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What within Eden or without was done
Before his memory, as one whose drought
Yet scarce allay'd, still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
Proceeded thus to ask his heav'nly guest :

Great things, and full of wonder in our ears,
Far differing from this world thou hast reveal'd,
Divine interpreter, by favour sent
Down from the empyrean to forewarn
Us timely of what might else have been our loss,
Unknown, which huinan knowledge could not reach :
For which to th' infinitely Good we owe
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment
Receive with solemn purpose to observe
Immutably his sov'reign will, the end
Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsaf'd
Gently for oui instruction to impart
Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem'd,
Deign to descend now lower, and relate
What may no less perhaps avail to know,
How first began this heav'n which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd
Innumerable, and this which yields or fills
Ali
space,

the ambient air wide interfusd Einbracing round this floral earth, what Mov'd the Creator in his holy rest Through all eternity so late to build In Chaos, and the work begun, how soon Absolv’d, if unforbid thou mayst unfolu What we, not to explore the secrets ask (i his eternal empire, but the more To inagnify his works, the more we know. And the great light of day yet wants to run Much of his race though steep; suspense in heavon, Held by thy voice, thy potent voice he hears, And longer will delay to hear thee tell His generation, and the rising birth Of nature from the unnapparent deep •

cause

:. Or if the star of evening and the moon

Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring
Silence, and sleep list'ning to thee will watch,
Or we can bid his absence, till thy song
End and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.

Thuis Adam his illustrious guest besought :
And thus the godlike angel answer'd mild:
This also thy request with caution ask'd,
Obtain: though to recount almighty works,
What words or tongue of seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend ?
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shalt not be withheld
Thy bearing, such commission from above
I have receiv'd, to answer thy desire
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not reveald, which th' invisible King,
Only omniscient, hath suppress'd in night,
To none communicable in earth or heav'n:
Enough is left besides to search and know.
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temp’rance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.
Know then, that after Lucifer from heav'n
(So call him, brighter once amidst the host
Of angels, than that star the stars among:)
Fell with his flaming legions through the decr
Into his place, and the great Son return'd
Victorious with his saints, th' omnipotent
Eternal Father from his throne beheld
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.

At last our envious foe hath fail'd. who thought, All like himself rebellious, by whose aid This innaccessible high strength, the seat of Deity supreme, us dispossess’d

He trusted to huve seiz'd, and into fraud
Drew

many, whom their place knows here no more
Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,
Their station, heav'n yet populous retains
Nuinber sufficient to possess her realms
Though wide, and this high temple to frequent
With ministeries due, and solemn rites :
But lest his heart exalt him in the harm
Already done, to have dispeopled heav'n,
My damage fondly deem'd, I can repair
That detriment, if such it be to lose
Self-lost, and in a moment will create
Another world, out of one man a race
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
Not here, till by degrees of merit rais'd,
They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience try'd,
And earth be chang’d to heav'n, and heav'n to earib
One kingdom, joy and union without end.
Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye pow'rs of heav'n,
And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thec
Chis I perform, speak tho:1, and be it done:
My overshadowing spirit and might with thee
I send along; ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be heav'n and earth,
Boundless the deep, because I am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.
I jugh I uncircumscrib'd myself retire,
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 th' Almighty, and to what he spake, llis 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 heav'n, When such was heard declar'd th' Almighty's will ;

Glory they sung to the most High, good wil
To future men, and in their dwellings peace:
Glory to hin, whose just avenging ire
Had driven out th’ungodly from his sight,
And th’ habitations of the just; to him
Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordain'd
Good out of evil to create, instead
Of spirits malign a better race to bring
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse
His good to worlds and ages infinite:

So sang the hierarchies : meanwhile the Son
On his great expedition now appear'd,
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Or majesty divine; sapience and love
Immense, and all his father in him shone.
About his chariot numberless were pour’d
Cherub and seraph, potentates and thrones,
And virtues, wing’d spirits, and chariots wing'd
From th' armoury of God, where stand of old
Myriads between two brazen mountains lodg'd
Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand,
Celestial equipage; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them spirits liv'u.
Attendant on their Lord: heav'n opend wide
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound
On golden hinges moring, to let forth
The King of Glory in his pow'rful word
And spirit coming to create new worlds.
On heav'nly ground they stood, and from the shore
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss,
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn’d by furious winds
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heav'n's height, and with the centre mix the pole.
Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace,
Said then th’oninific Word, your discord end :
Nor stay'd, but on the wings of cherubim
Uplifted, in paternal glorriole
Far into Chaos, and the woche unborn,

For Chaos heard his voice: him all his train
Follow'd in bright procession to behold
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
Then stay'd the fervid wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepard
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things:
One foot he centred, and the other turn'd
Round through the vast profundily obscure,
And said Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
This be thy just circumference, O world;
Thus God the heav'n created, thus the earth,
Matter unform'd and void ; darkness profound
Cover'd th' abyss: but on the watry calm
His brooding wings the spirit of God outspreall,
And vital virtue infus'd, and vital warmth
Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purg'd
The black tartareous cold, infernal dregs
Adverse to life: then founded, then conglob'd
Like things to like, the rest to several place
Disparted, and between spun out the air,
And earth self-balanc'd on her centre hung.

Let there be light, said God, and forth with liglio
Etherial first, of things, quintessence pure,
Sprung from the deep, and from her native east
To journey the airy gloom began,
Sphez'd in a radient cloud, for yet the sun
Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle
Sojourn't the while. God saw the light was good,
And light from darkness by the hemisphere
Divided : light the day, and darkness, night
He nam'd. Thus was the first day ev'n and morn,
Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung
By the celestial choirs, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld ;
Birih-day of leav'n and earth ; with joy and shout
The hollor universal orb they fillid,
And touch'd neir golden harps, and hymning prais'd

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