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The subject of the Poem proposed. Man's disobedience and subsequent loss of Paradise. The cause of his Fall is Satan, who, by revolting from God, and seducing to his side legions of Angels, is driven from Heaven with all his crew into the great deep. The Poem now presents Satan and his Angels on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astounded. He awakens his legions; they rise;-their numbers, battle-array, and leaders, whom the poet identifies with the Pagan deities. Satan addresses them, and comforts them with the hope of yet regaining Heaven; but tells them of an ancient prophecy of a New World, and a new being to be created. To discover the truth of this prophecy, he calls a council; Pandemonium, Satan's palace, suddenly rises from the deep. Here the infernal spirits hold a council.
Or Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man2
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
That shepherd 4, who first taught the chosen seed
1 Not subject to, but producing, death.
2 By "one greater Man" is meant Christ, who was to restore fallen man, and redeem him from the consequence of his disobedience.
3 Oreb or Horeb, one of the eminences of Sinai; a mountain-range of Arabia Petræa, at the N. end of the Red Sea.
4 Moses. See Exod. iii. 1.
In the beginning, how the Heavens and Earth
Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,
1 Chaos, a Greek word, signifying a vast void, or confused mass of
2 A mountain on the S. side of Jerusalem.
3" The oracle of God"- the temple of Jerusalem.
4 Aonia, an ancient name of Boo
tia, a province of Greece, specially favoured by the Muses.
5 The Spirit of God.
6 Principal, or chief, as in grand juror, Grand Seignor, &c.
7" What time," a Latin idiom for when.