Paradise Lost "Live While Ye May"
by John Milton

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"Live While Ye May"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Overhearing their conversations in Paradise, Satan learns from Adam and Eve that God has commanded them not to eat of the tree of knowledge. Satan immediately decides to make use of this situation, to employ the human beings' ignorance to encompass their ruin, playing on the pride and ambition of the human pair, the same elements in Satan's own personality which caused his rebellion in Heaven and his expulsion. But at the moment Satan is not yet ready to make his move against Adam and Eve; first he will explore Paradise, in hopes that he may find some angel wandering there, from whom he may draw additional information to insure the success of his plan. But as Satan discontinues watching Adam and Eve, he mutters to himself his threat and his promise:

"Live while ye may,
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed."