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In might though wond'rous and in acts of war,
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom
Cancell'd from Heaven and sacred memory,
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
For strength from truth divided, and from just,
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise
And ignominy; yet to glory aspires
Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame,
Therefore eternal silence be their doom. [swerv'd,
And now, their Lightiest quell'd, the battle
With many an inroad gor'd; deformed rout
Enter'd, and foul disorder; all the ground
With shiver'd armor strown, and on a heap
Chariot and charioteer lay overturn'd,
And fiery-foaming steeds; what stood, recoil'd
O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanic host
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surpris'd,
Then first with fear surpris'd, and sense of pain,
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought
By sin of disobedience; till that hour
Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain.
Far otherwise the inviolable saints,
In cubic phalanx firm, advanc'd entire,
Invulnerable, impenetrably arm'd ;
Such high advantages their innocence
Gave them above their foes; not to have sinn'd,
Not to have disobey'd; in fight they stood
Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'd
By wound, though from their place by violence
"Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven
Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos'd,
And silence on the odious din of war:
Under her cloudy covert both retir'd,
Victor and vanquish'd: on the foughten field
Michaël and his angels prevalent
Encamping, plac'd in guard their watches round,
Cherubic waving fires: on the other part,
Satan with his rebellious disappear'd,
Far in the dark dislodg'd; and, void of rest,
His potentates to council call'd by night;
And in the midst thus undismay'd began.

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"O now in danger tried, now known in arms Not to be overpower'd, companions dear, Found worthy not of liberty alone, Too mean pretence! but what we more affect, Honor, dominion, glory, and renown; Who have sustain'd one day in doubtful fight (And if one day, why not eternal days?) What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send Against us from about his throne, and judg'd Sufficient to subdue us to his will, But proves not so: then fallible, it seems, Of future we may deem him, though till now Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm'd, Some disadvantage we endur'd and pain, Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemn'd; Since now we find this our empyreal form Incapable of mortal injury, Imperishable, and though pierc'd with wound, Soon closing, and by native vigor heal'd. Of evil then so small, as easy think The remedy; perhaps more valid arms, Weapons more violent, when next we meet, May serve to better us, and worse our foes, Or equal what between us made the odds, In nature none: if other hidden cause Left them superior, while we can preserve Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound, Due search and consultation will disclose.'

"He sat; and in the assembly next upstood

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Nisroch, of principalities the prime ;
As one he stood escap'd from cruel fight,
Sore toil'd, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And cloudy in aspéct thus answering spake.

"Deliverer from new lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right as gods; yet hard
For gods, and too unequal work we find,
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain'd, impassive; from which evil
Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails [pain
Valor or strength, though matchless, quell'd with
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
But live content, which is the calmest life:
But pain is perfect misery, the worst
Of evils, and, excessive, overturns

All patience. He, who therefore can invent
With what more forcible we may offend
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.'

"Whereto with look compos'd Satan replied.
'Not uninvented that, which thou aright
Believ'st so main to our success, I bring.
Which of us who beholds the bright surfáce
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand,
This continent of spacious Heaven, adorn'd
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold,
Whose eye so superficially surveys

These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till, touch'd
With Heaven's ray, and temper'd, they shoot forth
So beauteous, opening to the ambient light?
These in their dark nativity the deep

Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;
Which into hollow engines, long and round,
Thick ramm'd, at the other bore with touch of fire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth
From far, with thundering noise, among our foes
Such implements of mischief, as shall dash
To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm'd
The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
Nor long shall be our labor; yet ere dawn
Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair'd.'

"He ended, and his words their drooping cheer Enlighten'd, and their languish'd hope reviv'd. The invention all admir'd, and each, how he To be the inventor miss'd; so easy it seem'd Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought

Impossible: yet, haply, of thy race
In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
With devilish machination, might devise
Like instrument to plague the sons of men
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Forthwith from council to the work they flew;
None arguing stood; innumerable hands
Were ready; in a moment up they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
The originals of nature in their crude
Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and, with subtle art,
Concocted and adusted they reduc'd
To blackest grain, and into store convey'd:

Part hidden veins digg'd up (nor hath this Earth
Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone,
Whereof to found their engines and their balls
Of missive ruin; part incentive reed
Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
So all ere day-spring, under conscious night,
Secret they finish'd, and in order set,

Embowell'd with outrageous noise the air,
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul
Their devilish glut, chain'd thunderbolts and hail
Of iron globes; which, on the victor host

With silent circumspection, unespied.

