we

Stand in his presence humble, and receive
Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne

and follow his laws
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing

sing and praise him
Forced Halleluiahs, while he lordly sits

Our envied sovran, and his altar breathes

Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
and bring him flowers?
Our servile offerings? This must be our task

In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome

Eternity so spent in worship paid

I wouldn't want to spend an eternity doing that.
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue,

Especially for someone that we hate. Let's forget about
By force impossible, by leave obtained
trying to wage a war that we know we can't win
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state

and forget about trying to get back into Heave
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek

just to be enslaved yet again.
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own

Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,

Let's make the best of what we have here.
Free and none accountable, preferring
It's better to be
Hard liberty before the easy yoke

free and liberated here than to be slaves in Heaven.
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear

I'd say, it's more impressive if we end up thriving
Then most conspicuous when great things of small,

under these poor conditions.
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,

We can create, and in what place soe’er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain

Through labour and indurance. This deep world

There's really
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst

nothing so terrible about this darkness in Hell.
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven’s all-ruling Sire

Choose to reside, his glory unobscured,
And with the majesty of darkness round

Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar,

Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell!

As He our darkness, cannot we His light

God can create darkness out of light.
Imitate when we please? This desart soil
Why can't we do the same and create light out of darkness?
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;

We found riches under this ground
Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise

and we can build great things.
Magnificence; and what can Heaven shew more?

What does Heaven have to offer more than all of this?
Our torments also may, in length of time,

I'm sure, that in due time
Become our elements, these piercing fires
these painful flames
As soft as now severe, our temper changed

won't hurt as much
Into their temper; which must needs remove

The sensible of pain. All things invite

and we will get used to Hell.
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state

Let's instead find ways to
Of order, how in safety best we may
make things better down here
Compose our present evils, with regard

and improve our conditions.
Of what we are and where, dismissing quite

All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.”

Let's just forget about war altogether."
  He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled

When he had finished speaking, there was murmuring
The assembly as when hollow rocks retain
coming from everyone.
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long

Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull

Seafaring men o’erwatched, whose bark by chance,

Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay

After the tempest. Such applause was heard
It seemed as though everyone was pleased by the speech.
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased,

Advising peace: for such another field

The concept of peace and not going to war
They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear

was enough for them.
Of thunder and the sword of Michaël

Wrought still within them; and no less desire
Although they were still a bit mad,
To found this nether empire, which might rise,

they were looking forward to building their own empire in
By policy and long process’ of time,

Hell  that would
In emulation opposite to Heaven.

maybe someday match Heaven.
Which when Beëlzebub perceived—than whom,

Satan except, none higher sat—with grave
who was next in rank to Satan
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed

stood up.
A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven

Deliberation sat, and public care;

And princely counsel in his face yet shon,

He had a concerned look on his face.
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

The audience became silent in anticipation.
Or summer’s noontide air, while thus he spake:—

  “Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven,
"Imperial Powers...Sons of Heaven...
Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now

Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called

or should I say
Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote Princes of Hell? If that's what you want to be called.
Inclines—here to continue, and build up here

It seems like all of you want to build an ideal empire
A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream;
down here.
And know not that the king of Heaven hath doomed

This place our dungeon—not our safe retreat

Don't forget that we are still captives here, and this shouldn't
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt

be considered a safe retreat away from
From Heaven’s high jurisdiction, in new league

Heaven and God's law.
Banded against his throne, but to remain
In strictest bondage, though thus far removed,

Under the inevitable curb, reserved

His captive multitude. For He, be sure,

God is not going to
In highth of depth, still first and last will reign

Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part
give up any part of his kingdom,
By our revolt, but over Hell extend

His empire, and with iron sceptre rule

or any of the power that he still has over us.
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven,

What sit we then projecting peace and war?

