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At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity
“Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to know The works of God, thereby to glorify The great Work-master, leads to no excess That reaches blame, but rather merits praise The more it seems excess, that led thee 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 Their number, or the wisdom infinite That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep ? I saw when, at his word, the formless mass, This World's material mould, came to a heap : Confusion heard his voice, and wild Uproar 710 Stood ruled, stood vast Infinitude confined ; Till, at his second bidding, Darkness fled, Light shone, and order from disorder sprung. Swift to their several quarters hasted then The cumbrous elements—Earth, Flood, Air, Fire ; And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven Flew upward, spirited with various forms That rolled orbicular, and turned to stars Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move : Each had his place appointed, each his course ; 720 The rest in circuit walls this Universe. Look downward on that globe, whose hither side
With light from hence, though but reflected, shines.
Thus said, he turned ; and Satan, bowing low, As to superior Spirits is wont in Heaven, Where honour due and reverence none neglects, Took leave, and toward the coast of Earth beneath, Down from the ecliptic, sped with hoped success, 740 Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel, Nor staid till on Niphates' top he lights.
THE END OF THE THIRD BOOK.
Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God and Man, falls into many doubts with himself and many passions-fear, envy, and despair ; but at length confirms himself in evil; journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described; overleaps the bounds; sits, in the shape of a cormorant, on the Tree of Life, as highest in the Garden, to look about him. The Garden described ; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve ; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall; overhears their discourse ;
thence gathers that the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden them to eat of under penalty of death, and thereon intends to found his temptation by seducing them to transgress; then leaves them a while, to know further of their state by some other means. Meanwhiie Uriel, descending on a sunbeam, warns Gabriel, who had in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil Spirit had escaped the Deep, and passed at noon by his Sphere, in the shape of a good Angel, down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest; their bower described ; their evening worship. Gabriel, drawing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the rounds of Paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil Spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping: there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom questioned, he scornfully answers ; prepares resistance ; but, hindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.
FOR that warning voice, which he who saw
The Apocalypse heard cry in Heaven aloud, Then when the Dragon, put to second rout, Came furious down to be revenged on men, Woe to the inhabitants on Earth! that now,
While time was, our first parents had been warned
Horror and doubt distract
30 Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began :
“O thou that, with surpassing glory crowned, Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god Of this new World—at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminished heads—to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere, Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, 40 Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King !
Ah, wherefore ? He deserved no such return
But other Powers as great
70 Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Me miserable ! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath and infinite despair ? Which way I fly is Hell ; myself am Hell ; And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep Still threatening to devour me opens wide,