UnPoetia:Paradise Abridged/Book II

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The Argument


The consultation in Pandemonium begun, Satan debates whether another battle should be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, about traveling to a soon-to-be-created world inhabited by creatures like, but inferior, to themselves, and fuck that place up real good to stick it to God. Satan volunteers for the job, and is applauded. On his way to Earth through Chaos he is accosted by the strange characters of Sin and Death.

The Verse

High on a Throne of Royal State, which far [1]
Outshin’d the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,[1]
Satan exalted sat, by merit rais’d
To that bad eminence; aspiring
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue [5]
Vain war with Heav’n, and by success untaught
His proud imaginations thus displayed.
“Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heav’n,”
Began the Fiend, down-looking on his crew,
“I give not Heav’n for lost. From this descent [10]
Our celestial power shall overcome
This temporary adversity, and
Then reclaim what was justly ours from start.
For from here atop my safe, unenvied
Throne (unenvied, for who would envy him [15]
Who is sat highest?), Assumed by me with
Full consent of those I preside over
(For whom better to reign in Hell than I?),[2]
I shall with skill lead our counter against
His bad Eminence, whatever it is [20]
Our counter shall be. Speak, then, Dominions,
For here in Hell all voices are welcom’d.”
He ceas’d, and next him Moloch, Scepter’d King
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit
That fought in Heav’n, now fiercer by despair, [25]
Who in his state of injury cared not
To be at all. His council was thus:
“My sentence is for open war, for while
Those who would contrive sit here doing so,
The rest of us, millions in arms, would stand [30]
Lingering until given the order
To ascend and fight and retake Heaven.
Arm’d with Hell’s flames and fury all at once,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer, we should make way. [35]
And if the celestïal stuff of our
Design is infallible, and cannot
Be unmade, what have we to fear? At worst
We will be here returnèd, same as now,
And will have shook his fatal Throne once more, [40]
Which if not victory is yet revenge.”
Satan consider’d this proposition.
“Moloch,” began the Fiend, “that’s the stupidest
Shit I’ve ever heard. Seriously, Moloch,
What manner of fool would ever dare war [45]
With God, who is omnipotent?[3] Now does
Anyone here have an idea that isn’t
Completely and totally fucking stupid?”
On th’ other side up rose Belial, whose tongue
Dropp’d Manna, and could make the worse appear [50]
The better reason, for he pleas’d the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began:
“I should be much for open war, O peers,
If the main cause for open war did not
Dissuade me most. Of Moloch’s aim, revenge: [55]
First, what revenge? The Tow’rs of Heav’n are fill’d
With Armèd watch, that render all access
Impregnable; no revenge shall be had.
And of his second point: there are far worse
Fates than our current. Was it not worse when [60]
Were chainèd upon that burning lake?
That sure was worse. And what of being not?
That sure is worse also. Th’ Omnipotent sits
And in one glance sees everything at once,
Including our contriving here and now [65]
Which he surely derides; better it would
Be to not be at all, for only through
His suff’rance are we standing here and now.”
Thus Belial spake, and the Fiend considered.
“Fucking pussy!” Th’ Enemy shouted loud, [70]
“Has anyone amongst the fallen crew
Of Heaven any plan worth more than salt?”[4]
Upon these words Mammon began to speak.
“Either to disinthrone the King of Heav’n
We war, if war be best, or to regain [75]
Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then
May hope when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife:
The former vain to hope argues as vain
The latter: for what place can be for us [80]
Within Heav’n’s bound, unless Heav’n’s Lord supreme
We overpower? Suppose he should relent
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive—” [85]
And at this point, in midst of speech, Mammon
By th’ Enemy is interrupted rude:
“First of all, Mammon, I haven’t a clue
Just where you’re going with that speech of yours.[5]
Secondly, I’ve got my own idèa: [90]