Why are we here debating war and peace?
War hath determined us and foiled with loss
We already fought and we already lost.
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none

There are no terms of peace.
Voutsafed or sought; for what peace will be given

To us enslaved, but custody severe,

We are slaves now, and we are at the mercy of
And stripes and arbitrary punishment

his punishment.
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
But, to out power, hostility and hate,

In return all we can do is give
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,

him our hate
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least

and eventual revenge. We will never stop plotting our
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice

ways to get back at Heaven.
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need

We don't have to try
With dangerous expedition to invade

the impossible by
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,

invading Heaven.
Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find

Some easier enterprise? There is a place
There may be an easier way.
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven

If the prophecy in Heaven
Err not)—another World, the happy seat

is true,
Of some new rave, called Man, about this time

There's another world and a creature called Man that might have been created by now.
To be created like to us, though less

Man would be like us, but a lot less powerful.
In power and excellence, but favoured more
But God would love Man more than
Of Him who rules above; so was His will

the Angels.
Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath

That shook Heaven’s whole circumference confirmed.

Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn

We should find out more about these new creatures.
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould
Or substance, how endued, and what their power

And where their weakness; how attempted best,

By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,

Heaven may be out of our reach, but
And Heaven’s high Arbitrator sit secure

In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
This new world may be less defended.
The utmost border of his kingdom, left

To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps,

It may be easier to infiltrate.
Some advantageous act may be achieved

By sudden onset—either with Hell-fire

We can destroy that new world,
To waste his whole creation, or possess
or take it as our own.
All as our own, and drive, as we are driven,

The puny habitants; or, if not drive,

Seduce them to our party, that their God

Or even make them join our side, so that God might decide
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand

to destroy his own creation in anger.
Abolish his own works. This would surpass
Common revenge, and interrupt His joy

That would be the best revenge in my opinion.
In our confusion, and our joy upraise

In His disturbance; when his darling sons,

Just think about God's creations
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse

thrown into the fire to join us.
Their frail original, and faded bliss—
Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth

Attempting, or to sit in darkness here

What do you guys think?"
Hatching vain empires.” Thus Beëlzebub,

Pleaded his devilish counsel—first devised

This plan had already been thought up by Satan.
By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,
But from the author of all ill, could spring

So deep a malice, to confound the race

Only the master of lies could come up with a
Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell

plan to turn Earth into a Hell
To mingle and involve, done all to spite

to spite God.
The great Creator? But their spite still serves
His glory to augment. The bold design

Pleased highly those Infernal States, and joy

The counsel was all for the idea and voted for it.
Sparkled in all their eyes: with full assent

They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews:—

“Well have ye judged, well ended long debate,
Beezlebub continued and said "We have made a great decision. It will make everything better.
Synod of Gods and, like to what ye are,

Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep

Will once more lift us up, in spite of Fate,

Nearer our ancient Seat—perhaps in view

Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring arms,
And opportune excursion, we may chance

If everything goes well, we might even regain Heaven, or
Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone

be relocated somewhere else
Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven’s fair light,

that is within Heaven's light.
Secure, and at the brightening orient beam

Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air,
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,

Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we send

For now, we need to decide who
In search of this new World? whom shall we find

will we send to search for this new world of Man.
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet

The dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss,
We need someone to brave the black chaos
And through the palpable obscure find out

His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,

Upborne with indefatigable wings

Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive

The happy Isle? What strength, what art, can then
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe

Through the strict senteries and stations thick

Of Angels watching round? Here he had need

and slip past the guards and patrols of Heaven.
All circumspection: and we now no less

Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send
We need to choose someone carefully.
The weight of all, and our last hope, relies.”

They will be our last and only hope."
  This said, he sat; and expectation held

After he was finished, he sat down
His look suspense, awaiting who appeared

To second, or oppose, or undertake

The perilous attempt. But all sat mute,
while everyone became silent.
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each

In other’s countenance read his own dismay,

Everyone looked at each other expecting
Astonished. None among the choice and prime

Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found

someone to take the risk. They were warriors on the field,
So hardy as to proffer or accept,
but none would step forward to volunteer.
Alone, the dreadful voyage; till, at last,

Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised

The proud Satan rose up to the opportunity
Above his fellows, with monarchal pride

Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake:—

knowing that this would be a way to prove himself better. He spoke
  “O Progeny of Heaven! Empyreal Thrones!
With reason hath deep silence and demur

"All of you are silent
Seized us, though undismayed. Long is the way

and that's okay, because it is a long journey
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light.

out of Hell and to Heaven.
Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire,

