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.
- 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,
- Lines 1-5
- 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.
- Lines 6-16
- 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.
- Lines 34-36
- 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.
- Lines 44-49
- As far as angels' ken.
- Line 59
- Yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible.
- Lines 62-63
- Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes at all.
- Lines 65-67
- 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.
- Lines 105-108
- To be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering.
- Lines 157-158
- And out of good still to find means of evil.
- Line 165
- 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.
- Lines 192-202
- Farewell happy fields,
Where joy forever dwells: hail, horrors!
- Line 249
- 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.
- Lines 258-63
- Heard so oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
- Line 275
- 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.
- Line 292
- Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
High over-arch'd imbower.
- Line 302
- Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.
- Line 330
- Spirits when they please
Can either sex assume, or both.
- Line 423
- Execute their airy purposes.
- Line 430
- And, when night
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
- Lines 500-502
- 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.
- Lines 540-543
- Anon they move
In perfect phalanx, to the Dorian mood
Of flutes and soft recorders.
- Line 549
- 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.
- Line 591
- In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
- Line 597
- Thrice he assay'd, and thrice in spite of scorn
Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth.
- Line 619
- 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?
- Lines 631-34
- Who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
- Lines 648-49
- 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.
- Lines 679-84
- Let none admire
That riches grow in hell; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane.
- Lines 690-692
- Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose, like an exhalation.
- Line 710
- 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.
- Lines 742-745
- Fairy elves,
Whose midnight revels by a forest side
Or fountain some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the moon
- Line 781
- 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.
- Lines 1-9
- Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assur'd us.
- Line 39
- The strongest and the fiercest spirit
That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair.
- Line 44
- Rather than be less
Cared not to be at all.
- Lines 47-48
- 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.
- Lines 51-64
- That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat: descent and fall
To us is adverse.
- Line 75
- When the scourge
Inexorable and the torturing hour
Call us to penance.
- Line 90
- Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.
- Line 105
- 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
- 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.
- Line 185
- The never-ending flight
Of future days.
- Line 221
- Thus Belial with words clothed in reason's garb
Counseled ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
- Lines 226-228
- Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements.
- Line 274
- 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.
- Lines 300-305
- To sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires.
- Lines 377-378
- The palpable obscure.
- Line 406
- Long is the way
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light.
- Lines 432-33.
- Compare: "'[...]facilis descensus Averno: noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis; sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras, hoc opus, hic labor est.'" Virgil, Aeneid, vi. 126. ("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.)
- Lines 432-33.
- Their rising all at once was as the sound
Of thunder heard remote.
- Lines 476-477
- The low'ring element
Scowls o'er the darken'd landscape.
- Line 490
- Oh, shame to men! devil with devil damn'd
Firm concord holds, men only disagree
Of creatures rational.
- Line 496
- 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.
- Lines 555-561
- Vain wisdom all and false philosophy.
- Line 565
- Arm th' obdur'd breast
With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
- Line 568
- 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.
- Lines 597-603
- O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,
Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death.
- Line 620
- Gorgons and Hydras and Chimæras dire.
- Line 628
- 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.
- Line 666
- Whence and what art thou, execrable shape?
- Line 681
- Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings.
- Line 699
- So spake the grisly Terror.
- Line 704
- 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.
- Line 707
- Their fatal hands
No second stroke intend.
- Line 712
Grew darker at their frown.
- Line 719
- I fled, and cry'd out, DEATH!
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded, DEATH!
- Line 787
- Before mine eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death, my son and foe.
- Lines 803-804
Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be fill'd.
- Line 845
- On a sudden open fly,
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
- Line 879
- 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.
- Lines 894-899
- 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.
- Lines 910-919
- To compare
Great things with small.
- 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.
- Line 948
- With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded.
- Lines 995-996
- So he with difficulty and labour hard
Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour he.
- Line 1021
- And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
This pendent world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude, close by the moon.
- Line 1051
- Hail, holy light! offspring of heav'n first born.
- Line 1
- The rising world of waters dark and deep.
- Line 11
- Thoughts that voluntary move
- Line 37
- 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.
- Lines 40-50
- I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
- Lines 98-99
- Golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and love triumphing.
- Line 337
- Dark with excessive bright.
- Line 380
- Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars,
White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery.
- Line 474
- Into a limbo large and broad, since call'd
The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown.
- Lines 495-496
- 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.
- Line 686
- Satan, now first inflam’d with rage, came down,
The Tempter ere th’ Accuser of man-kind,
To wreck on innocent frail man his loss
Of that first Battel, and his flight to Hell:
Yet not rejoycing in his speed, though bold,
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
Begins his dire attempt, which nigh the birth
Now rowling, boiles in his tumultuous brest,
And like a devillish Engine back recoiles
Upon himself; horror and doubt distract
His troubl’d thoughts, and from the bottom stirr
The Hell within him, for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
One step no more then from himself can fly
By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair
That slumberd, wakes the bitter memorie
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
- Lines 8 - 23
- 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.
