صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

And temple of his Mighty Father thron'd 890
On high ; who into glory him receiv'd,
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
Thus, measuring things in Heaven by things on Earth
At thy request, and that thou may'st beware
By what is past, to thee I have reveal’d
What might have else to human race been hid;
The discord which befell, and war in Heaven
Among the Angelick Powers, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring who rebell’d
With Satan ; he who envies now thy state, 900
Who now is plotting how he may seduce
Thee also from obedience, that, with him,
Bereav'd of happiness, thou may’st partake
His punishment eternal misery;
Which would be all his solace and revenge,
As a despite done against the Most High,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations: warn
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard,
By terrible example, the reward
Of disobedience: firm they might have stood,
Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress. 912



Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this world was first created; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his angels out of heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world, and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory, and attendance of angels, to perform the work of creation in six days: the angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his re-ascension into heaven.

DESCEND from heaven, Urania,' by that name
If rightly thou art call'd, whose voice divine
Following, above the Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegaséan wing !
The meaning not the name, I call: for thou
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwell'st; but, heavenly-born,
Before the hills appeard, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play 10
In presence of the Almighty Father, pleas'd
With thy celestial song. Up led by thee
Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presum’d,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy tempering: with like safety guided down,
Return me to my native element:
Lest, from this flying steed unrein'd (as once
Bellerophon,” though from a lower clime),
Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall,
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn.

1 : Urania:’ heavenly muse. —” “Bellerophon,' who attempted to ride to heaven on Pegasus, but fell down on the Aleian field, where he wandered till he died.

Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound 21
Within the visible diurnal sphere ;
Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchang'd
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days,
On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues ;
In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round,
And solitude ; yet not alone, while thou
Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east : still govern thou my song, 30
Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bardl
In Rhodope,” where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
Her son. So fail not thou, who thee implores:
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.
Say, goddess, what ensued when Raphaël, 40
The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarn’d
Adam, by dire example, to beware
Apostasy, by what befell in Heaven
To those apostates; lest the like befall
In Paradise to Adam or his race,
Charge not to touch the interdicted tree,
If they transgress, and slight that sole command,
So easily obey'd amid the choice
Of all tastes else to please their appetite,
Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve, 50
The story heard attentive, and was fill’d
With admiration, and deep muse, to hear
Of things so high and strange; things to their thought
1 * Thracian bard:' Orpheus.-" * Rhodope:” a mountain in Thrace.


So unimaginable, as hate in Heaven, 54 And war so near the peace of God in bliss, With such confusion: but the evil, soon Driven back, redounded as a flood on those From whom it sprung; impossible to mix With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeal’d The doubts that in his heart arose : and now * 60 Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know What nearer might concern him, how this world Of Heaven 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 drouth Yet scarce allay’d still eyes the current stream, Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites, Proceeded thus to ask his heavenly guest. Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, 70 Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal’d, Divine interpreter' by favour sent Down from the empyréan, to forewarn Us timely of what might else have been our loss, Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach; For which to the infinitely Good we owe Immortal thanks, and his admonishment Receive, with solemn purpose to observe Immutably his sovran will, the end Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsaf’d Gently, for our instruction, to impart Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem’d, Deign to descend now lower, and relate What may no less perhaps avail us known, How first began this Heaven which we behold Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd

[ocr errors]

Innumerable; and this which yields or fills 88
All space, the ambient air wide interfus'd
Embracing round this florid earth; what cause
Mov'd the Creator, in his holy rest
Through all eternity, so late to build
In Chaos; and the work begun, how soon
Absolv’d;1 if unforbid thou may'st unfold
What we, not to explore the secrets ask
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 steep ; suspense in Heaven
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 evening and the moon
Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring
Silence; and Sleep, listening 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 besought;
And thus the Godlike Angel answer'd mild. 110
This also thy request, with caution ask'd,
Obtain; though to recount almighty works
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
Thy hearing; such commission from above
I have received, to answer thy desire
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain

** Absolved : " finished. M

« السابقةمتابعة »