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The doubts that in his heart arose : and now 60
Led on, yet finless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him, how this world
Of heav'n and earth conspicuous first began,
When, and whereof created, for what cause,
What within Eden or without was done
Before his memory, as one whose drought
Yet scarce allay'd fill 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, 70 Far diff'ring from this world, thou hast reveald, Divine interpreter, by favour sent Down from the empyréan to forewarn Us timely' of what might elfe have been our loss, Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach: For which to th’infinitely Good we owe Immortal thanks, and his admonishment Receive with folemn purpose to observe Immutably his sov’reign will, the end Of what we are:

But since thou hast vouchsaf'a so Gently for our instruction to impart Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd Our knowing, as to highest Wisdom seemid, Deign to descend now lower; and relate What may no less perhaps avail us known,

85 How first began this heav'n, which we behold Diftant so high, with moving fires adorn'd Innumerable; and this which yields or fills All space, the ambient air wide interfus'd, Embracing round this florid earth; what cause

90 Mov'd the Creator, in his holy rest Through all eternity, fo late to build In Chaos; and the work begun, how foon Absolu'd ; if unforbid thou may'st unfold


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What we, not to explore the secrets, alk 95
Of his eternal empire, but the more
To magnify his works, the more we know.
And the great light of day yet wants to run
Much of his race though fteep; fufpenfe in heav'n,
Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears, 100
And longer will delay to hear thee tell
His generation, and the rising birth
Of nature from the unapparent deep:
Or if the star of ev'ning and the moon
Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring ios
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.

Thus Adam his illustrious guest befought:
And thus the godlike angel answer'd mild.

This also thy request with caution alk'd
Obtain; though to recoụnt almighty works
What words or tongue of seraph can fuffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?
Yet what thou canst attain, which beft may

ferve 115
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
Thy hearing ; such commission from above
I have receiv'd, to answer thy desire
Of kr.owledge within bounds; beyond abstain
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not reveal'd, which th' invifible King,
Only omniscient, hath fuppress’d in night,
To none communicable in earth or heav'n :
Enough is left besides to search and know. 125
But knowledge is as food, and peeds no less
Her temp'rance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain;
Opprefies else with furfeit, and foen-turns


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Wisdom to folly', as nourishment to wind.

139 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 faming legions through the deep Into his place, a the great Son return'd 135 Victorious with his faints, the omnipotent. Eternal Father from his throne beheld. Their multitude, and to his Son thus fpake.

At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought All like himself rebellious, by whose aid

140 This inaccelible high strength, the feat Of Deity supreme, us dispoffess’d, He trusted to have seiz'd, and into fraud Drew many, whom their place here knows no more: Yet far the greater part have kept, I fee, 145 Their fation; heav'n yet populous retains Number sufficient to possess her realms Though wide, and this high temple to frequent With ministeries due and folemn rites : But left his heart exalt him in the harm

150 Already done, to have difpeopled heav'n, My damage fondly deem'd; I can repair That detriment, if such it be, to lose Self-loft; and in a moment will create Another world, out of one man a race:

155 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'dito heav'n, and heav'n to earth, One kingdom, joy and union without end. 16. Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye powers of heav'n ; And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee Tbis-1.perform ; speak thou, and be it done :


My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee 165
I send along; ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be hear'n and earth,
Boundless the deep, because I Am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.
Though I uńcircumscrib'd myfels ritire,

And put not forth my goodness, which is free
To at or not, necellity and chance
Approach not me, and what I will is fate.

So fpake th' Almighty, and to what he spake
His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect. 175
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, 180
When such was heard declar'd th’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 driv'n out th’ungodly from his fight, 185
And ti habitations of the just; to him
Glory and praite, whose wisdom bad ordain'd
Good out of evil to create, instead
Of spi'rits malign a better race to bring
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse 190
His good to worlds and ages infinite !

So fang the hierarchies. Mean while the Son
On his great expedition now appear'd,
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of majesty divine; fapience and love

Iinmense, and all his father in him shone,
About his chariot numberless were pour'd
Cherub and feraph, potentates and thrones,
And yirtues, winged fpirits, and chariots wing'd



From the armoury of God; where stand of old 200:
Myriads between two brazen mountains lodg'd
Against a folemn day, harness'd at hand,
Celestial equipage; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them spirit liv'd,
Attendant on their Lord: heav'n open'd wide , 205
Her ever-during gates, harmonious found
On golden hinges moving, to let forth
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 fea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds,
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault

214 Heav'n's height, and with the centre mix the pole.

Silence, ye troubled waves! and thou deep, peace! Said then th' omnific Word, your discord end : Nor stay'd; but on the wings of cherubim Uplifted, in paternal glory rode Far into Chaos, and the world unborn;

220 For Chaos heard his voice : him all his train Follow'd in bright proceflion, to behold Creation, and the wonders of his might. Then stay'd the fervid wheels, and in his hand He took the golden compasses, prepar'd

225 In God's eternal store, to circumscribe This universe, and all created things : One foot he center'd, and the other turn'd. Round thro' the valt profundity obscure, And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, 230 This be thy just circumference, O world.

Thus God the heaven created, thus the earth, Matter unform’d and void : darkness profound Cover'd th' abyss; but on the watry calm



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