Paradise Lost Book X
by John Milton

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Book X

 Mean while the heinous and despiteful act 
Of Satan, done in Paradise; and how 
He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve, 
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit, 
Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the eye 
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart 
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just, 
Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind 
Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed, 
Complete to have discovered and repulsed 
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. 
For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered, 
The high injunction, not to taste that fruit, 
Whoever tempted; which they not obeying, 
(Incurred what could they less?) the penalty; 
And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall. 
Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste 
The angelick guards ascended, mute, and sad, 
For Man; for of his state by this they knew, 
Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen 
Entrance unseen.  Soon as the unwelcome news 
From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased 
All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare 
That time celestial visages, yet, mixed 
With pity, violated not their bliss. 
About the new-arrived, in multitudes 
The ethereal people ran, to hear and know 
How all befel:  They towards the throne supreme, 
Accountable, made haste, to make appear, 
With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance 
And easily approved; when the Most High 
Eternal Father, from his secret cloud, 
Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice. 
Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned 
From unsuccessful charge; be not dismayed, 
Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth, 
Which your sincerest care could not prevent; 
Foretold so lately what would come to pass, 
When first this tempter crossed the gulf from Hell. 
I told ye then he should prevail, and speed 
On his bad errand; Man should be seduced, 
And flattered out of all, believing lies 
Against his Maker; no decree of mine 
Concurring to necessitate his fall, 
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse 
His free will, to her own inclining left 
In even scale.  But fallen he is; and now 
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass 
On his transgression,--death denounced that day? 
Which he presumes already vain and void, 
Because not yet inflicted, as he feared, 
By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find 
Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end. 
Justice shall not return as bounty scorned. 
But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee, 
Vicegerent Son?  To thee I have transferred 
All judgement, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell. 
Easy it may be seen that I intend 
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee 
Man's friend, his Mediator, his designed 
Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary, 
And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen. 
So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright 
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son 
Blazed forth unclouded Deity: He full 
Resplendent all his Father manifest 
Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild. 
Father Eternal, thine is to decree; 
Mine, both in Heaven and Earth, to do thy will 
Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved, 
Mayest ever rest well pleased.  I go to judge 
On earth these thy transgressours; but thou knowest, 
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light, 
When time shall be; for so I undertook 
Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain 
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom 
On me derived; yet I shall temper so 
Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most 
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease. 
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none 
Are to behold the judgement, but the judged, 
Those two; the third best absent is condemned, 
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law: 
Conviction to the serpent none belongs. 
Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose 
Of high collateral glory: Him Thrones, and Powers, 
Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant, 
Accompanied to Heaven-gate; from whence 
Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay. 
Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods 
Time counts not, though with swiftest...

(The entire section is 8,120 words.)