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Of amplitude almost immense, with stars 620
Numerous, and every star perhaps a world
Of destin’d habitation; but thou know'st
Their seasons: among these the seat of Men,
Earth, with her mether ocean circumfus'd,
Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy Men,
And sons of Men, whom God hath thus advanc'd
Created in his image, there to dwell
And worship Him; and in reward to rule
Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air,
And multiply a race of worshippers 630
Holy and just: Thrice happy, if they know
Their happiness, and persevere upright!
So sung they, and the empyréan rung
With halleluiahs; Thus was sabbath kept.
And thy request think now fulfill'd, that ask'd
How first this world and face of things began,
And what before thy memory was done
From the beginning; that posterity,
Inform'd by thee, might know: If else thou seek'st
Aught, not surpassing human measure, say. 640

BOOK WIII.

THE ARGUMENT.

Adam inquires concerning celestial motions; is doubtfully answered, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge: Adam assents; and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remembered since his own creation; his placing in Paradise; his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society; his first meeting and nuptials with Eve; his discourse with the angel thereupon; who, after admonitions repeated, departs.

THE Angel ended, and in Adam's ear
So charming left his voice, that he awhile
Thought him still speaking, still stood fix’d to hear;
Then, as new-wak'd, thus gratefully replied.

What thanks sufficient, or what recompence
Equal, have I to render thee, divine
Historian, who thus largely hast allay'd
The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsaf’d
This friendly condescension to relate
Things, else by me unsearchable; now heard 10
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
With glory attributed to the high
Creator | Something yet of doubt remains,
Which only thy solution can resolve.

When I behold this goodly frame, this world, Of Heaven and Earth consisting, and compute Their magnitudes; this Earth, a spot, a grain, An atom, with the firmament compared And all her number'd stars, that seem to roll Spaces incomprehensible, (for such 20 Their distance argues, and their swift return Diurnal) merely to officiate light

Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot," 23
One day and night; in all their vast survey
Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire,
How Nature, wise and frugal, could commit
Such disproportions, with superfluous hand
So many nobler bodies to create,
Greater so manifold, to this one use,
For aught appears, and on their orbs impose 30
Such restless revolution day by day
Repeated; while the sedentary Earth,
That better might with far less compass move,
Serv'd by more noble than herself, attains
Her end without least motion, and receives,
As tribute, such a sumless journey brought
Of incorporeal speed, her warmth, and light;
Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails.
So spake our sire, and by his countenance seem'd
Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve 40
Perceiving, where she sat retir'd in sight,
With lowliness majestic from her seat,
And grace that won who saw to wish her stay,
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers,
To visit how they prosper’d, bud and bloom,
Her nursery; they at her coming sprung,
And, touch'd by her fair tendance, gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse
Delighted, or not capable her ear
Of what was high : such pleasure she reserv'd, 50
Adam relating, she sole auditress;
Her husband the relater she preferr'd
Before the angel, and of him to ask
Chose rather: he, she knew, would intermix
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute

* “Punctual spot:' spot like a point in size.

With conjugal caresses: from his lip 56
Not words alone pleas'd her. 01 when meet now
Such pairs, in love and mutual honour join'd?
With goddess-like demeanour forth she went,
Not unattended; for on her, as Queen,
A pomp of winning Graces waited still,
And from about her shot darts of desire
Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight.
And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt propos'd,
Benevolent and facile thus replied.
To ask or search, I blame thee not ; for Heaven
Is as the book of God before thee set,
Wherein to read his wonderous works, and learn
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years:
This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth, 70
Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest
From Man or Angel the Great Architect
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge
His secrets to be scann’d by them who ought
Rather admire; or, if they list to try
Conjecture, he his fabrick of the Heavens
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
Hereafter; when they come to model Heaven
And calculate the stars, how they will wield 80
The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive
To save appearances; how gird the sphere
With centrick and eccentrick scribbled o'er,
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb:
Already by thy reasoning this I guess,
Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest
That bodies bright and greater should not serve
The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run,
Earth sitting still, when she alone receives

The benefit: Consider first that great 90
Or bright infers not excellence: the Earth,
Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small,
Nor glistering, may of solid good contain
More plenty than the sun that barren shines;
Whose virtue on itself works no effect,
But in the fruitful Earth; there first receiv'd,
His beams, unactive else, their vigour find.
Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries
Officious; but to thee, Earth's habitant.
And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak 100
The Maker's high magnificence, who built
So spacious, and his line stretch'd out so far;
That man may know he dwells not in his own ;
An edifice too large for him to fill,
Lodg'd in a small partition; and the rest
Ordain’d for uses to his Lord best known.
The swiftness of those circles àttribute,
Though numberless, to his Omnipotence,
That to corporeal substances could add
Speed almost spiritual: Me thou think'st not slow, 110
Who since the morning hour set out from Heaven
Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived
In Eden; distance inexpressible
By numbers that have name. But this I urge,
Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show
Invalid that which thee to doubt it mov’d;
Not that I so affirm, though so it seem
To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth.
God, to remove his ways from human sense,
Plac'd Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight, 120
If it presume, might err in things too high,
And no advantage gain. What if the sun
Be center to the world; and other stars,

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