This is a strong prison
Outrageous to devour, immures us round
Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant,

and you have to get past the
Barred over us, prohibit all egress.

gates that keep us in.
These passed, if any pass, the void profound

Beyond the gates is the endless void
Of unessential Night receives him next,

 that can swallow you until
Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of being
you disappear
Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf.

into the blackness.
If thence he scape, into whatever world,

If you do make if through
Or unknown region, what remains him less

to the unknown world, who knows what
Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape?

other dangers there may be?
But I should ill become this throne, O Peers,
I wouldn't be worthy of this throne
And this imperial sovranty, adorned

With splendour, armed with power, if aught proposed

if I didn't undertake this
And judged of public moment in the shape

Of difficulty or danger, could deter

dangerous quest for you my friends.
Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume
I will go.
These royalties, and not refuse to reign,

What right
Refusing to accept as great a share

would I have to assume the
Of hazard as of honour, due alike

glory of this throne but not the dangers?
To him who reigns, and so much to him due

Of hazard more as he above the rest
High honoured sits? Go, therefore, mighty Powers,

Terror of Heaven, though fallen; intend at home,

While I'm gone
While here shall be our home, what best may ease

you guys go ahead and
The present misery, and render Hell

explore this place
More tolerable; if there be cure or charm
and see what ways you can make it better.
To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain

Of this ill mansion: intermit no watch

Don't let your guard down though,
Against a wakeful Foe, while I abroad

keep watch just in case there is an attack.
Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek

Deliverance for us all. This enterprise
I will go forth and
None shall partake with me.” Thus saying, rose

do this quest alone."
The Monarch, and prevented all reply;

Satan said this, so that no one could try and look brave by offering to join him.
Prudent lest, from his resolution raised,

Satan wouldn't have let anyone come with him anyway
Others among the chief might offer now,

because he wanted all the credit and glory to himself.
Certain to be refused, what erst they feared,
And, so refused, might in opinion stand

His rivals, winning cheap the high repute

Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they

The rest got the idea and kept quiet.
Dreaded not more the adventure than his voice

Forbidding; and at once with him they rose.
Their rising all at once was as the sound

Everyone rose at once, and it sounded
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend

like thunder.
With awful reverence prone, and as a God

Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven.

Then the bowed to Satan as their God.
Nor failed they to express how much they praised
They then started to praise
That for the general safety he despised

him for risking his safety for the good of the rest.
His own: for neither do the Spirits damned

Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast

Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,

Or close ambition varnished o’er with zeal.
  Thus they their doubtful consultations dark

The counsel ended
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief:

while they rejoiced in the presence of Satan their king.
As, when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds

Ascending, while the North-wind sleeps, o’erspread

Heaven’s cheerful face, the louring element
Scowls o’er the darkened lantskip snow or shower,

If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet,

Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,

The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds

Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings.
O shame to men! Devil with devil damned

It's strange how Devils can come to agree on something
Firm concord holds; men only disagree

but men cannot.
Of creatures rational, though under hope

Of heavenly grace, and, God proclaiming peace,

Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife
Among themselves, and levy cruel wars

Wasting the earth, each other to destroy:

As if (which might induce us to accord)

Man had not hellish foes enow besides,

That day and night for his destruction wait!
  The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forth

The leaders came out of their palace
In order came the grand Infernal Peers:

in order
Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed

Satan was in the middle
Alone the Antagonist of Heaven, nor less

Than Hell’s dread Emperor, with pomp supreme,
And god-like imitated state: him round

 surrounded by attendants
A globe of fiery Seraphim inclosed

With bright imblazonry, and horrent arms.

with banners
Then of their session ended they bid cry

With trumpet’s regal sound the great result:
Trumpets were being played
Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim

by cherubs
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy,

By harald’s voice explained; the hollow Abyss

Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell

Everyone cheered
With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim.
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised

Everyone's hopes were raised by the good news og
By false presumptuous hope, the rangèd Powers

Satan's "sacrifice"
Disband; and, wandering, each his several way

Then everyone disbanded
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice,

and wandered about
Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find
looking for ways
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain

to amuse themselves
The irksome hours, till his great Chief return.

until Satan would return
Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,

Upon the wing or in swift race contend,

Some of them had races
As at the Olympian games or Pythian fields;
and others played Olympic games
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal

With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form:

As when, to warn proud cities, war appears

Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush

To battle in the clouds; before each van
Prick forth the aerie knights, and couch their spears,

Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms

From either end of heaven the welkin burns.