"Now when fair morn orient in Heaven appear'd, Levell'd, with such impetuous fury smote,
Up rose the victor-angels, and to arms
The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood
Of golden panoply, refulgent host,
Soon banded; others from the dawning hills
Look'd round, and scouts each coast light armed

scour,

With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
But soon obscur'd with smoke, all Heaven appear'd,
From those deep-throated engines belch'd, whose

roar

That, whom they hit, none on their feet might stand,
Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell
By thousands, angel on archangel roll'd;

The sooner for their arms; unarm'd, they might
Have easily, as spirits, evaded swift

By quick contraction or remove; but now
Foul dissipation follow'd, and forc'd rout;
Nor serv'd it to relax their serried files.
What should they do? if on they rush'd, repulse
Repeated, and indecent overthrow

Each quarter, to descry the distant foe,
Where lodg'd, or whither fled, or if for fight,
In motion or in halt: him soon they met
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow
But firm battalion: back with speediest sail
Zophiel, of cherubim the swiftest wing,
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried:
"Arm, warriors, arm for fight; the foe at hand,In posture to displode their second tire

Doubled, would render them yet more despis'd,
And to their foes a laughter; for in view
Stood rank'd of seraphim another row,

Of thunder: back defeated to return

Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud
He comes, and settled in his face I see

They worse abhorr'd. Satan beheld their plight,
And to his mates thus in derision call'd.

Sad resolution, and secure: let each
His adamantine coat gird well, and each
Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,
Borne even or high; for this day will pour down,
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower,
But rattling storm of arrows barb'd with fire.'

"So warn'd he them, aware themselves, and soon
In order, quit of all impediment;
Instant without disturb they took alarm,
And onward mov'd embattled: when behold!
Not distant far with heavy pace the foe
Approaching gross and huge, in hollow cube
Training his devilish enginery, impal'd
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
Awhile; but suddenly at head appear'd
Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud.
"Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold;
That all may see who hate us, how we seek
Peace and composure, and with open breast
Stand ready to receive them, if they like
Our overture, and turn not back perverse:
But that I doubt; however witness Heaven!
Heaven, witness thou anon! while we discharge
Freely our part: ye, who appointed stand,
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
What we propound, and loud that all may hear!'
So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce
Had ended; when to right and left the front
Divided, and to either flank retir'd;
Which to our eyes discover'd, new and strange,
A triple-mounted row of pillars laid
On wheels, (for like to pillars most they seem'd,
Or hollow'd bodies made of oak or fir,
With branches lopt, in wood or mountain fell'd,)
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths
With hideous orifice gap'd on us wide,
Portending hollow truce: at each behind
A seraph stood, and in his hand a reed
Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense,
Collected stood within our thoughts amus'd,
Not long; for sudden all at once their reeds
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied

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"O friends! why come not on these victors proud? Erewhile they fierce were coming; and when we, To entertain them fair with open front

And breast (what could we more?) propounded

terms

Of composition, straight they chang'd their minds,
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,

As they would dance; yet for a dance they seem'd
Somewhat extravagant and wild; perhaps
For joy of offer'd peace: but I suppose,
If our proposals once again were heard,
We should compel them to a quick result.'

"To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood,
Leader! the terms we sent were terms of weight,
Of hard contents, and full of force urg'd home;
Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,
And stumbled many who receives them right,
Had need from head to foot well understand;
Not understood, this gift they have besides,
They show us when our foes walk not upright.'
So they among themselves in pleasant vein
Stood scoffing, heighten'd in their thoughts beyond
All doubt of victory: Eternal Might
To match with their inventions they presum'd
So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn,
And all his host derided, while they stood
Awhile in trouble: but they stood not long;
Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms
Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power,
Which God hath in his mighty angels plac'd!)
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills
(For Earth hath this variety from Heaven
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale,)

Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew;
From their foundations loosening to and fro,
They pluck'd the seated hills, with all their load,
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
Uplifting bore them in their hands: amaze,
Be sure, and terror, seiz'd the rebel host,
When coming towards them so dread they saw
The bottom of the mountains upward turn'd;
Till on those cursed engines' triple row

They saw them whelm'd, and all their confidence
Under the weight of mountains buried deep;
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads
Main promontories flung, which in the air
Came shadowing, and oppress'd whole legions
arm'd ;

makes

Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main.
Two days are therefore past, the third is thine;
For thee I have ordain'd it; and thus far
Have suffer'd, that the glory may be thine
Of ending this great war, since none but thou
Can end it. Into thee such virtue and grace
Immense I have transfus'd, that all may know
In Heaven and Hell thy power above compare ;
And, this perverse commotion govern'd thus,
To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir

"He said, and on his son with rays direct Shone full; he all his Father full express'd Ineffably into his face receiv'd;

And thus the filial godhead answering spake.

