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Of alabaster, pild up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
Accessible from earth, one entrance high;
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of the angelick guards, awaiting night;
About him exercis'd heroick games
The unarmed youth of Heaven, but nigh at hand
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
Hung high, with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fir'd
Impress the air, and shows the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds: He thus began in haste.
Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given
Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place
No evil thing approach or enter in.
This day at highth of noon came to my sphere
A Spirit, zealous, as he seem'd, to know
More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,
God's latest image: I describ'd his way
Bent all on speed, and mark'd his aery gait;
But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
Where he first lighted, soon discern'd his look
Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscurid :
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him : One of the banish’d
crew, I fear, hath ventur'd from the deep, to raise New troubles; him thy care must be to find.
To whom the winged warriour thus return’d.
Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitst,
See far and wide : In at this gate none pass
The vigilance here plac'd, but such as come
Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour
No creature thence: If Spirit of other sort,
So minded, have o'er-leap'd these earthly bounds
On purpose, hard thou know'st it to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
Thou tell'st, by morrow dawning I shall know.
So promis'd he; and Uriel to his charge
Return’d on that bright beam, whose point now rais'd
Bore him slope downward to the sun now fall’n
Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb,
Incredible how swift, had thither roll’d
Diurnal, or this less volúbil earth,
By shorter flight to the east, had left him there
Arraying with reflected purple and gold
The clouds that on his western tlırone attend.
Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad ;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale ;
She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleas'd: Now glow'd the firmament
With living sapphires : Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
When Adam thus to Eve. Fair Consort, the hour
Of night, and all things now retir'd to rest,
Mind us of like repose ; since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines
Our eye-lids: Other creatures all day long
Rove idle, unemploy'd, and less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways;
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour, to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;
Mean while, as Nature wills, night bids us rest.
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd.
My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst
Unargued I obey: So God ordains;
God is thy law, thou mine: To know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers'; and sweet the the coming or
Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train :
But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers ;
Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet. . But wherefore all night long shine these ? for whom This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?
To whom our general ancestor replied. Daughter of God and Man, accomplish'd Eve, These have their course to finish round the earth, · By morrow evening, and from land to land In order, though to nations yet unborn, Ministring light prepar'd, they set and rise; Lest total Darkness should by night regain Her old possession, and extinguish life In Nature and all things; which these soft fires Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat Of various influence foment and
warm, Temper or nourish, or in part shed down Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow On earth, made hereby apter to receive Perfection from the sun's more potent ray. These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were noné, That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise: Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep: All these with ceaseless praise his works behold Both day and night: How often from the steep Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard Celestial voices to the midnight air, Sole, or responsive each to others note,