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    Chapter 3

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    Chapter 3
    Previous Chapter
    Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven firstborn,
    Or of the Eternal coeternal beam
    May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
    And never but in unapproached light
    Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee
    Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
    Or hear"st thou rather pure ethereal stream,
    Whose fountain who shall tell? before the sun,
    Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
    Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest ***
    The rising world of waters dark and deep,
    Won from the void and formless infinite.
    Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
    Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
    In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
    Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
    With other notes than to the Orphean lyre
    I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
    Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
    The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
    Though hard and rare: Thee I revisit safe,
    And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
    Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
    To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
    So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,
    Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
    Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt,
    Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
    Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
    Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
    That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
    Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
    So were I equall'd with them in renown,
    Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace;
    Blind Thamyris, and blind Maeonides,
    And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old:
    Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
    Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
    Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
    Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
    Seasons return; but not to me returns
    Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
    Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
    Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
    But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
    Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
    Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
    Presented with a universal blank
    Of nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd,
    And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
    So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
    Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
    Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
    Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
    Of things invisible to mortal sight.
    Now had the Almighty Father from above,
    From the pure empyrean where he sits
    High thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye
    His own works and their works at once to view:
    About him all the Sanctities of Heaven
    Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd
    Beatitude past utterance; on his right
    The radiant image of his glory sat,
    His only son; on earth he first beheld
    Our two first parents, yet the only two
    Of mankind in the happy garden plac'd
    Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
    Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love,
    In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
    Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
    Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night
    In the dun air sublime, and ready now
    To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet,
    On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
    Firm land imbosom'd, without firmament,
    Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
    Him God beholding from his prospect high,
    Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
    Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.
    Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage
    Transports our Adversary? 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; so 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 Heaven, in the precincts of light,
    Directly towards the new created world,
    And man there plac'd, with purpose to assay
    If him by force he can destroy, or, worse,
    By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert;
    For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
    And easily transgress the sole command,
    Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall
    He and his faithless progeny: Whose fault?
    Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of me
    All he could have; I made him just and right,
    Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
    Such I created all the ethereal Powers
    And Spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd;
    Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
    Not free, what proof could they have given sincere
    Of true allegiance, constant faith or love,
    Where only what they needs must do appear'd,
    Not what they would? what praise could they receive?
    What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
    When will and reason (reason also is choice)
    Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
    Made passive both, had serv'd necessity,
    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-rul'd
    Their will dispos'd by absolute decree
    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 proved certain unforeknown.
    So without least impulse or shadow of fate,
    Or aught by me immutably foreseen,
    They trespass, authors to themselves in all
    Both what they judge, and what they choose; for so
    I form'd them free: and free they must remain,
    Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change
    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
    By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace,
    The other none: In mercy and justice both,
    Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel;
    But Mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine.
    Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd
    All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect
    Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd.
    Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
    Most glorious; in him all his Father shone
    Substantially express'd; and in his face
    Divine compassion visibly appear'd,
    Love without end, and without measure grace,
    Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake.
    O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd
    Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace;
    , that Man should find grace;
    For which both Heaven and earth shall high extol
    Thy praises, with the innumerable sound
    Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne
    Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.
    For should Man finally be lost, should Man,
    Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest son,
    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.
    Or shall the Adversary thus obtain
    His end, and frustrate thine? shall he fulfill
    His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought,
    Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,
    Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to Hell
    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
    Be question'd and blasphem'd without defence.
    To whom the great Creator thus replied.
    O son, in whom my soul hath chief delight,
    Son of my bosom, Son who art alone.
    My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,
    All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all
    As my eternal purpose hath decreed;
    Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will;
    Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
    Freely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renew
    His lapsed powers, though forfeit; and enthrall'd
    By sin to foul exorbitant desires;
    Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand
    On even ground against his mortal foe;
    By me upheld, that he may know how frail
    His fallen condition is, and to me owe
    All his deliverance, and to none but me.
    Some I have chosen of peculiar grace,
    Elect above the rest; so is my will:
    The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd
    Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
    The incensed Deity, while offer'd grace
    Invites; for I will clear their senses dark,
    What may suffice, and soften stony hearts
    To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
    To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,
    Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent,
    Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.
    And I will place within them as a guide,
    My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear,
    Light after light, well us'd, they shall attain,
    And to the end, persisting, safe arrive.
    This my long sufferance, and my day of grace,
    They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
    But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more,
    That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
    And none but such from mercy I exclude.
    But yet all is not done; Man disobeying,
    Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins
    Against the high supremacy of Heaven,
    Affecting God-head, and, so losing all,
    To expiate his treason hath nought left,
    But to destruction sacred and devote,
    He, with his whole posterity, must die,
    Die he or justice must; unless for him
    Some other able, and as willing, pay
    The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
    Say, heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love?