Others, with vast Typhœan rage, more fell,

Others let their anger out
Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air
by destroying  the rocks and hills.
In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar:—

As when Alcides, from Oechalia crowned

With conquest, felt the envenomed robe, and tore

Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines,

And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw
Into the Euboic sea. Others, more mild,

Other angels
Retreated in a silent valley, sing

went to seclude themselves
With notes angelical to many a harp

and made up
Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall

songs about what had happened with their fall from
By doom of battle, and complain that Fate
heaven and their battles
Free Virtue should enthrall to Force or Chance.

Their song was partial; but the harmony

(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?)

Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment

The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet
Another group had discussions
(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—

about good and evil, free will, and fate.
Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute—
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.

They had mixed
Of good and evil much they argued then,

arguments and points.
Of happiness and final misery,

Passion and apathy, and glory and shame:

Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy!—
But they were having a good time overall.
Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charm

Pain for a while or anguish, and excite

Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured breast

With stubborn patience as with triple steel.

Another part, in squadrons and gross bands,
There was another group that
On bold adventure to discover wide

went exploring to see
That dismal world, if any clime perhaps

Might yield them easier habitation, bend

if they could find better conditions.
Four ways their flying march, along the banks

They broke off into four groups and
Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
followed four rivers that
Into the burning lake their baleful streams—

led to the lake of fire.
Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;

Styx was the river of hate
Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep;

Acheron was the river of sadness
Cocytus, named of lamentation loud

Cocytus was the river of crying
Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegeton,
and Phlegeton was the river of anger.
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.

Far off from these, a slow and silent stream,

Far away from these rivers was a slow and silent stream
Lethe, the river of oblivion, rowls

Lethe was the river
Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks

Forthwith his former state and being forgets—
that if anyone drank from it, they would forget everything.
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.

Beyond this flood a frozen continent

Beyond this was ice and snowstorms
Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms

Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land

Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems
Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice,

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 the effect of fire.
Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled,

At certain revolutions all the damned

When the damned go to Hell
Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change

they may be brought to these places so
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,

they can experience the pain and shock of opposite extremees
From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine

Immovable, infixed, and frozen round

They'll be frozen in ice
Periods of time,—thence hurried back to fire.

and then brought back to the fire
They ferry over this Lethean sound

They'll even try to drink from the Lethe river to try and forget their sorrow.
Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach

The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose

In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,

All in one moment, and so near the brink;

But Fate withstands, and, to oppose the attempt,
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards

Monsters guard the river
The ford, and of itself the water flies

and anyone who gets close enough to drink, the water
All taste of living wight, as once it fled

moves away from
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on

their lips. The angels were horrified by these things
In confused march forlorn, the adventrous bands,
With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast,

Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found

No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale

They passed, and many a region dolorous,

O’er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,
Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death—

The angels passed through all these terrible places.
A universe of death, which God by curse

Created evil, for evil only good;

God created all this evil, just for them.
Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds,

This is the place where life dies, and death lives. And nature
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
creates monsters.
Abominable, inutterable, and worse

Than fables yet have feigned or fear conceived,

Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimæras dire.

  Meanwhile the Adversary of God and Man,

Meanwhile, Satan
Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design,
Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates of Hell

flew towards the gates of Hell
Explores his solitary flight: sometimes

He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left;

Now shaves with level wing the Deep, then soars

Up to the fiery concave towering high.
As when far off at sea a fleet descried

Hangs in the clouds, by æquinoctial winds

Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles

Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring

Their spicy drugs; they on the trading flood,
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,

Ply stemming nightly toward the pole: so seemed

Far off the flying Fiend. At last appear

Hell-hounds, high reaching to the horrid roof,

And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass,
The gates were made of nine layers: three brass,
Three iron, three of adamantine rock,

three iron, and three of impenetrable rock.
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire,

