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My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee
“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
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged
“Silence, ye troubled waves, and, thou Deep, peace!
Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purged
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 :
“ 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
“Again the Almighty spake, Let there be Lights