UnPoetia:Paradise Abridged/Book X

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The Argument


Man’s transgression known, the guardian angels forsake Paradise, and return up to Heaven to approve their vigilance, and are approv’d, God declaring that the entrance of Satan could not be by them prevented. Meanwhile, Satan returns to Hell, relates to his fallen host his great success, and is applauded—or, rather, hiss’d at, as he and all his host have been transformed into snakes by God.

The Verse

Meanwhile the heinous and despiteful act [1]
Of Satan done in Paradise, and how
He in the Serpent, had perverted Eve,
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,
Was known in Heav’n; for what can ’scape the eye [5]
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
Omniscient, who in all things wise and just,
Hinder’d not Satan to attempt the mind
Of Man, with strength entire, and free will arm’d,
Complete to have discover’d and repuls’d [10]
Whatever wiles of Foe or seeming Friend
But didn’t. The guardian angels, Gabriel
And co, back up to Heav’n re-ascended,
And stood in shame before Almighty God.
“Assembl’d angels, and ye Powers return’d [15]
From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay’d,
Nor troubl’d at these tidings from the Earth,
Which your sincerest care could not prevent,
Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
When first this Tempter cross’d the Gulf from Hell.” [20]
Thus spake the Lord Almighty God, to which
Gabriel replied: “Yes, we couldn’t stop
Him, but couldn’t You?” To which the Lord God
To th’ Archangel Gabriel said: “Shut up.”
Meanwhile, back in deepest Hell, the Arch-Fiend [25]
Re-descended to Pandemonium,
And stood before his fallen crew and said:
“Thrones, Dominions, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,
For in possession such, not only of right,
I call ye and declare ye now, return’d [30]
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth
Triumphant out of this infernal Pit
Abominable, accurs’d, the house of woe,
And dungeon of our tyrant: Now possess,
As lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven [35]
Little inferior, by my adventure hard
With peril great atchiev’d.” Then Satan stood,
And waited for applause, but was met with
Hissing instead, for all the host of Hell
Had been by their Sin transformèd to snakes.[1] [40]
“Fuck!” hiss’d Satan, now truly a serpent.

Clicketh Here for Book XI

The Annotations

  1. Why God didn’t do this, say, before Satan corrupted all mankind is a question posed by both Milton scholars and frustrated undergraduates alike.