Flames were circling around, but didn't
Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat

burn them. There were two figures sitting in
On either side a formidable Shape.

front of the gate.
The one seemed a woman to the waist, and fair,
One was a beautiful woman, half of a woman rather
But ended foul in many a scaly fold,

because her bottom half
Voluminous and vast—a serpent armed

was a snake's body.
With mortal sting. About her middle round

A cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barked

There were dogs, next to her.
With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung
A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep,

If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb,

And kennel there; yet there still barked and howled

With in unseen. Far less abhorred than these

Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore;

Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called

In secret, riding through the air she comes,

Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance

With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon
Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape—

The other creature didn't have
If shape it might be called that shape had none

a clear shape.
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;

Or substance might be called that shadow seemed,

It was more like a shadow.
For each seemed either—black it stood as Night,
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,

It seemed very fierce and as terrible as Hell
And shook a dreadful dart: what seemed his head

and it carried a dart.
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.

There was a crown on its head,
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat

When Satan got close, the creature immediately
The monster moving onward came as fast
got up and approached him.
With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode.

The shadow's footsteps shook the ground
The undaunted Fiend what this might be admired—

Admired, not feared (God and his Son except,

Satan was impressed with this being, but he wasn't afraid. Satan was only afraid of God and his Son.
Created thing naught valued he nor shunned),

And with disdainful look thus first began:—
Satan spoke to the shadow:
  “Whence and what art thou, execrable Shape,

"What and who do you think you are? I'm trying to get through and you
That dar’st though grim and terrible, advance

need to get the Hell out of my way!
Thy miscreated front athwart my way

To yonder gates? Through them I mean to pass,

That be assured, without leave asked of thee.
Retire; or taste thy folly, and learn by proof,

You better move or I'll make you sorry!"
Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heaven.”

  To whom the Goblin, full of wrauth, replied:—

The creature replied,
“Art thou that Traitor-Angel, art thou he,

"Lol aren't you that fool of
Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, till then
a traitor who rebelled
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms

Drew after him the third part of Heaven’s sons,

and led 1/3 of Heaven
Conjured against the Highest—for which both thou

against God?
And they, outcast from God, are here condemned

To waste eternal days in woe and pain?
And reckon’st thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven,

Hell-doomed, and breath’st defiance here and scorn,

Don't try to get tough with me,
Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more,

I'm king down here.
Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment,

Get back to your dungeon,
False fugitive; and to thy speed add wings,
and move fast.
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue

Before I whip you with scorpions
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart

and stab with with this dart. I'll make you
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.”

feel horrible pain that you've never felt before!"
  So spake the griesly Terror, and in shape,

So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold
More dreadful and deform. On the other side,

Incensed with indignation, Satan stood

Unterrified, and like a comet burned,

Satan wasn't afraid.
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge

In the artick sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head

Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands

No second stroke intend; and such a frown

Each cast at the other as when two black clouds,

They were ready to fight one another.
With Heaven’s artillery fraught, come rattling on
Over the Caspian,—then stand front to front

Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow

To join their dark encounter in mid-air.

So frowned the mighty combatants that Hell

Grew darker at their frown; so matched they stood;
For never but once more was either like

To meet so great a foe. And now great deeds

This would've been a great fight
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung,

Had not the snaky Sorceress, that sat

if the woman had not intervened.
Fast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key,
Her job was to sit by the gates and keep the key.
Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between.

  “O father, what intends thy hand,” she cried,

The woman cried: "Father why
“Against thy only son? What fury, O son,

do you want to harm your only son? And son,
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart

why are you aiming that dagger at
Against thy father’s head? And know’st for whom?
your father's head?
For Him who sits above, and laughs the while

God above is laughing at the both of you,
At thee, ordained his drudge to execute

while you're doing his dirty work
Whate’er his wrauth, which He calls justice, bids—

and giving him the satisfaction of justice!
His wrauth, which one day will destroy ye both!”