Word on the street is that God’s to create
An inferïor Heaven and within
Creatures like though less than Heav’n’s angels pure;
I propose we fuck that shit up real good
And stick it to God the Omnipotent.” [95]
He scarce had finish’d, when such murmur fill’d
Th’ Assembly of great Pandemonium.
“I volunteer myself,” then spake the Fiend,
With full consent most manufacturèd,
“To undertake this journey perilous [100]
Alone, and without aid, since we are all
In agreement to this great plan of mine.”
Brief confusion fill’d the hall, which gave way
Then to uproarious and loud applause.
The Stygian Council thus dissolvèd; [105]
Meanwhile the Adversary of God and Man
Satan with thoughts inflam’d of highest design,
Put on swift wing, and compass’d Hell around,
Reaching at last his prison’s threefold Gates:
Thrice times threefold they were: three Gates of brass, [110]
Three iron, and three of adamantine rock
Impen’trable, impal’d with circling fire.
Well fuck, thought then the gen’ral Fiend of Man,
When before the Stygïan Gates he saw
On either side a formidable shape: [115]
The one seem’d woman to the waste, and fair,
But ended foul in many a scaly fold
Voluptuous and vast, terminating
With a long serpent’s tail with mortal sting;[6]
The other shape, if shape it might be call’d, [120]
Indistinguishable in joint or limb,
Its substance might be call’d that of shadow
But with a big gigantic fucking maw.
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast [125]
With horrid strides, Hell trembl’d as he strode.
Satan, undeterr’d, took up his mighty
Arms; the monster before the Fiend tenfold
Grew in size, its dreadfulness compoundèd;
So match’d they stood, and would have fought vicious, [130]
Had not the snaky sorceress that sat[7]
Fast by Hell’s Gate, and kept the fatal Key,
Ris’n, and with hideous outcry rush’d between.
“O father, what intends thy hand,” she cry’d,
“Against thy only son? What fury, O son, [135]
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart
Against thy father’s head?” To which Satan,
Now very much perplex’d, replied: “A-whaaaaah?”
T’ whom thus the portress of Hell’s Gate replied:
“Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem [140]
Now in thine eye so foul, once deem’d so fair
In Heav’n, when at th’ assembly, and in sight
Of all the Seraphim with thee combin’d
In bold conspiracy against Heav’n’s King,
All on a sudden miserable pain [145]
Surpris’d thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast
Threw forth, till on the left side op’ning wide,
Likest to thee in shape and count’nance bright,
Then shining Heav’nly fair, a Goddess arm’d [150]
Out of thy head I sprung—”[8] Interrupted[9]
Here by the Arch-Fiend she was most rudely.
“Now that’s just crazy!” Interjected he,
“Just give me the fucking Key to Hell’s Gate
And then I’ll be on my way.” This was met with [155]
A sigh on the part of the monstrous Death
And a most disappointed look from Sin;
And then Sin, from her side the fatal Key,
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took,
And towards the Gate roll’d her bestïal train, [160]
Unlocking thus the mighty Gates of Hell.

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The Annotations

  1. Ind. Short for “India.” Here, the author tactfully leaves off the last two syllables of the place-name in order to make the iambic pentameter work.
  2. These lines are generally thought to indicate that Satan is, in fact, something of an idiot.
  3. As do these lines.
  4. And these lines.
  5. And these.
  6. It is often debated whether it would be preferable to have an allegorical female demon with a woman’s torso and a snake’s tail, or the upper body of a snake and the “business end” of a woman.
  7. An excellent example of allegorical alliteration.
  8. Sin springing out of Satan’s head is meant to invoke the Greek myth of Athena’s birth, who sprang, fully formed, out of Zeus’ head. The implied sexual intercourse between the two (which produces Death, Satan’s “only son”) is also meant as an allusion to the ever-incestuous Greek gods.
  9. Yet another instant of Satan interrupting what would have otherwise been a much longer speech. It is believed these constant interruptions by Satan, and later by other characters, convey the author’s hurried desire to speed the narrative along as quickly as possible, as it is clear that the author has better things to do.