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PARA DISE LOST.
AlŁ, holy Light! offspring of Heav'n firft-born!
Or of th' Eternal coeternal beam !
20 Though hard and rare. Thee I revilit safe, And feel thy sov’reiga vital lamp; but thou Revisit's not these eyes, that roll in vain To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; So thick a drop ferene hath quench'd their orbs, 25.
Or dim fuffusion veil'd. Yet not the more : Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or funny hill,
55 Now had th'almighty Father from above, From the pure empyréan where he Gts High thron’d above all height, bent down his eye, His own works and their works at once to view : About him all the fanctities of heaven
60. Stood thick as stars, and from his fight receiv'd
Beatitude past utterance : on his right
Only begotten Son, feest thou what rage Transports our adverfary? whom no bounds Prescrib'd, no bars of hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Wide interrupt can hold; fo bent he seems On desperate revenge, that shall redound Upon his own rebellious head. And now, Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way Not far off heav'n, in the precincts of light, Directly towards the new-created world, And man there placid, with purpofe to essay If him by force he can destroy, or worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert; For man will hearken to his glofling lies, And easily transgress the fole command, Sole pledge of his obedience : so will fall,
95 He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault : Whose but his own ?. Ingrate, he had of me
All he could have: I made him juft and right,
110 Not me? They therefore, as to right belong'd, So were created, nor can justly' accuse Their Maker, or their making, or their fate, As if predestination over-ruld Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree
115 Or high foreknowledge. They themselves decreed Their own revolt, not I: if I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow of fate, 120 Or ought by me immutably foreseen, They trespass, authors to themselves in all, Both what they judge and what they chuse ; for fo I form’d them free, and free they must remain, Till they inthrall themselves; I elfe must change 125 Their nature, and revoke the high decree Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd Their freedom; they themselves ordain'd their fall. The first sort by their own suggestion fell, Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: man falls, deceiv'd 130 By th' other first: man therefore shall find
grace, The other none: in mercy' and justice both, Through heaven and earth, so fhall my glory'excel;
But mercy first and last shall brightest shine.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fillid All heaven, and in the blessed fpi'rits elect 136 Sense of new joy ineffable diffus’d: Beyond compare the Son of God was seen Molt glorious ; in him all his Father thone Substantially express'd ; and in his face
140 Divine compassion visibly appear'd, Love without end, and without measure grace ; Which uttering thus be to his Father fpake.
O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd Thy fov'reign fentence, that man should find grace ; For which both heav'n and earth shall high extol 146 Thy praises, with th'innumerable found Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne Incompass'd sball resound thee ever bless'd. For should man finally be lost, thould man 150 Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest fon, Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd With his own folly ? that be from thee far, That far be from thee, Father, who art judge Of all things made, and judgest only right. 155 Or shall the adversary thus obtain His end, and frustrate thine ? fhall he fulfil His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought, Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to hell 160 Draw after him the whole race of mankind, By him corrupted ? or wilt thou thyself Abolish thy creation, and unmake For him, what for thy glory thou hast made ? So should thy goodness and thy greatness both 165 Be question’d and blafphem'd without defence.
To whom the great Creator thus reply'd. O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, Son of my bosom, Son who art alone