Of all things; to be Heir, and to be King
By sacred unction, thy deserved right.
Go then, thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might;
Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels
That shake Heaven's basis, bring forth all my war,
My bow and thunder, my almighty arms
Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh;
Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out
From all Heaven's bounds into the utter deep:
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
God, and Messiah, his anointed king.'

Their armor help'd their harm, crush'd in and bruis'd
Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain
Implacable, and many a dolorous groan;
Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind
Out of such prison, though spirits of purest light,
Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.
The rest, in imitation, to like arms
Betook them, and the neighboring hills uptore:
So hills amid the air encounter'd hills,
Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire;
That under ground they fought in dismal shade;
Infernal noise! war seem'd a civil game
To this uproar; horrid confusion heap'd
Upon confusion rose: and now all Heaven
Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread;
Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits
Shrin'd in his sanctuary of Heaven secure,
Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
This tumult, and permitted all, advis'd:
That his great purpose he might so fulfil,
To honor his anointed Son aveng'd
Upon his enemies, and to declare

All power on him transferr'd: whence to his Son,
The assessor of his throne, he thus began.

"Effulgence of my glory, Son belov'd, Son, in whose face invisible is beheld Visibly, what by Deity I am;

And in whose hand what by decree I do,
Second Omnipotence! two days are past,
Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven,
Since Michael and his powers went forth to tame
These disobedient: sore hath been their fight,
As likeliest was, when two such foes met arm'd;
For to themselves I left them; and thou know'st,
Equal in their creation they were form'd,

Save what sin hath impair'd; which yet hath wrought Amber, and colors of the showery arch.
Insensibly, for I suspend their doom;
He, in celestial panoply all arm'd
Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last
Endless, and no solution will be found:
War wearied hath perform'd what war can do,
And to disorder'd rage let loose the reins,
With mountains, as with weapons, arm'd; which And from about him fierce effusion roll'd

Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,
Ascended; at his right hand Victory
Sat eagle-wing'd; beside him hung his bow
And quiver with three-bolted thunder stor'd;

Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire:
Attended with ten thousand thousand saints,
He onward came; far off his coming shone;
And twenty thousand (I their number heard)
Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen:
He on the wings of cherub rode sublime
On the crystalline sky, in sapphire thron'd,
Illustrious far and wide; but by his own
First seen them unexpected joy surpris'd,
When the great ensign of Messiah blaz'd
Aloft by angels borne, his sign in Heaven;
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduc'd
His army, circumfus'd on either wing,
Under their head embodied all in one.
Before him Power Divine his way prepar'd;
At his command the uprooted hills retir'd
Each to his place; they heard his voice, and wen
Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renew'd,
And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smil'd.
This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdur'd,
And to rebellious fight rallied their powers,
Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.

"O Father, O Supreme of heavenly thrones,
First, Highest, Holiest, Best; thou always seek'st
To glorify thy Son; I always thee,
As is most just: this I my glory account,
My exaltation, and my whole delight,

That thou, in me well pleas'd, declar'st thy will
Fulfill'd, which to fulfil is all my bliss.
Sceptre and power, thy giving, I assume,

And gladlier shall resign, when in the end
Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee
For ever; and in me all whom thou lov'st:
But whom thou hat'st, I hate, and can put on
Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,
Arm'd with thy might, rid Heaven of these rebell'd;
To their prepar'd ill mansion driven down,
To chains of darkness, and the undying worm;
That from thy just obedience could revolt,
Whom to obey is happiness entire.
Then shall thy saints unmix'd, and from the impure
Far separate, circling thy holy mount,
Unfeigned halleluiahs to thee sing,

Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.'
"So said, he, o'er his sceptre bowing, rose
From the right hand of glory where he sat;
And the third sacred morn began to shine,
Dawning through Heaven. Forth rush'd with whirl-
wind sound

The chariot of Paternal Deity,

Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn,
Itself instinct with spirit, but convoy'd

By four cherubic shapes; four faces each
Had wondrous; as with stars, their bodies all
And wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheels
Of beryl, and careering fires between;
Over their heads a crystal firmament,
Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure

Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued
With terrors, and with furies, to the bounds
And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide,

They, harden'd more by what might most reclaim, Roll'd inward, and a spacious gap disclos'd
Grieving to see his glory, at the sight
Into the wasteful deep: the monstrous sight
Took envy; and, aspiring to his height,
Struck them with horror backward, but far worse
Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud Urg'd them behind: headlong themselves they
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail
threw
Against God and Messiah, or to fall
In universal ruin last; and now

In heavenly spirits could such perverseness dwell?
But to convince the proud what signs avail,
Or wonders move the obdurate to relent?

