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But this I urge,
His beams, unactive else, their vigor find.
105 Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known. The swiftness of those circles attribute, Though numberless, to his Omnipotence, That to corporeal substances could add Speed almost spiritual: Me thou think'st not slow, 110 Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived In Eden; distance inexpressible By numbers that have name. Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show 115 Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved; Not that I so affirm, though so it seem To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth. God to remove his ways from human sense, Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight If it presume, might err in things too high, 121 And no advantage gain. What if the sun Be centre to the world; and other stars, By his attractive virtue and their own Incited dance about him various rounds?
125 Their wandering course now high, now low, then hid, Progressive, retrograde, or standing still, In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these The planet earth, so steadfast though she seem, Insensibly three different motions move?
130 Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe, Moved contrary with thwart obliquities;
Or save the sun his labor, and that swift
140 Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air, To the terrestrial moon be as a star, Enlightening her by day, as she by night This earth? reciprocal, if land be there, Fields, and inhabitants: Her spots thou seest 145 As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce Fruits in her soften’d soil for some to eat Allotted there; and other suns perhaps With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry, Communicating male and female light;
150 Which two great sexes animate the world, Stored in each orb perhaps with some that live. For such vast room in Nature unpossess'd By living soul, desert and desolate, Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute
155 Each orb a glimpse of light, convey'd so far Down to this habitable, which returns Light back to them, is obvious to dispute. But whether thus these things, or whether not; Whether the sun, predominant in Heaven, 160 Rise on the earth; or earth rise on the sun; He from the east his flaming road begin; Or she from west her silent course advance, With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps On her soft axle, while she paces even,
165 And bears thee soft with the smooth air along; Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid; Leave them to God above; him serve, and fear!
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
To whom thus Adam, clear'd of doubt, replied:
180 Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene! And, freed from intricacies, taught to live The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts To interrupt the sweet of life, from which God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares,
185 And not molest us; unless we ourselves Seek them with wandering thoughts and notions vain But apt the mind or fancy is to rove Uncheck’d, and of her roving is no end; Till warn’d, or by experience taught, she learn, 190 That, not to know at large of things remote From use, obscure and subtle; but to know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom: What is more is fume, Or emptiness, or fond impertinence:
195 And renders us, in things that most concern, Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek. Therefore from this high pitch let us descend A lower flight, and speak of things at hand Useful; whence, haply, mention may
200 Of something not unreasonable to ask, By sufferance, and thy wonted favor, deign'd. Thee I have heard relating what was done Ere my remembrance: now, hear me relate
My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard;
205 And day is not yet spent; till then thou seest How subtly to detain thee I devise; Inviting thee to hear while I relate; Fond! were it not in hope of thy reply: For, while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven; 210 And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear Than fruits of palm tree pleasantest to thirst And hunger both, from labor, at the hour. Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill, Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety. 216
To whom thus Raphael answer'd heavenly meek: Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of men, Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee Abundantly his gifts hath also pour'd
220 Inward and outward both, his image fair: Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace Attend thee; and each word, each motion, form; Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth Than of our fellow-servant, and enquire Gladly into the ways of God with Man: For God, we see, hath honor'd thee, and set On Man his equal love: Say therefore on; For I that day was absent, as befel, Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,
230 Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell; Squared in full legion (such command we had,) To see that none thence issued forth a spy, Or enemy, while God was in his work; Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold,
235 Destruction with creation might have mix'd. Not that they durst without his leave attempt; But as he sends upon his high behests For state, as Sov’reign King; and to inure Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut 240
The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong;
So spake the Godlike Power, and thus our Sire: For Man to tell how human life began
250 Is hard: for who himself beginning knew? Desire with thee still longer to converse Induced me. As new waked from soundest sleep, Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sun 255 Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turn'd, And gazed awhile the ample sky; till, raised By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung, As thitherward endeavoring, and upright
260 Stood on my feet: about me round I saw Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these Creatures that lived and moved, and walk'd, or flew; Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled; With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd. 266 Myself I then perused, and limb by limb Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran With supple joints, as lively vigor led: But who I was, or where, or from what cause, 270 Knew not; to speak I tried, and forth with spake; My tongue obey'd, and readily could name Whate'er I saw. Thou Sun, said I, fair light, And thou enlighten'd Earth, so fresh and gay, Ye Hills, and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plains, And ye that live and move, fair Creatures, tell, 276