One of these days, he is going to kill you both!"
  She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest
The both of them were stunned.
Forbore: then these to her Satan returned:—

Satan replied:
  “So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange

"I'll stop for now
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand,

Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds

that is until you tell me
What it intends, till first I know of thee
What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why

who and what are you
In this infernal vale first met, thou call’st

Me father, and that fantasm call’st my son.

and why you're calling me father and why you are calling that shadow creature my son.
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now

I don't know you,
Sight more detestable than him and thee.”
and I've never seen a more disgusting sight than the two of you."
  To whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate replied:—

The woman answered:
“Hast thou forgot me, then; and do I seem

"Hm, so you don't remember me.
Now in thine eyes so foul?—once deemed so fair

Am I that ugly now? You didn't think so before.
In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight

In Heaven
Of all the Seraphim with thee combined
In bold conspiracy against Heaven’s King,

when you were planning your rebellion with all your followers
All on a sudden miserable pain

out of your pain and misery
Surprised thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum

In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast

your head burst into flames
Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide,
and I came out of the left side of your head.
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright,

Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed,

Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seized

It shocked everyone
All the host of Heaven; back they recoiled afraid

At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign
and they called me 'Sin'
Portentous held me; but, familiar grown,

At first they were afraid, but then they began to like me
I pleased, and with attractive graces won

The most averse—thee chiefly, who, full oft

Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing,

Becam’st enamoured; and such joy thou took’st
especially you. We had sex and
With me in secret that my womb conceived

I became pregnant.
A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose,

And fields were fought in Heaven: wherein remained

When the war broke out
(For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe

and you lost
Clear victory; to our part loss and rout
Through all the Empyrean. Down they fell,

I fell into Hell with all of you.
Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down

Into this Deep; and in the general fall

I also: at which time this powerful Key

I was given this key and
Into my hands was given, with charge to keep
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass

I was told that I had to keep these gates shut forever.
Without my opening. Pensive here I sat

Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb,

I then soon gave birth
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown,

Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest,

to this shadowy creature you now see before you
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way,

And it was a violent delivery
Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain

he tore my intestines up in his way out
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew

and that's how I got this snake shape as my lower half
Transformed: but he my inbred enemy
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart,

He came out waving his dart
Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death!

And I screamed Death
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed

From all her caves, and back resounded Death!

I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems,
I ran away but he chased me
Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far,

Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed,

and raped me
And, in embraces forcible and foul

Engendering with me, of that rape begot

From that rape came more
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry
offspring. These
Surround me, as thou saw’st—hourly conceived

dogs that now surround me.
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite They never leave.
To me: for, when they list, into the womb

 They go back inside of me
That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw

whenever they want
My bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth
and howl and chew my insides. And then I give
Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round,

birth to them again and again.
That rest or intermission none I find.
Before mine eyes in opposition sits

Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets them on,
And me, his parent, would full soon devour
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involved, and knows that I

Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,
Whenever that shall be: so Fate pronounced.

But thou, O Father, I forewarn thee, shun 810
His deadly arrow: neither vainly hope

To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint,

Save He who reigns above, none can resist.”
  She finished; and the subtle Fiend his lore
Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered smooth:— Satan calmed down and said:
  “Dear daughter—since thou claim’st me for thy sire,

"Oh, so you're my daughter
And my fair son here show’st me, the dear pledge and he is my Son.
Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys

This is the result of the pleasure we had in Heaven
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change 820 and now it has turned into sadness down here.
Befallen us unforeseen, unthought-of—know,

I come no enemy, but to set free I am not an enemy
From out this dark and dismal house of pain

I am here to set you free and all of my followers.
Both him and thee, and all the Heavenly host
Of Spirits that, in our just pretences armed,
Fell with us from on high. From them I go
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all

Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread
The unfounded Deep, and through the void immense

I'm going out there to search for a new place that is said
To search, with wandering quest, a place foretold 830
Should be—and, by concurring signs, ere now

Created vast and round—a place of bliss
In the pourlieues of Heaven; and therein placed

to be near Heaven.
A race of upstart creatures, to supply I hear there are new creatures
Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed,
that are supposed to take our place.
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,
Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught

I'm going to find out what's out there
Than this more secret, now designed, I haste
To know; and this once known, shall soon return
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
Then I'll bring you and Death there
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen where you can live comfortably and fly around invisible
Wing silently the buxom air, imbalmed

With odours. There ye shall be fed and filled and have plenty to eat."
Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey.”