- Line 55
- 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.
- Lines 73-78
- Under what torments inwardly I groane;
While they adore me on the Throne of Hell,
With Diadem and Scepter high advanc’d
The lower still I fall, onely Supream
In miserie; such joy Ambition findes.
But say I could repent and could obtaine
By Act of Grace my former state; how soon
Would highth recal high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feign’d submission swore: ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow
Where wounds of deadly hate have peirc’d so deep:
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
And heavier fall: so should I purchase deare
Short intermission bought with double smart.
This knows my punisher; therefore as farr
From granting hee, as I from begging peace:
All hope excluded thus, behold in stead
Of us out-cast, exil'd, his new delight,
Mankind created, and for him this World.
- Lines 88 - 107
- So farewel Hope, and with Hope farewel Fear,
Farewel Remorse: all Good to me is lost;
Evil be thou my Good; by thee at least
Divided Empire with Heav'ns King I hold
By thee, and more then half perhaps will reigne;
As Man ere long, and this new World shall know.
- Lines 108-113
- That practis'd falsehood under saintly shew,
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge.
- Line 122
- Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the Blest.
- Line 162
- And on the Tree of Life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant.
- Lines 194-196
- A heaven on earth.
- Line 208
- Flowers worthy of paradise.
- Line 241
- 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.
- Line 269
- Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honor clad
In naked majesty seemed lords of all.
- Lines 288-290
- 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.
- Lines 297-303
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.
- Lines 307-311
- Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
- Lines 323-324
- 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.
- Line 499
- Imparadis'd in one another's arms.
- Line 506
- Live while ye may,
Yet happy pair.
- Line 533
- 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?
- Line 515-527
- 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.
- Line 598
- 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.
- Lines 602-609
- The timely dew of sleep.
- Line 614
- 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.
- Lines 639-656
- Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep.
- Lines 677-678
- 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.
- Lines 739-740
- Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring.
- Lines 750-751
- Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve.
- Line 800
- Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can endure
Touch of celestial temper.
- Line 810
- Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
The lowest of your throng.
- Line 830
- Abashed the Devil stood,
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
Virtue in her shape how lovely.
—saw, and pined his loss.
- Lines 846-848
- Came not all hell broke loose?
- Line 918
- Like Teneriff or Atlas unremoved.
- Line 987
- The starry cope
- Line 992
Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.
- Line 1014
- 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.
- Line 1
- Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces.
- Line 13
- My latest found,
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever new delight!
- Line 18
- Good, the more
Communicated, more abundant grows.
- Lines 71-72.
- These are thy glorious works, Parent of good.
- Line 153
- Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
- Line 165
- Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn.
- Line 166
- Fountains, and ye, that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
- Line 195
- A wilderness of sweets.
- Line 294
- Another morn
Ris'n on mid-noon.
- Line 310
- So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent.
- Lines 331-332
- Nor jealousy
Was understood, the injured lover's hell.
- Lines 449-450
- The bright consummate flower.
- Line 481
- Freely we serve,
Because we freely love, as in our will
To love or not; in this we stand or fall.
- Lines 538-540
- What if earth
Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?
- Lines 574-576
- Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers.
- Line 601
- All seemed well pleased, all seemed but were not all.
- Line 617
- They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joy.
- Line 637
- Satan; so call him now, his former name
Is heard no more in heaven.
- Line 658
- Midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence.
- Line 667
- Innumerable as the stars of night,
Or stars of morning, dewdrops which the sun
Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
- Line 745
- 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...
- Line 787
- So spake the seraph Abdiel, faithful found;
Among the faithless, faithful only he.
- Line 896-897
Waked by the circling hours, with rosy hand
Unbarred the gates of light.
- Lines 2-4
- 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.
- Lines 29-32
- How few somtimes may know, when thousands err.
- Line 148
- Arms on armour clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots rag'd: dire was the noise
- Line 209
- 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.
- Line 345
- Far off his coming shone.
- Line 768
- In heavenly spirits could such perverseness dwell?
- Line 788; compare: "Tantaene animis coelestibus irae?", Virgil, Aeneid, i. 16
- 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,
- Lines 24-28
- Still govern thou my song,
Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
- Line 30
- Out of one man a race
Of men innumerable.
- Lines 155-156
- Heaven open'd wide
Her ever during gates, harmonious sound,
On golden hinges moving.
- Line 205
- 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!"
