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THE ARGUMENT.

Adam inquires concerning celestial notions: is doubtfully answered, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge. Adam assents: and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remembered since his own creation ; his placing in Paradise; his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society; his first meeting and nuptuals with Eve; his discourse with the Angel thereupon : who, after admonitions repeated, departs.

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The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear
So charming left his voice, that he awhile
Thought him still speaking, still stood fix'd to hear
Then as new waked, thus gratefully replied :
What thanks sufficient, or what recompense
Equal, have I to render thee, divine
Historian, who thus largely hast allay'd
The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed
This friendly condescension to relate
Things, else by me unsearchable; now heard
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
With glory attributed to the high
Creator! Something yet of doubt remains,
Which only thy solution can resolve.
When I behold this goodly frame, this world,
Of Heaven and Earth consisting ; and compute
Their magnitudes : this Earth, a spot, a grain,
An atom, with the firmament compared
And all her number'd stars that seem to roll
Spaces incomprehensible (for such
Their distance argues, and their swift return
Diurnal,) merely to officiate light
Round this opacious Earth, this punctual spot,
One day and night ; in all her vast surveys
Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire
How nature wise and frugal could commit
Such disproportions, with superfluous hand

So many nobler bodies to create,
Greater so manifold, to this one use,
For aught appears, and on their orbs impose
Such restless revolution day by day
Repeated; while the sedentary Earth,
That better might with far less compass move,
Served by more noble than herself, attains
Her end without least motion, and receives,
As tribute, such a sumless journey brought
Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light;
Speed to describe whose swiftness number fails.

So spake our sire, and by his countenance seem'd
Entering on studious thoughts abstruse : which Eve
Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight,
With lowliness majestic from her seat,
And grace that won who saw to wish her stay,
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers,
To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom,
Her nursery ; they at her coming sprung,
And touch'd by her fair tendance, gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse
Delighted, or not capable her ear
Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved,
Adam relating, she sole auditress ;
Her husband the relater she preferr'd
Before the Angel, and of him to ask
Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute
With conjugal caresses; from his lip
Not words alone pleased her. O! when meet now
Such pairs, in love and mutual honor join'd ?
With goddess-like demeanour forth she went,
Not unattended : for on her as queen
A pomp of winning graces waited still,
And from about her short darts of desire
Into all eyes, and wish her still din sight.
And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt proposed..
Bnevolent and facile thus replied:

To ask or search, I blame thee not; for Heaven Is as the book of God before thee set, Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years : This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth, Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest From Man or Angel the great architect Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge His secrets to be scann'd by them who ought Rather admire; or, if they list to try Conjecture, he his fabric of the Heavens Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move His laughter at their quaint opinions wide Hereafter; when they come to model Heaven And calculate the stars ; how they will wield The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contriven To save appearances; how gird the sphere With centric and eccentric scribbled o’re, Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb : Already by thy reasoning this I guess, Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest That bodies bright and greater should not serve The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run Earth sitting still, when she alone receives The benefit: Considered first, that great Or bright infers not excellence; the Earth, Though, in comparison of Heaven, so smalt, Nor glistering, may of solid good contain More plenty than the Sun that barren shines ; Whose virtue on itself works no effect, But in the fruitful Earth; there first received, His beams, inactive else their vigour find. Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries Officious;

but to thee, Earth's habitant. And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak The Maker's bigh magnificence, who built

So spacious and his line stretch'd out so far;
That Man may know he dwells not in his own;
An edifice too large for him to fill,
Lodged in a small partition ;' and the rest
Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known.
The swiftness of those circles attribute,
Though numberless to his ”mnipotence,
That to corporeal substances could add
Speed almost spiritual: Me thou think'st not slow,
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. But this I urge,
Admiting motion in the Heavens, to show
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,
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 ?
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 ?
Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe.
Moved contrary with thwart obliquities;
Or save the sun his labor, and that swift
Noctural and diurnal rhomb supposed,
Invisible else above all stars, the wheel
Of day and night ; which needs not thy beliet,
If Earth, industrious of herself, fetch day
Travelling east, and with her part adverse

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