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Disiodging from a region scarce of prey
To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids 434
On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs
Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;
But in his way lights on the barren plains
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive
With sails and wird their cany waggons light:
So on this windy sea of land, the Fiend

Walk'd up and down alone, bent on his prey :
Alone ; for other creature in this place,
Living or lifeless, to be found was none;
None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
Up hither like aëreal vapours flew

445 Of all things transit'ry and vain, when sin With vanity had fill'd the works of men; Both all things vain, and all who in vain things Built their fond hopes of glory', or lasting fame, Or happiness, in this or th' other life ;

450 All who have their reward on earth, the fruits Of painful superstition and blind zeal, Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find Fit retribution, empty as their deeds: All th' unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand, 455 Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd, Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain, Till final dissolution, wander here; Not in the neighb'ring moon, as some have dream'd; Those argent fields more likely habitants, 460 Translated Saints or middle Spirits, hold Betwixt th' angelical and human kind. Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born First from the ancient world those giants came, 464 With many a vain exploit, though then renowu'd : The builders next of Babel on the plain Of Sennaar, and still with vain design New Babels, had they wherewith al, would build : Others came single; he who to be deem'd A God, leap'd fondly into Ætna flames,

470 438. Sericana ; that part of India called Cathay : it is remarkable for the smoothness of its plains. The description of limbo, which soll ws, has been greatly reprobated by Mr. Addison, and others. But here, as in other placex, Milton is best defended by calling to mind the character and design of his poem.

463. See Gen. vi. 4. 467. Senndar, or Slunar.

Empedocles ; and he who to enjoy
Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the sea,
Cleombrotus ; and many more too long,
Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars
White, black and grey, with all their trumpery. 475
Here Pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek
In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heav'n;
And they who, to be sure of Paradise,
Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised: 480
They pass the planets sev'n, and pass the fix'd,
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs
The trepidation talk'd, and that first moved ;
And now Saint Peter at Heav'n's wicket seems
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot 485
Of Heav'n's ascent they lift their feet, when lo,
A violent cross wind from either coast
Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues awry
Into the devious air; then might ye see
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost
And flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads, 491
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
The sport of winds: all these upwhirl'd aloft
Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
Into a Limbo large and broad, since call’d 495
The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
Long after, now un peopled, and untrod.
All this dark globe the Fiend found as he pass'd,
And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam
Of dawning light turn'a tbitherward in haste 500
His travell’d steps : far distant he descries
Ascending by degrees magnificent
Up to the wall of Heav'n a structure high ;
At top whereof, but far more rich, appear'd
The work as of a kingly palace gate,

471. Empedocles was a Pythagorean philosopher, who threw himself into the crater of Mount Etna.

473. Cleombrotus was a young man, who, having been deeply interested with Plato's retfections on the immortality of the soul, !eaped into the sea that he might at once enjoy the felicity men. tioned.

482. Milton here follows the ancient or Ptolemaic system of azronomy. Tasso mentions the same spheres in describing Michael's descent irom heaven, only in an inverse order. 489. The second person is here put indefinitely; then might be


With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Embellish'd : thick with sparkling orient gems
The portal shone, inimitable on earth
By model, or by shading pencil drawn.
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw 510
Angels ascending and descending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
To Padan-Aram in the field of Luz,
Dreaming by night under the open sky,
Aud waking cry'd, This is the gate of Heav'n. 515
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to Heav'n sometimes
Viewless : and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Wbo after came from earth, sailing arrived, 520
Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
The Fiend by easy 'scent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss : 525
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
A passage down to th’ Earth, a passage wide,
Wider by far than that of after-timez
Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, 530
Over the Promised Land, to God so dear,
By which, to visit oft those bappy tribes,
On high behests his Angels to and fro
Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
From Paneas the fount of Jordan's flood

To Beërsaba, where the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt and th’ Arabian shore :
So wide the op'ning seem'd, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair 340
That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a scout
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn 543

510. See Gen. xxviii. 12, 13. 534. Pass'd frequent, is to be understood after regard. 540. The description and comparison here are very noble.

Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his eye discovers unaware
The goodly prospect of some foreign land
First seen, or some renown’d metropolis
With glist'ring spires and pinnacles adorn'd, 550
Which now the rising Sun gilds with his beams :
Such wonder seized, though after Heaven seen,
The Spirit malign, but much more envy seized,
At sight of all this world beheld so fair.

Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood
So high above the circling canopy
Of Night's extended shade) from eastern point
Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantic seas
Beyond th' horizon; then from pole to pole 560
He views in breadth, and without longer pause
Down right into the world's first region throws
His flight precipitant, and winds with ease
Through the pure marble air his

lique way Ainongst innumerable stars, that shone

565 Stars distant, but nigh hand seem’d other worlds ; Or other worlds they seeni'd, or happy isles, Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old, Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales, Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there 570 He stay'd not to inquire: above them all The golden Sun, in splendour likest Heav'n, Allured his eye: thither his course he bends Through the calm firmament (but up or down, By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,

575 Or longitude) where the great luminary Aloof the vulgar constellations thick, That from his lordly eye keep distance due, Dispenses light from far; they as they move Their starry dance in numbers that compute 580 Days, months, and years, tow'rds his all-cheering lamp Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd By his magnetic beam, that gently warms The universe, and to each inward part

558 Constellations directly opposite to each other. The fleecy star is Aries, which is said to bear Andromeda, because just under il.

568, Hesperian gardens ; celebrated among the ancients, and supposed to have been the Cape Verd Islands.

With gentle penetration, though unseen, 585
Shoots invisible virtue ev'n to the deep;
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps
Astronomer in the Sun's luccnt orb
Through his glazed optic tube yet never saw, 590
The place he fourd beyond expression bright,
Compar'd with aught on earth, metal or stone;
Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire;
If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear; 595
If stone, carbuncle most, or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides
Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen,
That stone, or like to that which bere below 600
Philosophers in vain so long have sought ;
In vain, though by their pow'rful art they bind
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form. 605
What wonder then if fields and regions here
Breathe forth Elixir pure, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
Th' areb-chemic Sun, so far from is remote,
Produces with terrestrial humour mix'd

Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour glorious and effect so rare?
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
Undazzled ; far and wide his eye commands;
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade, 615
But all sunshine, as when his beams at noon
Culminate from th' equator, as they now
Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
Shadow from body opaque can fall; and th' air,
No where so clear, sharpen'd his visual ray 620
To objects distant far, whereby he soon
Saw withiu ken a glorious Angel stand,

603. Hermes, or Mercury; Proteus was a sea-god, celebrated as is well known for the variety of shapes he had the power of taking; the ancients meant to express, under the name of this fabulous being, the first principle of things. The stone alluded 10 is that by which philosophers hoped to turn all things into gold.

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