    Which of you will be mortal, to redeem
    Man's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save?
    Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?
    And silence was in Heaven: $ on Man's behalf
    He ask'd, but all the heavenly quire stood mute,
    Patron or intercessour none appear'd,
    Much less that durst upon his own head draw
    The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
    And now without redemption all mankind
    Must have been lost, adjudg'd to Death and Hell
    By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
    In whom the fulness dwells of love divine,
    His dearest mediation thus renew'd.
    Father, thy word is past, Man shall find grace;
    And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,
    The speediest of thy winged messengers,
    To visit all thy creatures, and to all
    Comes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought?
    Happy for Man, so coming; he her aid
    Can never seek, once dead in sins, and lost;
    Atonement for himself, or offering meet,
    Indebted and undone, hath none to bring;
    Behold me then: me for him, life for life
    I offer: on me let thine anger fall;
    Account me Man; I for his sake will leave
    Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee
    Freely put off, and for him lastly die
    Well pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage.
    Under his gloomy power I shall not long
    Lie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possess
    Life in myself for ever; by thee I live;
    Though now to Death I yield, and am his due,
    All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid,
    $ thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave
    His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
    For ever with corruption there to dwell;
    But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
    My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil.
    Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop
    Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed;
    I through the ample air in triumph high
    Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show
    The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight
    Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,
    While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes;
    Death last, and with his carcase glut the grave;
    Then, with the multitude of my redeemed,
    Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,
    Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
    Of anger shall remain, but peace assured
    And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more
    Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.
    His words here ended; but his meek aspect
    Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love
    To mortal men, above which only shone
    Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
    Glad to be offered, he attends the will
    Of his great Father. Admiration seized
    All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend,
    Wondering; but soon th' Almighty thus replied.
    O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace
    Found out for mankind under wrath, O thou
    My sole complacence! Well thou know'st how dear
    To me are all my works; nor Man the least,
    Though last created, that for him I spare
    Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
    By losing thee a while, the whole race lost.

    00021053
    Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
    Their nature also to thy nature join;
    And be thyself Man among men on Earth,
    Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,
    By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's room
    The head of all mankind, though Adam's son.
    As in him perish all men, so in thee,
    As from a second root, shall be restored
    As many as are restored, without thee none.
    His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit,
    Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce
    Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
    And live in thee transplanted, and from thee
    Receive new life. So Man, as is most just,
    Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die,
    And dying rise, and rising with him raise
    His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.
    So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,
    Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
    So dearly to redeem what hellish hate
    So easily destroyed, and still destroys
    In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
    Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume
    Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own.
    Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss
    Equal to God, and equally enjoying
    God-like fruition, quitted all, to save
    A world from utter loss, and hast been found
    By merit more than birthright Son of God,
    Found worthiest to be so by being good,
    Far more than great or high; because in thee
    Love hath abounded more than glory abounds;
    Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt
    With thee thy manhood also to this throne:
    Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign
    Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,
    Anointed universal King; all power
    I give thee; reign for ever, and assume
    Thy merits; under thee, as head supreme,
    Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce:
    All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
    In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell.
    When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven,
    Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send
    The summoning Arch-Angels to proclaim
    Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds,
    The living, and forthwith the cited dead
    Of all past ages, to the general doom
    Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.
    Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge
    Bad Men and Angels; they, arraigned, shall sink
    Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full,
    Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Mean while
    The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring
    New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell,
    And, after all their tribulations long,
    See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
    With joy and peace triumphing, and fair truth.
    Then thou thy regal scepter shalt lay by,
    For regal scepter then no more shall need,
    God shall be all in all. But, all ye Gods,
    Adore him, who to compass all this dies;
    Adore the Son, and honour him as me.
    No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
    The multitude of Angels, with a shout
    Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
    As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung
    With jubilee, and loud Hosannas filled
    The eternal regions: Lowly reverent
    Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground
    With solemn adoration down they cast
    Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold;
    Immortal amarant, a flower which once
    In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,
    Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence
    To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
    And flowers aloft shading the fount of life,
    And where the river of bliss through midst of Heaven
    Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream;
    With these that never fade the Spirits elect
    Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams;
    Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright
    Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
    Impurpled with celestial roses smiled.
    Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took,
    Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side
    Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
    Of charming symphony they introduce
    Their sacred song, and waken raptures high;
    No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
    Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.
    Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent,
    Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
    Eternal King; the Author of all being,
    Fonntain of light, thyself invisible
    Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st
    Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest
    The full blaze of thy beams, and, through a cloud
    Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine,
    Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
    Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest Seraphim
    Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.
