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he spent fifteen months in foreign travel, chiefly in Italy and France. On his return, he embarked with great zeal in the political struggle between the royalists and the republicans. On the triumph of the latter in 1649, he was appointed Latin Secretary to the Council of State. This was the Secretaryship for Foreign Affairs-diplomatic negotiations at that time being conducted almost entirely in Latin. His eyesight, which had been failing for the last ten years, was finally entirely lost, and he became totally blind in 1652. At the Restoration soon after, Milton was included in an act of amnesty. Paradise Lost was commenced in 1658 and finished in 1665, and consequently was composed entirely in the dark. He sold the copy-right for 207.! The latest of his poems were Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes, written in 1671. The great poet died in 1674. He was married three times. His first marriage was a rash and illassorted one, and is remarkable as having been the cause, by the temporary separation between him and his wife, of his extraordinary and certainly erroneous treatises on the subject of divorce.

The following series of extracts is from Paradise Lost. Milton in the First Book describes the situation of the fallen angels in the lower regions, after their disastrous overthrow. The Second Book opens with the debate among their leaders in regard to their future plans. Three only of the speeches are given.


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 heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed:

"Powers and dominions, deities of heaven;
For since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen,
I give not heaven for lost. From this descent
Celestial virtues rising, will appear

More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate.

Me though just right, and the fixed laws of heaven,
Did first create your leader: next, free choice,
With what besides, in council or in fight,
Hath been achieved of merit; yet this loss,
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Established in a safe unenvied throne,

Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
Envy from each inferior; but who here
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
Precédence, 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,
More than can be in heaven, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity

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

We now debate: who can advise, may speak."

He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit
That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair:
His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed
Equal in strength; and rather than be less
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost
Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse,
He recked not; and these words thereafter spake:
"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 lingering here
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-pace
Accept this dark, opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny who reigns

By our delay? No, let us rather choose,
Armed with hell flames and fury, all at once,

O'er heaven's high towers to force resistless way,

Turning our tortures into horrid arms

Against the torturer; when to meet the noise
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
With upright wing against a higher foe.
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
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
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
To our destruction; if there be in hell

Fear to be worse destroyed: what can be worse

Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned

In this abhorred deep to utter woe;

Where pain of unextinguishable fire

Must exercise us without hope of end,

The vassals of his anger, when the scourge

Inexorable, and the torturing hour,

Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus,

We should be quite abolished, and expire.

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
Than miserable to have eternal being:
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne;
Which if not victory, is yet revenge."

He ended frowning, and his look denounced
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On the other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane :
A fairer person lost not heaven; he seemed
For dignity composed, and high exploit:
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
Dropped 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
Timorous and slothful; yet he pleased the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began:

"I should be much for open war, O peers,
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,
In what he counsels, and in what excels,

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