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Her son.






Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend

So fail not thou, who thee implores :
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.

Say, goddess, what ensued, when Raphaël,
The affable archangel, had forewarn'd
Adam, by dire example, to beware
Apostasy, by what befell in heaven
To those apostates ; lest the like befall
In Paradise to Adam or his race,
Charged not to touch the interdicted tree,
If they transgress, and slight that sole command,
So easily obey'd amid the choice
Of all tastes else to please their appetite,
Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve,
The story heard attentive, and was fillid
With admiration and deep muse, to hear
Of things so high and strange; things, to their thought
So unimaginable, as hate in heaven,
And war so near the peace of God and bliss,
With such confusion : but the evil, soon
Driven back, redounded as a flood on those
From whom it sprung; impossible to mix
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeal'd
The doubts that in his heart arose ; and now
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him ; how this world
Of heaven and earth conspicuous first began;
When, and whereof created; for what cause ;
What within Eden, or without was done
Before his memory: as one, whose drouth
Yet scarce allay'd, still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
Proceeded thus to ask his heavenly guest :

Great things and full of wonder in our ears,
Far differing from this world, thou hast reveald,
Divine interpreter! by favour sent
Down from the empyrean, to forewarn
Us timely of what might else have been our loss,
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach ;
For which to the infinitely Good we owe
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment
Receive, with solemn purpose to observe
Immutably his sovran will, the end
Of what we are.

But since thou hast vouchsafed
Gently, for our instruction, to impart
Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd
Our knowing, as to highest Wisdom seem'd;
Deign to descend now lower, and relate
What may no less perhaps avail us known;

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How first began this heaven which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd
Innumerable ; and this which yields or fills
All space, the ambient air wide interfused,
Embracing round this florid earth : what
Moved the Creator, in his holy rest
Through all eternity, so late to build
In Chaos; and the work begun, how soon
Absolved; if unforbid thou mayst unfold
What we, not to explore the secrets, ask,
Of his eternal empire, but the more
To magnify his works, the more we know :
And the great light of day & yet wants to run
Much of his race though steep; suspense in heaven,
Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears ;
And longer will delay to hear thee tell
His generation, and the rising birth
Of Nature from the unapparent deep :
Or if the star of evening and the moon
Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring
Silence; and Sleep, listening to thee, will watch ;
Or we can bid his absence, till thy song
End h, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought;
And thus the godlike angel answer'd mild:

This also thy request, with caution ask'd,
Obtain ; though to recount almighty works
What words or tongue of seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend ?
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
Thy hearing ; such commission from above
I have received, to answer thy desire
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain

& And the great light of day. Mr. Thyer is of opinion that there is not a greater instance of our author's exquisite skill in the art of poetry than this and the following lines. There is nothing more really to be expressed than Adam's telling Raphael his desire to hear the continuance of his relation : and yet the poet, by a series of strong and noble figures, has worked it up into half a score of as fine lines as any in the poem. Lord Shaftesbury has observed, that Milton's beauties generally depend upon solid thought, strong reasoning, noble passion, and a continued thread of moral doctrine; but in this place he has shown what an exalted fancy and mere force of poetry can do.--NEWTON.

Lord Shaftesbury had not a very accurate idea of Milton's genius; which, if it had all the qualities here ascribed to it, was not less rich and gigantic in imagination and invention.

h Bid his absence, till thy song

The sun did stand still at the voice of Joshua.-NEWTON.
Milton's favourite Ovid touches upon the suspense of day :-

et euntem multa loquendo
Detinuit sermone diem.






To ask ; nor let thine own inventions i hope
Things not reveal'd, which the invisible Kingi,
Only Omniscient, hath suppress’d in night,
To none communicable in earth or heaven;
Enough is left besides to search and know:
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temperance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain ;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind k.

Know then, that, after Lucifer from heaven
(So call him, brighter once amidst the host
Of angels, than that star the stars among)
Fell with his flaming legions through the deep
Into his place, and the great Son return'd
Victorious with his saints, the Omnipotent
Eternal Father from his throne beheld
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake :

At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought
All like himself rebellious; by whose aid
This inaccessible high strength, the seat
Of Deity supreme, us dispossessed,
He trusted to have seized, and into fraud
Drew many, whom their place knows here no more ;
Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,
Their station; heaven, yet populous, retains
Number sufficient to possess her realms
Though wide, and this high temple to frequent
With ministeries due, and solemn rites :
But, lest his heart exalt him in the harm
Already done, to have dispeopled heaven,
My damage fondly deem'd, I can repair
That detriment, if such it be to lose
Self-lost; and in a moment will create
Another world, out of one man a race
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
Not here; till by degrees of merit raised,






i Thine own inventions. So in Psalm cvi. 29 : “Thus they provoked him to anger with their own inventions." -PEARCE.

