Page images

Not that I so affirm, though so it seem
To thee who hast thy dwelling here on earth.
God, to remove his ways from human sense,
Placed heaven from earth so far, that earthly sight,
If it presume, might err in things too high,
And no advantage gain. What if the sun
Be centre to the world, and other stars,
By his attractive virtue and their own
Incited, dance about him various rounds ?
Their wandering course now high, now low, then hid,
Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,
In six thou seest; and what if, seventh to these,
The planet earth, so steadfast though she seem,
Insensibly three different motions move?
Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe,
Moved contrary with thwart obliquities;
Or save the sun his labour, and that swift
Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed,
Invisible else above all stars, the wheel
Of day and night; which needs not thy belief,
If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day
Travelling east, and with her part averse
From the sun's beam meet night, her other part
Still luminous by his ray. What if that light,
Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air,
To the terrestrial moon be as a star,
Enlightening her by day, as she by night
This earth? reciprocal, if land be there,
Fields and inhabitants. Her spots thou seest
As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce
Fruits in her soften'd soil, for some to eat

Allotted there; and other suns, perhaps,
With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry,
Communicating male and female light,
Which two great sexes animate the world,
Stored in each orb, perhaps, with some that live:
For such vast room in nature unpossess'd
By living soul, desert and desolate,
Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute
Each orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far
Down to this habitable, which returns
Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.
But whether thus these things, or whether not;
Whether the sun, predominant in heaven,
Rise on the earth, or earth rise on the sun;
He from the east his flaming road begin,
Or she from west her silent course advance,
With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps
On her soft axle, while she paces even,
And bears thee soft with the smooth air along,
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid;
Leave them to God above; him serve and fear.
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve; heaven is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise :
Think only what concerns thee, and thy being;
Dream not of other worlds; what creatures there
Live in what state, condition, or degree;
Contented that thus far hath been reveald
Not of earth only, but of highest heaven."

To whom thus Adam, clear'd of doubt, replied: “How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure Intelligence of heaven, angel serene ! And, freed from intricacies, taught to live The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts To interrupt the sweet of life, from which God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, And not molest us; unless we ourselves Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions

vain. But apt the mind or fancy is to rove Uncheck’d, and of her roving is no end; Till warn’d, or by experience taught, she learn, That not to know at large of things remote From use, obscure and subtle, but to know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom: what is more, is fume, Or emptiness, or fond impertinence; And renders us, in things that most concern, Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek. Therefore from this high pitch let us descend A lower flight, and speak of things at hand Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise Of something not unseasonable to ask, By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deign'd. Thee I have heard relating what was done Ere my remembrance: now, hear me relate My story, which, perhaps, thou hast not heard ; And day is not yet spent; till then thou seest How subtly to detain thee I devise, Inviting thee to hear while I relate;

Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply:
For, while I sit with thee, I seem in heaven;
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst
And hunger both, from labour, at the hour
Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill,
Though pleasant; but thy words, with


divine Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety.”

To whom thus Raphael answer'd, heavenly meek: “Nor are thy lips ungraceful, sire of men, Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee Abundantly his gifts hath also pour’d, Inward and outward both, his image fair: Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace Attends thee; and each word, each motion, forms: Nor less think we in heaven of thee on earth Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire Gladly into the ways of God with man; For God, we see, hath honour'd thee, and set On man his equal love: say therefore on; For I that day was absent, as befell, Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, Far on excursion toward the gates of hell; Squared in full legion (such command we had,) To see that none thence issued forth a spy, Or enemy, while God was in his work ; Lest he, incens'd at such eruption bold, Destruction with creation might have mix'd. Not that they durst without his leave attempt: But us he sends upon his high behests For state, as sovereign King, and to inure

Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut,
The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong;
But, long ere our approaching, heard within
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song;
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
Glad we return’d up to the coasts of light
Ere sabbath evening: so we had in charge.
But thy relation now; for I attend,
Pleased with thy words no less than thou with

So spake the godlike power, and thus our sire:
“For man to tell how human life began
Is hard; for who himself beginning knew?
Desire with thee still longer to converse
Induced me. As new waked from soundest sleep,
Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid,
In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sun
Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward heaven my wondering eyes I turn’d,
And gazed awhile the ample sky; till, raised
By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet: about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these,
Creatures that lived and moved, and walk'd or flew;
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled;
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd.
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
With supple joints, as lively vigour led :

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »