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The sharpest-sighted spi'rit of all in Heav'n;
* Fair angel, thy desire, which tends to know The works of God, thereby to glorify
695 The great Work-master, leads to no excess That reaches blame, but rather merits praise The more it seems excess, that led thee hither From thy empyreal mansion thus alone, To witness with thine eyes what some perbaps, 700 Contented with report, hear only' in Heaven: For wonderful indeed are all his works, Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all Had in remembrance always with delight; But what created mind can comprehend
705 Their number, or the wisdom infinite That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? I saw when at his word the formless mass, This world's material mould, came to a heap: Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar 710 Stood ruld, stood vast infinitude confin'd; Till at his second bidding darkness fled, Light shone, and order from disorder sprung: Swift 10 their several quarters hasted then The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire; 715 And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven Flew upward, spirited with various forms, That rolld orbicular, and turn'd to stars Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; Each bad his place appointed, each his course; 720 The rest in circuit walls this universe. Look downward on that globe, whose hither side With light from hence, though but reflected, shines; That place is Earth, the seat of man, that light His day, which else, as th' other hemisphere, 725 Night would invade; but there the neighbring moon (So call that opposite fair star) her aid Timely' interposes, and her monthly round Stiil ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven,
With borrow'd light ber countenance triform 730
Thus said, he turn'd; and Satan, bowing low,
THE END OF THE THIRD BOOK.
Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place
where he must now attempt the bold enterprize which he undertook alone against God and man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair; but at length confirms himself in evil; journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described ; overleaps the bounds; sits in the shape of a cormorant on the tree of life, as highest in the garden, to look about him. The garden described ; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall; overhears their discourse, thence gathers that the tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his temptation, by seducing them to transgress: then leaves them awhile, to know turther of their state by some other means. Meanwhile Uriel, descending on a sun-beam, warns Gabriel, who had in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil spirit had escaped the deep, and passed at noon by his spliere, in the shape of a good angel, down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest: their bower described ; their evening worship. Gabriel, draw. ing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom questioned, he scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but, hindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.
O FOR that warning voice, which he who saw
20 He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell One step, no more than from himself, can fly By change of place: now conscience wakes despair, That slumber'd, wakes the bitter memory of what he was, what is, and what must be Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensne. Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view Lay pleasant, iis griev'd look he fixes sad;