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To ask; nor let thine own inventions hope 121
Things not reveal’d, which the invisible King,
Only Omniscient, hath suppress'd in night;
To none communicable in Earth or Heaven:
Enough is left besides to search and know.
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temperance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind. 130
Know, then, that after Lucifer from heaven
(So call him, brighter once amidst the host
Of angels, than that star the stars among.)
Fell with his flaming legions through the deep
Into his place, and the great Son return’d
Victorious with his Saints, the Omnipotent
Eternal Father from his throne beheld
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.
At least our envious Foe hath fail'd, who thought
All like himself rebellious, by whose aid 140
This inaccessible high strength, the seat
Of Deity supreme, us dispossess'd,
He trusted to have seiz'd, and into fraud
Drew many, whom their place knows here no more :
Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,
Their station; Heaven, yet populous, retains
Number sufficient to possess her realms
Though wide, and this high temple to frequent
With ministeries due, and solemn rites:
But, lest his heart exalt him in the harm 150
Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven,
My damage fondly deem’d, I can repair
That detriment, if such it be to lose
Self-lost; and in a moment will create

Another world, out of one man a race 155
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
Not here; till, by degrees of merit raised,
They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience tried;
And Earth be chang'd to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth.
One kingdom, joy and union without end. 161
Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven,
And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee
This I perform; speak thou, and be it done!
My overshadowing Spirit and Might with thee
I send along : ride forth, and bid the Deep
Within appointed bounds be Heaven and Earth:
Boundless the Deep, because I Am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.
Though I, uncircumscrib'd myself, retire, 170
And put not forth my goodness, which is free
To act or not, Necessity and Chance
Approach not me, and what I will is Fate.
So spake the Almighty, and to what he spake
His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect.
Immediate are the acts of God, more swift
Than time or motion, but to human ears
Cannot without procéss of speech be told,
So told as earthly notion can receive.
Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven, 180
When such was heard declar'd the Almighty's will;
Glory they sung to the Most High, good-will
To future men, and in their dwellings peace;
Glory to him whose just avenging ire
Had driven out the ungodly from his sight
And the habitations of the just ; to Him
Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordain’d
**Inhabit lax: i.e., dwell more at large.

Good out of evil to create ; instead 188
Of Spirits malign, a better race to bring
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse
His good to worlds and ages infinite.
So sang the Hierarchies: Meanwhile the Son
On his great expedition now appear'd,
Girt with Omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of Majesty Divine; sapience and love
Immense, and all his Father in him shone.
About his chariot numberless were pour'd
Cherub, and Seraph, Potentates, and Thrones,
And Wirtues, winged Spirits, and chariots wing'd
From the armoury of God; where stand of old 200
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodg'd
Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand,
Celestial equipage; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them Spirit liv'd,
Attendant on their Lord : Heaven open'd wide
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound
On golden hinges moving, to let forth
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word
And Spirit, coming to create new worlds.
On heavenly ground they stood; and from the shore 210
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heaven's highth, and with the center mix the pole.
Silence, ye troubled Waves, and thou Deep, peace,
Said then the Omnifick Word; your discord end!
Nor staid; but on the wings of Cherubim
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
Far into Chaos, and the world unborn; 220
For Chaos heard his voice: Him all his train

Follow'd in bright procession, to behold 222
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
Then staid the fervid wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepar'd
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things:
One foot he center'd, and the other turn’d
Round through the vast profundity obscure;
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, 230
This be thy just circumference, 0 World!
Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth,
Matter unform'd and void: Darkness profound
Cover'd the abyss: but on the watery calm
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread,
And vital virtue infus'd, and vital warmth,
Throughout the fluid mass: but downward purg'd
The black tartareous cold infernal dregs,
Adverse to life : then founded, then conglob’d
Like things to like; the rest to several place 240
Disparted, and between spun out the air;
And Earth self-balanced on her center hung.
Let there be light, said God; and forthwith Light
Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,
Sprung from the deep; and from her native east
To journey through the aery gloom began,
Spher'd in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun
Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle
Sojourn'd the while. God saw the light was good;
And light from darkness by the hemisphere 250
Divided : light the Day, and darkness Night,
He nam'd. Thus was the first day even and morn:
Nor pass'd uncelebrated, nor unsung
By the celestial choirs, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld;

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Birth-day of Heaven and Earth; with joy and shout
The hollow universal orb they fill’d, 257
And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning prais'd
God and his works; Creator him they sung,
Both when first evening was, and when first morn.
Again, God said, Let there be firmament
Amid the waters, and let it divide
The waters from the waters; and God made
The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffus'd
In circuit to the uttermost convex
Of this great round; partition firm and sure,
The waters underneath from those above
Dividing; for as earth, so he the world
Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide 270
Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule
Of Chaos far remov’d; lest fierce extremes
Contiguous might distemper the whole frame:
And Heaven he named the Firmament: So even
And morning chorus sung the second day.
The Earth was form’d, but in the womb as yet
Of waters, embryon immature involv’d,
Appear'd not: over all the face of Earth
Main ocean flow'd, not idle; but, with warm
Prolifick humour softening all her globe, 280
Fermented the great mother to conceive,
Satiate with genial moisture; when God said,
Be gather'd now, ye waters under Heaven
Into one place, and let dry land appear.
Immediately the mountains huge appear
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave
Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky:
So high as heav'd the tumid hills, so low
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep,

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