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Stars diftant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds;
Or other worlds they seem’d, or happy ifles,
Like those Hesperian gardens fam'd of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales;
Thrice happy ifles, but who dwelt happy there 570
He stay'd not to inquire. Above them all
The golden Sun, in fplendour likest Heaven,
Allur'd his eye; thither his course he bends'
Through the calm firmament, (but up or down,
By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,

Or longitude), where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar constellations'thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far; they as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute 580
Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering
Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd [lamp
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetration, though unseen, 585
Shoots invisible virtue ev'n to the deep;
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps
Astronomer in the Sun's lucent orb
Through his glaz'd optic tube yet never saw. 590
The place he found beyond expression bright,
Compar'd with aught on earth, metal or stone;
Not all parts like, but all alike inform’d
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire :
If metal, part seein'd gold, part filver clear; 595
If stone, carbuncle moft or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breastplate, and a stone besides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere fcen,
That stone, or like to that which here below 600,
Philosophers in vain so long have fought,



In vain, tho' by their pow'rful art they bind
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
"In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd thro' a limbec to his native form.
What wonder then if fields and regions here
Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
Th’arch-chemic fun, so far from us remote,
Produces, with terrestrial humour mix'd, 680
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour glorious, and effect fo rare?
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
Undazzled ; far and wide his eye commands;
For fight no obstacle found here, nor shade,
But all sunshine, as when his beams at noon
Culminate from th’equator, as they now
Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
Shadow from body' opaque can fall; and th' air,
No where so clear, sharpen'd bis visual ray 620
To objects distant far, whereby he foon
Saw within ken a glorious angel ftand,
The same whom John saw also in the Sun :
His back was turn'd, but not his brightness hid ;
Of beaming funny rays a golden tiar

Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
Illustrious on his shoulders Hedge with wings
Lay waving round; on fome great charge employ'd
He seem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep.
Glad was the fpi'rit impure, as now in hope 630
To find who might direct his wand'ring flight
To Paradise, the happy seat of man,
His journey's end, and our beginning woe.
But first he casts to change his proper shape,
Which elfe might work him danger or delay ; 635
And now a Atripling Cherub he appears,,
Not of the prime, yet fuch as in his face

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Youth smild celestial, and to every limb
Suitable grace diffus'd, so well he feiga'd:
Under a coronet his flowing hair

In curls on either cheek play'd; wings he wore
Of many a colour'd plume, sprinkled with gold;
His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
Before his decent steps a silver wand.
He drew not nigh unheard; the angel bright, 645
Ere he drew nigh his radiant visage turn'd,
Admonish'd by his ear, and strait was known
Th' archangel Uriël, one of the seven
Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne,
Stand ready at command, and are bis eyes 6yo
That run thro' all the heav'ns, or down to th' earth
Bear his swift errands, over moist and dry,
O'er fea and land : him Satan thus accosts,

Uriel, for thou of those fev'n spirits that stand
In fight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 655
The first art wont his great authentic will
Interpreter thro' highest heav'n to bring,
Where all his fons thy embaffy attend;
And here art likeliest by supreme decree
Like honour to obtain ;


To visit oft this new creation round;
Unspeakable desire to fee, and know
All these his wond'rous works, but chiefly man,
His chief delight and favour, him for whom
All these his works so wond'rous he ordain'd,
Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim
Alone thus wand'ring. Brighest Seraph, tell
In which of all these shining orbs hath man
His fixed feat, or fixed seat hath none,
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; 67

find him, and with secret gaze Or open admiration him behold, On whom the great Creator hath bestow'd


as his


That I

. Book III.
Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces pour'd;
That both in him and all things, as is meet, 675
The universal Maker we may praise ;
Who justly hath driv'n out his rebel-foes
To deepest hell, and, to repair that loss
Created this new happy race of men
To serve him better: wife are all his ways. 680

So spake the false difsembler un perceiv'd;
For neither man nor angel can discern
Hypocrisy, the only' evil that walks
Invisible, except to God alone,
By his permissive will, thro' heaven and earth:

And oft tho' wisdom wake, fufpicion sleeps
At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill seems': which now for once beguild
Uriel, tho' regent of the Sun, and held 690
The sharpest-fighted fpi'rit of all in heaven;
Who to the fraudulent impoftor foul,
In his uprightness answer thus return'd.

Fair angel, thy defire, which tends to know
The works of God, thereby to glorify

695 The

great work-malter, leads to no excess
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
The more it seems excess, that led tħee hither
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone,
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps, 700
Contented with report, hear only' in heaven:
For wonderful indeed are all his works,
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
Had in remembrance always with delight;
But what created mind can comprehend 705
Their number, or the wisdom infinite
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep?
I saw when at his word the formless mals,

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This world's material mould, came to a heap :
Confufion heard his voice, and wild uproar 710
Stood ruld, stood vast infinitude confin'd;
Till at his second bidding darkness fled,
Light shone, and order from disorder sprung:
Swift to their several quarters halted then
The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire;

And this ethereal quinteffence of heaven
Flew upward, spirited with various forms,
That rollid orbicular, and turn'd to stars
Numberless, as thou feest, and how they move;
Each had his place appointed, each his course ; 920*
The rest in circuit walls this universe.
Look downward on that globe, whose hither side,
With light from hence, tho' but reflected, shines ;
That place is earth, the seat of man; that light
His day, which elfe, as th other hemisphere, 725
Night would invade; but there the neighb'ring moon
(So call that oppofite fair star) her aid
Timely' interposes, and her monthly round
Still ending, fill renewing, thro' mid heav'n,
With borrow'd light her countenance triform 730
Hence fills, and empties, to enlighten th' earth,
And in her pale dominion checks the night.
That spot to which I point is Paradise,
Adam's abode, those lofty shades his bower ;
The way thou canst not miss, me mine requires. 735

Thus faid, he turn'd; and Satan bowing low, As to superiour fpi'rits is wont in heaven, Where honour due and reverence none neglects, Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneatb, Down from th' ecliptic, sped with hop'd success, 740 Throws his steep flight in many an airy wheel; Nor stay'd, till on Niphates top he lights,

End of the Third Book.

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