Paradise Lost

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Golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and love triumphing.

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.

Book I

  • 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
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.
  • 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
    Of battle.
    • 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
    Perplexes monarchs.
    • 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
    Sits arbitress.
    • Line 781

Book II

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.
  • 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
    Maturest counsels.
    • 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,
    Not peace.
    • 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.)
  • 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
  • Hell
    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
  • Death
    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
    Harsh thunder.
    • 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
  • 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

Book III

  • 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
    Harmonious numbers.
    • 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

Book IV

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.
With thee conversing I forget all time,
All seasons, and their change; all please alike.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Implied
    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
    Of heaven.
    • Line 992
  • Fled
    Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.
    • Line 1014

Book V

  • 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

Book VI

  • Morn,
    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
    Of conflict.
    • 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

Book VII

  • 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,
    And solitude.
    • 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
  • Indu'd
    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
    Well managed.
    • Lines 571-573. Compare: "But most of all respect thyself", a precept of the Pythagoreans, attributed to Pythagoras.
  • 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

Book IX

  • 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

Book X

  • 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
    Of Lucifer.
    • 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

Book XI

  • 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,
    Love's harbinger.
    • 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

Book XII

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When I was seven, I had to copy, by hand, as a punishment, books one and two of Paradise Lost. By that time, I had already started to think of myself as rebellious, so of course I completely identified with Lucifer.
  • 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.
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