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Till final dissolution, wander here,
Not in the neighb’ring moon, as some have dream’d;
Those argent fields more likely habitants,

460
Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold
Betwixt th' angelical and human kind.
Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born
First from the ancient world those giants came
With many a vain exploit, though then renown'd:
The builders next of Babel on the plain
Of Sennaar, and still with vain design
New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build:
Others came single; he who to be deem’d
A God, leap'd fondly into Ætna flames, 470
Empedocles; and he who to enjoy
Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the sea,
Cleombrotus; and many more too long,
Embryos and idiots, ereinites and friars
White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery.
Here pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek
In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven;
And they who to be sure of Paradise
Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis’d; 480
They pass the planets sev'n, and pass the fix'd,
And tliat crystalline sphere whose balance weighs
The trepidation talk’d, and that first mov'd;
And now Saint Peter at Heav'n's wicket seems
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot
Of Heav’n’s ascent they lift their feet, when lo
A violent cross wind from either coast

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Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues awry Into the devious air; then might ye see Cowls, hoods, and habits with their wearers tost 490 And slutter'd into rags, then reliquęs, beads, Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, The sport of winds: all these upwhiri'd aloft Fly o'er the backside of the world far off Into a Limbo large and broad, since calld The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown Long after, now unpeopled, and untrod. All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passid, And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam Of dawning light turn'd thither-ward in haste 500 His travel'd steps: far distant he descries Ascending by degrees magnificent Up to the wall of Heav'n a structure high, At top whereof, but far more rich, appear'd The work as of a kingly palace gate, With frontispiece of diamond and gold Embellish'd; thick with sparkling orient gems The portal shone, inimitable on earth By model, or by shading pencil drawn. The stairs were such as when Jacob saw Angels ascending and descending, bands Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fied To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz, Dreaming by night under the open sky, And waking cry'd, This is the gate of Heaven. Each stair mysteriously was ineant, ncr stood There always, but drawn up to Heav'n sometimes

510

Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth, sailing arriv’d, 520
Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds,
The stairs were then let down, whether to daro
The Fiend by easy' ascent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss :
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
A passage down to th' Earth, a passage wide,
Wider by far than that of after--times
Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, 530
Over the Promis'd Land to God so dear,
By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,
On high behests his Angels to and fro
Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
From Paneas the fount of Jordan's flood
To Bëersaba, where the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt and th’ Arabian shore;
So wide the opening seem'd, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from lience, now on the lower stair

540
That scal'd by steps of gold to Heaven gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at oncce. As when a scout
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
All night; at last by break of cheerful dawn
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his eye discovers unaware

The goodly prospect of some foreign land
First seen, or some renown'd metropolis
With glist'ring spires and pinnacles adorn'd, 550
Which now the rising sun gihis with his beams :
Such wonder seiz'd, though after Heaven seen,
The Spi'rit malign, but much more envy

seiz'd
At sight of all this world beheld so fair.
Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood
So high above the circling canopy
Of night's extended shade) from eastern point
Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantic seas
Beyond th' horizon; then from pole to pole 560
He views in breadth, and without longer pause
Down right into the world's first region throws
His flight precipitant, and winds with ease
Through the pure marble air his oblique way
Amongst innumerable stars, that shone
Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds ;
Or other worlds they seein'd, or happy isles,
Like those Hesperian gardens fam’d of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales,
Thrice happy isles, but who dwelt happy there
He stay'd not to enquire : above them all

571 'The golden sun in splendour likest Heaven Allur'd his eye: thither his course he bends Through the calm firmament, (but up or down By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell, Or longitude) where the great luminary Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,

That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far; they as they move
Their

starry dance in numbers that compute 580 Days, months, and years, tow’ards his all-cheering

lamp Turn swift their various motions, or are turn' By his magnetic beam, that gently warms The universe, and to each inward part With gentle penetration, though unseen, Shoots invisible virtue ev'n to the deep; So wond'rously was set his station bright. There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb Through his glaz’d optic tube yet never saw. 590 The place he found beyond expression bright, Compar'd with ought on earth, metal or stone; Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd With radiant light, as glowing ir'on with fire; If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear; If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite, Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen, That stone, or like to that which here below 600 Philosophers in vain so long have sought, In vain, though by their pow'rful art they bind Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound In various shapes old Proteus from the sea, Drain’d through a limbec to his native form. What wonder then if fields and regions here

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