Imatges de pÓgina

What we not to explore the secrets ask
Of his eternal empire, but the more



Much of his race though steep, suspense in heaven
And the great light of day yet wants to run
Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears,
And longer will delay to hear thee tell
Of nature from the unapparent deep :
generation, and the rising birth
Or if the star of evening and the moon
Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring
Silence, and sleep listening to thee will watch;

En we can bid his absence, till thy song

End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.
And thus the godlike angel answer'd mild:
Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought;
This also thy request with caution ask'd

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, shall not be withheld
I have received, to answer thy desire
Thy hearing, such commission from above
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain
Things not reveal'd, which the invisible King,
Only omniscient, hath suppress'd in night,
To none communicable in earth or heaven:
Enough is left besides to search and know.
In measure what the mind may well contain,
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temperance over appetite, to know
-Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.

So call him, brighter once amidst the host
Know then, that after Lucifer from heaven,
Of angels, than that star the stars among,
Fell with his flaming legions through the deep
Into his place, and the great Son return'd
Victorious with his saints, the Omnipotent
Eternal Father from his throne beheld
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake :
All like himself rebellious, by whose aid
At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought
This inaccessible high strength, the seat
Of Deity Supreme, us dispossess'd,
Drew many, whom their place knows here no more;
He trusted to have seized, and into fraud
Their station, heaven yet populous retains
Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,

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Number 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 heaven,
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 raised,
They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience tried,
And earth be changed to heaven, and heaven to earth,
One kingdom, joy and union without end.
Meanwhile, inhabit lax, ye powers of heaven,
And thou, my Word, begotten Son, by thee
This I perform ; speak thou, and be it done.
My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee
I send along ; ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be heaven and earth ;
Boundless the deep, because I Am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.
Though I uncircumscribed 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 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 were in heaven,
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 peace;
Glory 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 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
Of 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,

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And virtues, winged spirits, and chariots wing'd,
From the armoury of God, where stand of old
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged
Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand,
Spontaneous, for within them spirit lived,
Celestial equipage; and now came forth
Attendant on their Lord: heaven open'd wide
On golden hinges moving, to let forth
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound!
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word
And Spirit coming to create new worlds.
On heavenly 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
Heaven's height, and with the centre mix the pole.
Said then the omnific Word, your discord end.
Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace,

Nor stay'd; but,

on the wings of cherubim

Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
Far into Chaos and the world 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, prepared
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things.
One foot he centred, and the other turn'd
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
Round through the vast profundity obscure,
This be thy just circumference, O world.
Thus God the heaven created, thus the earth,
Matter unform'd and void. Darkness profound
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread,
Cover'd the abyss; but on the watery calm
And vital virtue infused and vital warmth
Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purged
Adverse to life: then founded, then conglobed
The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs,
Like things to like; the rest to several place

And earth


between spun out the air,
self-balanced on her centre hung.

Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,
Let there be light, said God, and forthwith light

Sprung from

the deep, and from her native east


To journey through the aëry gloom began,

Sphered in

Was not

150 And light

a radiant cloud, for yet the sun

She in a cloudy tabernacle

the while. God saw the light was good;

from darkness by the hemisphere



Divided: Ight the day, and darkness night,

He named. Thus was the first day even and morn:
Nor pass'd uncelebrated, nor unsung

By the celestial choirs, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld,
Birth-day of heaven and earth; with joy and shout
The hollow universal orb they fill'd,

And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning praised
God and his works, Creator him they sung,

Both when first evening was, and when first morn.

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
Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule
Of Chaos far removed, lest fierce extremes
Contiguous might distemper the whole frame :
And heaven he named the firmament: so even
And morning chorus sung the second day.

The earth was form'd, but, in the womb as yet
Of waters embryon immature involved,
Appear'd not; over all the face of earth
Main ocean flow'd, not idle, but with warm
Prolific humour softening all her globe
Fermented the great mother to conceive,
Satiate with genial moisture, when God said,
Be gather'd 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
Hasted with glad precipitance, uproll'd
As drops on dust conglobing from the dry;
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,
For haste; such flight the great command impress'd
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 found;
If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain,
Soft ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill,
But they, or under ground, or circuit wide
With serpent error wandering, found their way,

And on the washy oose deep channels wore,
Easy, ere God had bid the ground he 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 call'd seas ;
And saw that it was good, and said, Let the earth
Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed,
And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind,
Whose seed is in herself upon the earth.
He scarce had said, when the bare earth, till then
Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorn’d,
Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad
Her universal face with pleasant green ;
Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flower'd
Opening their various colours, and made gay
Her bosom smelling sweet ; and, these scarce blown,
Forth flourish'd thick the clustering vine, forth crept
The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed
Embattled in her field; and the humble shrub,
And bush with frizzled hair implicit : last
Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread
Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemm'd
Their blossoms : with high woods the hills were crown'd;
With tufts the valleys and each fountain side ;
With borders long the rivers : that earth now
Seem'd like to heaven, a seat where gods might dwell,
Or wander with delight, and love to haunt
Her sacred shades; though God had yet not rain'd
Upon the earth, and man to till the ground
None was; but from the earth a dewy mist
Went up and water'd all the ground, and each
Plant of the field ; which, ere it was in the earth,
God made, and every herb, before it grew
On the green stem.

God saw that it was good :
So even and morn recorded the third day.

Again the Almighty spake : Let there be lights
High in the expanse of heaven to divide
The day from night; and let them be for signs,
For seasons, and for days, and circling years ;
And let them be for lights, as I ordain
Their office in the firmament of heaven
To give light on the earth ; and it was so.
And God made two great lights, great for their use
To man, the greater to have rule by day,
The less by night, altern ; and made the stars,
And set them in firmament of heaven
To illuminate the earth, and rule the day
In their vicissitude, and rule the night,
And light from darkness to divide. God saw,
Surveying his great work, that it was good :
For of celestial bodies first the sun,

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