    Thee next they sang of all creation first,
    Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,
    In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud
    Made visible, the Almighty Father shines,
    Whom else no creature can behold; on thee
    Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides,
    Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests.
    He Heaven of Heavens and all the Powers therein
    By thee created; and by thee threw down
    The aspiring Dominations: Thou that day
    Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,
    Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook
    Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks
    Thou drovest of warring Angels disarrayed.
    Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaim
    Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might,
    To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,
    Not so on Man: Him through their malice fallen,
    Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom
    So strictly, but much more to pity incline:
    No sooner did thy dear and only Son
    Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man
    So strictly, but much more to pity inclined,
    He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife
    Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned,
    Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
    Second to thee, offered himself to die
    For Man's offence. O unexampled love,
    Love no where to be found less than Divine!
    Hail, Son of God, Saviour of Men! Thy name
    Shall be the copious matter of my song
    Henceforth, and never shall my heart thy praise
    Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.
    Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere,
    Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
    Mean while upon the firm opacous globe
    Of this round world, whose first convex divides
    The luminous inferiour orbs, enclosed
    From Chaos, and the inroad of Darkness old,
    Satan alighted walks: A globe far off
    It seemed, now seems a boundless continent
    Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night
    Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms
    Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky;
    Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven,
    Though distant far, some small reflection gains
    Of glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud:
    Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field.
    As when a vultur on Imaus bred,
    Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds,
    Dislodging from a region scarce of prey
    To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids,
    On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs
    Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;
    But in his way lights on the barren plains
    Of Sericana, where Chineses drive
    With sails and wind their cany waggons light:
    So, on this windy sea of land, the Fiend
    Walked up and down alone, bent on his prey;
    Alone, for other creature in this place,
    Living or lifeless, to be found was none;
    None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
    Up hither like aereal vapours flew
    Of all things transitory and vain, when sin
    With vanity had filled the works of men:
    Both all things vain, and all who in vain things
    Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame,
    Or happiness in this or the other life;
    All who have their reward on earth, the fruits
    Of painful superstition and blind zeal,
    Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find
    Fit retribution, empty as their deeds;
    All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand,
    Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed,
    Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,
    Till final dissolution, wander here;
    Not in the neighbouring moon as some have dreamed;
    Those argent fields more likely habitants,
    Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold
    Betwixt the angelical and human kind.
    Hither of ill-joined sons and daughters born
    First from the ancient world those giants came
    With many a vain exploit, though then renowned:
    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 deemed
    A God, leaped fondly into Aetna flames,
    Empedocles; and he, who, to enjoy
    Plato's Elysium, leaped into the sea,
    Cleombrotus; and many more too long,
    Embryos, and idiots, eremites, and friars
    White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery.
    Here pilgrims roam, that strayed 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 Dominick,
    Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised;
    They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed,
    And that crystalling sphere whose balance weighs
    The trepidation talked, and that first moved;
    And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems
    To wait them with his keys, and now at foot
    Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when lo
    A violent cross wind from either coast
    Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry
    Into the devious air: Then might ye see
    Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost
    And fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads,
    Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
    The sport of winds: All these, upwhirled aloft,
    Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
    Into a Limbo large and broad, since called
    The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
    Long after; now unpeopled, and untrod.
    All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed,
    And long he wandered, till at last a gleam
    Of dawning light turned thither-ward in haste
    His travelled steps: far distant he descries
    Ascending by degrees magnificent
    Up to the wall of Heaven a structure high;
    At top whereof, but far more rich, appeared
    The work as of a kingly palace-gate,
    With frontispiece of diamond and gold
    Embellished; thick with sparkling orient gems
    The portal shone, inimitable on earth
    By model, or by shading pencil, drawn.
    These stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
    Angels ascending and descending, bands
    Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
    To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz
    Dreaming by night under the open sky
    And waking cried, This is the gate of Heaven.
    Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
    There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes
    Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flowed
    Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
    Who after came from earth, failing arrived
    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 dare
    The Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate
    His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss:
    Direct against which opened from beneath,
    Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
    A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide,
    Wider by far than that of after-times
    Over mount Sion, and, though that were large,
    Over the Promised Land to God so dear;
    By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,
    On high behests his angels to and fro
    Passed frequent, and his eye with choice regard
    From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood,
    To Beersaba, where the Holy Land
    Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore;
    So wide the opening seemed, where bounds were set
    To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
    Satan from hence, now on the lower stair,
    That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate,
    Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
    Of all this world at once. As when a scout,
    Through dark?;nd desart ways with?oeril gone
    All?might,?;t?kast 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 renowned metropolis
    With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned,
    Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams:
    Such wonder seised, though after Heaven seen,
    The Spirit malign, but much more envy seised,
    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 Atlantick seas
    Beyond the horizon; then from pole to pole
    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 seemed other worlds;
    Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles,
    Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
    Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales,
    Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there
    He staid not to inquire: Above them all
    The golden sun, in splendour likest Heaven,
    Allured his eye; thither his course he bends
    Through the calm firmament, (but up or down,
    By center, or eccentrick, 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
    Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering lamp
    Turn swift their various motions, or are turned
    By his magnetick beam, that gently warms
    The universe, and to each inward part
    With gentle penetration, though unseen,
    Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep;
    So wonderously was set his station bright.