  He ceased; for both seemed highly pleased, and Death 845 This pleased Sin and Death. Death
Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear

smiled and
His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw was looking forward to it.
Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced

His mother bad, and thus bespake her Sire:—
  “The key of this infernal Pit, by due
Sin said: "I'm supposed to
And by command of Heaven’s all-powerful King, keep these gates locked
I keep, by Him forbidden to unlock

because God said so
These adamantine gates; against all force
Death ready stands to interpose his dart,

and Death is also supposed to kill whoever who tries to get past.
Fearless to be o’ermatched by living might. 855
But what I owe I to His commands above,

But what do I owe God? Why
Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down should I listen to someone who hates me and threw
Into this gloom of Tartarus profound, me down into this pit?
To sit in hateful office here confined,

Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly-born— 860
Here in perpetual agony and pain,

With terrors and with clamours compassed round
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed?

Thou art my father, thou my author, thou You Satan, are my father and you're the one who I should obey.
My being gav’st me; whom should I obey
But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soon Soon
To that new world of light and bliss, among

in that new world
The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems

we will rule together
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end.” 870 I'll be your daughter and your lover forever."
  Thus saying, from her side the fatal key,

After she finished speaking, she took the key
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took;
And, toward the gate rowling her bestial train,

and put it into the gate.
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew,
Which, but herself, not all the Stygian Powers
She opened the gate that no one else could open
Could once have moved; then in the keyhole turns
The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of massy iron or solid rock with ease

Unfastens. On a sudden open fly,
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook

Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut She was only able to open it
Excelled her power: the gates wide open stood,

and she didn't have the power to close it.
That with extended wings a bannered host, 885
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through

With horse and chariots ranked in loose array;
So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth

Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
Before their eyes in sudden view appear
The secrets of the hoary Deep—a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,

Without dimension: where length, breadth, and highth, Through the opening there was
And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night

no space or time. Only NIght
And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold 895 and Chaos who would later create Nature
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.

For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions fierce,
Strive here for maistrie, and to battle bring

Their embryon atoms: they around the flag 900
Of each his faction, in their several clans,

Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,
Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands

Of Barca or Cyrene’s torrid soil,
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise 905
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere
He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits, This was the realm that Chaos
And by decision more imbroils the fray
By which he reigns: next him, high arbiter,
Chance governs all. Into this wild Abyss, 910 and Chance ruled.
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave,

Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed

Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain 915 This was where all the
His dark materials to create more worlds—

materials were kept. The raw elements to create
Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,

Satan stood there and just watched for a while.
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare
Great things with small) than when Bellona storms

With all her battering engines, bent to rase
Some capital city; or less than if this frame

Of heaven were falling, and these elements 925
In mutiny had from her axle torn

The steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and, in the surging smoke

He finally took flight.
Uplifted, spurns the ground; thence many a league,
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides
Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets
A vast vacuity. All unawares,

And then he suddenly ended up in a vacuum
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb-down he drops and then fell again
Ten thousand fadom deep, and to this hour
Down had been falling, had not, by ill chance,
until a wind blew him
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,
Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him

As many miles aloft. That fury stayed— and he ended up far away
Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,

in a bog
Nor good dry land-nigh foundered, on he fares, 940 where it was hard to walk
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,

he had to walk through it
Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail. while flying every now and then
As when a gryfon through the wilderness

With wingèd course, o’er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimpasian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloined
The guarded gold; so eagerly the Fiend

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. 950
At length, a universal hubbub wild

After a while he heard some wild noises
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear

With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies So he followed the noises
Undaunted, to meet there whatever Power
Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask

Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies
Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne

And it led him to
Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread 960 Chaos, and
Wide on the wasteful Deep! With him enthroned

Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things, next to him sat Night
The consort of his reign; and by them stood

Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance,
There was also Rumour, Chance
And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled, Tumult, and Confusion
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.

and Discord
  To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus:—“Ye Powers Satan then explained himself: "I don't mean to disturb you
And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss,

Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy 970
With purpose to explore or to disturb

The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint
Wandering this darksome desert, as my way

I was just passing through wandering
Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek,
and I got lost.
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds I'm trying to find my way out of this place and
Confine with Heaven; or, if some other place,

find where Heaven's light is.
From your dominion won, the Ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive

I travel this profound. Direct my course; 980 If you can show me where to go
Directed, no mean recompense it brings

I can make it up to you and make it worth your while.
To your behoof, if I that region lost.
All usurpation thence expelled, reduce

To her original darkness and your sway
(Which is my present journey), and once more
Erect the standard there of ancient Night.
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge!”