i The invisible King. As God is styled, 1 Tim. i. 17: The invisible King,” so this is the properest epithet that could have been employed here, when be is speaking of “things not revealed, suppressed in night, to none communicable in earth or heaven,” neither to men nor angels; as it is said of the day of judgment, Matt. xxiv. 36: “Of that day and hour knoweth no man : no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”—NEWTON.

k Nourishment to wind. See St. Paul, 1 Cor. viii. 1: “Knowledge puffeth up.”—TODD.

1 Whom their place. See Job vii, 10 : “Neither shall his place know him any more.”—NEWTON.






They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience tried ;
And earth be changed to heaven, and heaven to earth,
One kingdom, joy and union without end.
Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye powers of heaven ;
And thou, my word, begotten Son, by thee
This I perform; speak thou, and be it done!
My overshadowing Spirit m and Might with thee
I send along: ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be heaven and earth ;
Boundless the deep, because I Am, who fill
Infinitude; nor vacuous the space;
Though I, uncircumscribed myself, retire,
And put not forth my goodness, which is free
To act or not: necessity and chance
Approach not me, and what I will is fate.

So spake the Almighty, and to what he spake,
His Word, the filial Godhead, gave effect.
Immediate are the acts of God, more swift
Than time or motion ; but to human ears
Cannot without process of speech be told,
So told as earthly notion can receive.
Great triumph and rejoicing was in heaven,
When such was heard declared the Almighty's will ;
Glory they sung to the Most High, good will
To future men, and in their dwellings peace :
Glory to him, whose just avenging ire
Had driven out the ungodly from his sight
And the habitations of the just; to him
Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordain'd
Good out of evil to create ; instead
Of spirits malign, a better race to bring
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse
His good to worlds and ages infinite.

So sang the hierarchies : meanwhile the Son
On his great expedition now appear'd,
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of majesty divine : sapience and love
Immense, and all his Father in him shone.
About his chariot numberless were pour'd
Cherub and seraph, potentates and thrones,
And virtues, winged spirits, and chariots wing'd
From the armoury of God; where stand of old
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged
Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand,
Celestial equipage ; and now came forth





m My overshadowing Spirit. See Luke i. 35: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.”-NEWTON.






Spontaneous, for within them spirit lived,
Attendant on their Lord: heaven open'd wide
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound,
On golden hinges moving, to let forth
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word
And Spirit, coming to create new worlds.
On heavenly ground they stood ; and from the shore
They view'd n the vast immeasurable abyss
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heaven's highth, and with the centre mix the pole.

Silence, ye troubled waves ', and thou deep, peace,
Said then the omnific Word; your discord end !
Nor stay'd; but, on the wings of cherubim
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
Far into Chaos, and the world unborn ;
For Chaos heard his voice : him all his train
Follow'd in bright procession, to behold
Creation and the wonders of his might.
Then stay'd the fervid wheels; and in his hand
He took the golden compasses P, prepared
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things :
One foot he centred, and the other turn'd
Round through the vast profundity obscure
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds ;
This be thy just circumference, O world!
Thus God the heaven created q, thus the earth,
Matter unform’d and void : darkness profound
Cover'd the abyss ; but on the watery calm
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread,
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth,




From the shore

They view'd.
Here is a most magnificent picture, breathing all the powers of poetry.

Silence, ye troubled waves. How much does the brevity of the command add to the sublimity and majesty of it! It is the same kind of beauty that Longinus admires in the Mosaic history of the creation : it is of the same strain with the same “Omnific Word’s” calming the tempest in the Gospel, when he said to the raging sea, “Peace, be still.” Mark iv. 39. And how elegantly has he turned the commanding words, silence and peace, making one the first and the other the last in the sentence, and thereby giving the greater force and emphasis to both !—NEWTON.

p He took the golden compasses. See Prov. viii. 27 : “When he prepared the heavens I was there : when he set a compass upon the face of the deep.”—ŘICHARDSON.

4 Thus God the heaven created. The reader will naturally remark how exactly Milton copies Moses in his account of the creation. The seventh book of Paradise Lost may be called a larger sort of paraphrase upon the first chapter of Genesis : Milton not only observes the same series and order, but preserves the very words as much as he can.—NEWTON.

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