    There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps
    Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb
    Through his glazed optick tube yet never saw.
    The place he found beyond expression bright,
    Compared with aught on earth, metal or stone;
    Not all parts like, but all alike informed
    With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire;
    If metal, part seemed 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
    Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen,
    That stone, or like to that which here below
    Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
    In vain, though by their powerful art they bind
    Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
    In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
    Drained through a limbeck to his native form.
    What wonder then if fields and regions here
    Breathe forth Elixir pure, and rivers run
    Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
    The arch-chemick sun, so far from us remote,
    Produces, with terrestrial humour mixed,
    Here in the dark so many precious things
    Of colour glorious, and effect so rare?
    Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
    Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands;
    For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,
    But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon
    Culminate from the equator, as they now
    Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
    Shadow from body opaque can fall; and the air,
    No where so clear, sharpened his visual ray
    To objects distant far, whereby he soon
    Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand,
    The same whom John saw also in the sun:
    His back was turned, but not his brightness hid;
    Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar
    Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
    Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings
    Lay waving round; on some great charge employed
    He seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep.
    Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hope
    To find who might direct his wandering flight
    To Paradise, the happy seat of Man,
    His journey's end and our beginning woe.
    But first he casts to change his proper shape,
    Which else might work him danger or delay:
    And now a stripling Cherub he appears,
    Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
    Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb
    Suitable grace diffused, so well he feigned:
    Under a coronet his flowing hair
    In curls on either cheek played; wings he wore
    Of many a coloured plume, sprinkled with gold;
    His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
    Before his decent steps a silver wand.
    He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright,
    Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned,
    Admonished by his ear, and straight was known
    The Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seven
    Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne,
    Stand ready at command, and are his eyes
    That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Earth
    Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
    O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts.
    Uriel, for thou of those seven Spirits that stand
    In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright,
    The first art wont his great authentick will
    Interpreter through highest Heaven to bring,
    Where all his sons thy embassy attend;
    And here art likeliest by supreme decree
    Like honour to obtain, and as his eye
    To visit oft this new creation round;
    Unspeakable desire to see, and know
    All these his wonderous works, but chiefly Man,
    His chief delight and favour, him for whom
    All these his works so wonderous he ordained,
    Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim
    Alone thus wandering. Brightest Seraph, tell
    In which of all these shining orbs hath Man
    His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
    But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell;
    That I may find him, and with secret gaze
    Or open admiration him behold,
    On whom the great Creator hath bestowed
    Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces poured;
    That both in him and all things, as is meet,
    The universal Maker we may praise;
    Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes
    To deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss,
    Created this new happy race of Men
    To serve him better: Wise are all his ways.
    So spake the false dissembler unperceived;
    For neither Man nor Angel can discern
    Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
    Invisible, except to God alone,
    By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth:
    And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
    At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
    Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
    Where no ill seems: Which now for once beguiled
    Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held
    The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven;
    Who to the fraudulent impostor foul,
    In his uprightness, answer thus returned.
    Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to know
    The works of God, thereby to glorify
    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 perhaps,
    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
    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
    Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined;
    Till at his second bidding Darkness fled,
    Light shone, and order from disorder sprung:
    Swift to their several quarters hasted then
    The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire;
    And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven
    Flew upward, spirited with various forms,
    That rolled orbicular, and turned to stars
    Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move;
    Each had his place appointed, each his course;
    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 the other hemisphere,
    Night would invade; but there the neighbouring moon
    So call that opposite fair star) her aid
    Timely interposes, and her monthly round
    Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven,
    With borrowed light her countenance triform
    Hence fills and empties to enlighten the Earth,
    And in her pale dominion checks the night.
    That spot, to which I point, is Paradise,
    Adam's abode; those lofty shades, his bower.
    Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.
    Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low,
    As to superiour Spirits is wont in Heaven,
    Where honour due and reverence none neglects,
    Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath,
    Down from the ecliptick, sped with hoped success,
    Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel;
    Nor staid, till on Niphates' top he lights.
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