- Lines 210–231
- Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
Repairing, in their golden urns draw light.
- Line 364
- 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.
- Lines 412-416
- Now half appear'd
The tawny lion, pawing to get free
His hinder parts.
- Line 463
With sanctity of reason.
- Line 507
- 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.
- Line 563-568
- 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.
- Line 577
- 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.
- Lines 1-3
- There swift return
Diurnal, merely to officiate light
Round this opacous earth, this punctual spot.
- Line 21
- And grace that won who saw to wish her stay.
- Line 43
- And touch'd by her fair tendance, gladlier grew.
- Line 47
- With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er,
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb.
- Line 83
- Her silent course advance
With inoffensive pace, that spinning sleeps
On her soft axle.
- Line 163
- Be lowly wise:
Think only what concerns thee and thy being.
- Line 173
- To know
That which before us lies in daily life
Is the prime wisdom.
- Lines 192-194
- Liquid lapse of murmuring streams.
- Line 263
- And feel that I am happier than I know.
- Line 282
- Among unequals what society
Can sort, what harmony, or true delight?
- Line 383
- Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,
In every gesture dignity and love.
- Lines 488-89
- Her virtue and the conscience of her worth,
That would be wooed, and not unsought be won.
- Lines 502-503
- 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.
- Line 508
- The sum of earthly bliss.
- Line 522
- 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.
- Lines 547-550
- Accuse not Nature: she hath done her part;
Do thou but thine.
- Lines 561-62
- Ofttimes nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
- Those graceful acts,
Those thousand decencies that daily flow
From all her words and actions.
- Line 610
- With a smile that glow'd
Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue.
- Line 618
- My unpremeditated verse.
- Line 24
- Pleas'd me, long choosing and beginning late.
- Line 26
- 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
- Lines 27-33
- Unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing.
- Line 44
- The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
- Line 86
- Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.
- Lines 171-72
- The work under our labour grows,
Luxurious by restraint.
- Line 208
- Smiles from reason flow,
To brute deny'd, and are of love the food.
- Line 239
- For solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
- Lines 249-250
- At shut of evening flowers.
- Line 278
- Go in thy native innocence, rely
On what thou hast of virtue; summon all!
For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine.
- Lines 373–375
- As one who long in populous city pent,
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air.
- Line 445
- So gloz'd the tempter.
- Line 549
- Hope elevates, and joy
Brightens his crest.
- Line 633
- 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.
- Lines 780-784
- So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
I could endure, without him live no life.
- Lines 832-833
- In her face excuse
Came prologue, and apology too prompt.
- Line 853-854
- 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?
- Lines 896-901
- 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.
- Lines 913-916
- Our state cannot be severed; we are one,
One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.
- Lines 958-959
- A pillar'd shade
High overarch'd, and echoing walks between.
- Line 1106
- I shall temper so
Justice with mercy.
- Lines 77-78
- So scented the grim Feature, and upturn'd
His nostril wide into the murky air,
Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
- Line 279
- Pandemonium, city and proud seat
- Lines 424-425
- A dismal universal hiss, the sound
Of public scorn.
- Lines 508-509
- Death...on his pale horse.
- Line 588
- Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
- Lines 743-745
- How gladly would I meet
Mortality my sentence, and be earth
Insensible! how glad would lay me down
As in my mother's lap!
- Line 775
- Must I thus leave thee, Paradise?—thus leave
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades?
- Line 269
- Then purg'd with euphrasy and rue
The visual nerve, for he had much to see.
- Line 414
- Moping melancholy
And moon-struck madness.
- Line 485
- And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invok'd.
- Line 491
- So may'st thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop
Into thy mother's lap.
- Line 535
- 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.
- Line 582
- The evening star,
- Lines 588-589
- The brazen throat of war.
- Line 713
- For now I see
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste.
- Line 783-784
- 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.
- Lines 615-619
- 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.
- Lines 645-649
Quotes about Paradise Lost
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- The most important work of Milton is Paradise Lost; his best work is Lycidas.
- 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, "The Life of Milton" in Lives of the English Poets (1781)
- The characteristic quality of [Milton's] poem is sublimity. He sometimes descends to the elegant, but his element is the great. He can occasionally invest himself with grace; but his natural port is gigantic loftiness. He can please when pleasure is required; but it is his peculiar power to astonish.
- Samuel Johnson, "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, "The Life of Milton"
- A prerogative place among the great epics of the world has sometimes been claimed for Paradise Lost, on the ground that the theme it handles is vaster and of a more universal human interest than any handled by Milton's predecessors. It concerns itself with the fortunes, not of a city or an empire, but of the whole human race, and with that particular event in the history of the race which has moulded all its destinies.