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My overshadowing Spirit 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,

170
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 180 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 peaceGlory 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 ordained Good out of evil to create-instead Of Spirits malign, a better race to bring Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse

190 His good to worlds and ages infinite.

“ So sang the Hierarchies. Meanwhile the Son On his great expedition now appeared, Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crowned Of majesty divine, sapience and love Immense; and all his Father in him shone. About his chariot numberless were poured Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones, And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged From the armoury of God, where stand of old

200 21

Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged
Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand,
Celestial equipage ; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them Spirit lived,
Attendant on their Lord. Heaven opened 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 viewed the vast immeasurable Abyss,
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turned 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 stayed; 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
Followed in bright procession, to behold
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
Then stayed the fervid wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepared
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This Universe, and all created things.
One foot he centred, and the other turned
Round through the vast profundity obscure,
And said, “Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds ; 230
This be thy just circumference, O World !!
Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth,
Matter unformed and void. Darkness profound
Covered the Abyss; but on the watery calm
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread,
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth,

220

Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purged
The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs,
Adverse to life; then founded, then conglobed,
Like things to like, the rest to several place

240 Disparted, and between spun out the Air, And Earth, self-balanced, on her centre hung.

“Let there be Light!' said God; and forthwith Light Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, Sprung from the Deep, and from her native East To journey through the aery gloom began, Sphered in a radiant cloud—for yet the Sun Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle Sojourned the while. God saw the Light was good ; And light from darkness by the hemisphere 250 Divided : Light the Day, and Darkness Night, He named. Thus was the first Day even and morn; Nor passed uncelebrated, nor unsung By the celestial quires, when orient light Exhaling first from darkness they beheld, Birth-day of Heaven and Earth. With joy and shout The hollow universal orb they filled, And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised God and his works ; Creator him they sung, Both when first evening was, and when first morn. 260

Again God said, 'Let there be firmament Amid the waters, and let it divide The waters from the waters !' And God made The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, Transparent, elemental air, diffused In circuit to the uttermost convex Of this great round_partition firm and sure, The waters underneath from those above Dividing ; for as Earth, so he the World Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide 270 Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule Of Chaos far removed, lest fierce extremes

Contiguous might distemper the whole frame :
And Heaven he named the Firmament.

So even
And morning chorus sung the second Day.

“ The Earth was formed, but, in the womb as yet Of waters, embryon immature, involved, Appeared not; over all the face of Earth Main ocean flowed, not idle, but, with warm Prolific humour softening all her globe,

280 Fermented the great mother to conceive, Satiate with genial moisture; when God said, • Be gathered now, ye waters under heaven, Into one place, and let dry land appear !' Immediately the mountains huge appear Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky. So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep, Capacious bed of waters. Thither they

290 Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolled, As drops on dust conglobing, from the dry : Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct, For haste; such flight the great command impressed On the swift floods. As armies at the call Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard) Troop to their standard, so the watery throng, Wave rolling after wave, where way they foundIf steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain, Soft-ebbing ; nor withstood them rock or hill;

300 But they, or underground, or circuit wide With serpent error wandering, found their way, And on the washy ooze deep channels wore : Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry, All but within those banks where rivers now Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train. The dry land Earth, and the great receptacle Of congregated waters he called Seas;

And saw that it was good, and said, “ Let the Earth
Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, 310
And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind,
Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth !'
He scarce had sai when the bare Earth, till then
Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned,
Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad
Her universal face with pleasant green ;
Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered,
Opening their various colours, and made gay
Her bosom, smelling sweet; and, these scarce blown,
Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept
The smelling gourd, up stood the corny reed 321
Embattled in her field : add the humble shrub,
And bush with frizzled hair implicit : last
Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread
Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed
Their blossoms. With high woods the hills were crowned,
With tufts the valleys and each fountain-side,
With borders long the rivers, that Earth now
Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where gods might dwell,
Or wander with delight, and love to haunt 330
Her sacred shades; though God had yet not rained
Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground
None was, but from the Earth a dewy mist
Went up and watered all the ground, and each
Plant of the field, which ere it was in the Earth
God made, and every herb before it grew
On the green stem. God saw that it was good ;
So even and morn recorded the third Day.

“Again the Almighty spake, Let there be Lights
High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide 340
The Day from Night ; and let them be for signs,
For seasons, and for days, and circling years ;
And let them be for lights, as I ordain
Their office in the firmament of heaven,

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