To final battle drew, disdaining flight,
Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God
To all his host on either hand thus spake.

“Stand still in bright array, ye saints; here stand, Ye angels arm'd; this day from battle rest: Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause; And as ye have receiv'd, so have ye done, Invincibly: but of this cursed crew The punishment to other hand belongs; Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints: Number to this day's work is not ordain'd, Nor multitude; stand only, and behold God's indignation on these godless pour'd By me; not you, but me, they have despis'd, Yet envied; against me is all their rage, Because the Father, to whom in Heaven supreme Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains, Hath honor'd me, according to his will, Therefore to me their doom he hath assign'd; That they may have their wish to try with me In battle which the stronger proves: they all, Or I alone against them; since by strength They measure all, of other excellence Not emulous, nor care who them excels; Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.'

"So spake the Son, and into terror chang'd His countenance too severe to be beheld, And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the Four spread out their starry wings With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. He on his impious foes right onward drove, Gloomy as night: under his burning wheels The stedfast empyrean shook throughout, All but the throne itself of God. Full soon Among them he arriv'd; in his right hand Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent Before him, such as in their souls infix'd Plagues: they, astonish'd, all resistance lost, All courage; down their idle weapons dropt: O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode Of thrones and mighty seraphim prostráte, That wish'd the mountains now might be again Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire. Nor less on either side tempestuous fell His arrows, from the fourfold-visag'd Four Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; One spirit in them rul'd; and every eye Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire Among the accurs'd, that wither'd all their strength,| And of their wonted vigor left them drain'd, Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n. Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd His thunder in mid volley; for he meant Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven: The overthrown he rais'd, and as a herd Of goats or timorous flock together throng'd

Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.

64

Hell heard the unsufferable noise, Hell saw Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. Nine days they fell: confounded Chaos roar'd, And felt tenfold confusion in their fall

Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout
Encumber'd him with ruin: Hell at last
Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd;
Hell their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.
Disburden'd Heaven rejoic'd, and soon repair'd
Her mural breach, returning whence it roll'd.
Sole victor, from the expulsion of his foes,
Messiah his triumphal chariot turn'd:
To meet him all his saints, who silent stood
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts,

With jubilee advanc'd; and, as they went,
Shaded with branching palm, each order bright,
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given,
Worthiest to reign: He, celebrated, rode
Triumphant through mid Heaven, into the courts
And temple of his mighty Father thron'd
On high; who into glory him receiv'd,
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.

64

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 angelic powers, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring, who rebell'd
With Satan; he who envies now thy state,
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."

BOOK VII.
The Argument.

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 per- Yet scarce allay'd still eyes the current stream, formance thereof, and his reascension into Heaven. Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites, Proceeded thus to ask his heavenly guest.

Great things, and full of wonder in our ears Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal'd, Divine interpreter! by favor 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
Innumerable; and this which yields or fills
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; 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, potent voice, he hears,
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.

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?

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 appear'd, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse.
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
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.
Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound
Within the visible diurnal sphere;

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Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchang'd
To hoarse or mute, though fall'n on evil days,
On evil days though fall'n, 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,
Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race

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Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, till the savage clamor 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,
The affable archangel, had forewarn'd
Adam, by dire example, to beware
Apostacy, by what befell in Heaven
To those apostates; lest the like befall
In Paradise to Adam or his race,
Charg'd not to touch the interdicted tree,
If they transgress, and slight that sole command,
So easily obey'd amid the choice

Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
Thy hearing; such commission from above

Of all tastes else to please their appetite,
Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve, I have receiv'd, to answer thy desire

The story heard attentive, and was fill'd
With admiration and deep muse, to hear

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Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve
To glorify the Maker, and infer

Of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain
To ask; nor let thine own inventions hope

Of things so high and strange; things, to their thought Things not reveal'd, which the invisible King,

So unimaginable, as hate in Heaven,
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
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 drought

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.

"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

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