You'll get something out of it while I have my revenge!"
  Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltering speech and visage incomposed,

Chaos spoke:
Answered:—“I know thee, stranger, who thou art— 990 "I know all about your and your
That mighty leading Angel, who of late little war.
Made head against Heaven’s King, though overthrown.

It was hard to miss
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host your entire army falling down
Fled not in silence through the frighted Deep,

into the the pits of Hell!
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, 995
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates

Poured out by millions her victorious bands,
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here

Keep residence; if all I can will serve I'm just getting sick of my domain being taken over
That little which is left so to defend,
Encroached on still through our intestine broils first by
Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first, Hell,

Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath;
Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world

and now Heaven and Earth
Hung o’er my realm, linked in a golden chain 1005
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell!

If that way be your walk, you have not far; You don't have to go far to get to Earth.
So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed;

Just go do what you have to do,
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain.” it's all good for all of us if you succeed."
  He ceased; and Satan staid not to reply, 1010
But, glad that now his sea should find a shore,

With fresh alacrity and force renewed Satan became enthusiastic
Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire,

and sped away
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock
Of fighting elements, on all sides round
Environed, wins his way; harder beset
And more endangered than when Argo passed

Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks,
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned

Charybdis, and by the other Whirlpool steered. 1020
So he with difficulty and labour hard

Moved on. With difficulty and labour he; His journey was hard
But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell,

but later when Man fell
Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain, Sin and Death
Following his track (such was the will of Heaven)
Paved after him a broad and beaten way created a road
Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulf

Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length,
From Hell continued, reaching the utmost Orb between Hell and earth
Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse
where Devils and Demons
With easy intercourse pass to and fro could travel quickly
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom

God and good Angels guard by special grace.
  But now at last the sacred influence

Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven 1035 Satan was nearing closer to Heaven's light.
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night

A glimmering dawn. Here Nature first begins
Her fardest verge, and Chaos to retire,

As from her utmost works, a broken foe,
With tumult less and with less hostile din;
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease,
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,

And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;

Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, 1045
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold

Far off the imperial Heaven, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorned

Of living sapphire, once his native seat, 1050
And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain,

This pendent World, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.

Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, With revenge on his mind he was headed to his destination.
Accurst, and in a cursed hour, he hies.


  1. Thank you so much, this is a perfect way to keep reading on track!

  2. i love this i was really having a hard time understanding some parts and this cleared it up for me.

  3. Idk if it's just me, but I can't access past book 2. Any help would be appreciated.

  4. I hope this site is finished soon!! It's amazing!

  5. When will the site be finished?

  6. Cheers, and thanks for the feedback everyone! This site will be finished eventually, but I have yet to "translate" the rest of the books! It's a grueling process since I'm still new at HTML. I'll try to get things moving along ASAP.

  7. Considering there are no other line by line translations for PL this site will be huge when finished!! So many students will want to use this to aide their readings. Love it! Hope it's finished soon! thanks!

  8. Amazing! Thank u so much love!

  9. This has helped me so much, thank you!!!

  10. Wow. You saved my rear end here. I was having a hard time understanding the original text, but this makes it so much easier. Thank's for posting!

  11. Just found this gem, and I hope the creator will finish it soon! I would love to be able to read past Book 5. As another user pointed out I haven't been able to find any other line by line translation for Paradise Lost.

  12. Wow! I love this so much! Not only do I understand it far better, this makes it really, well, FUN TO READ! Please tell me that you're still working on completing it, it's so wonderful!

  13. Thank you so much! I was having a hard time reading Paradise Lost and your commentary is not only helpful, but funny too, in its abruptness.

  14. As an English major, this is absolutely perfect, thank you for your work!

  15. Amazing work, thanks!