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Book the Seventh.

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 gtory and attendance of angels to per. form the work of creation in six days: the angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his re-ascension into heaven.

DESCEND from Heav'n, Urania, by that name

If righuy thou art call?d, whose voice divine
Following, above thi' Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegascan wing.
The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou
Nor of the Muses nime, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwell'st; but heav'oly born,
Before the hills appeard, or fountain flow'd,
'Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
Wisdoin thy sister, and with her didst play
In presence of th'almighty Father, pleas'd
With thy celestial song. Upoled by thee,
Into the Heav'n of Heav'ns I have presum’d,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air, .
Thy teinp'ring; with like safety guided down
Return me to my native element:
Lest from this fiying steed unrein' (as once
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime),

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Dismounted, on th' Aleian field I fall,
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn.
Half yet remains unsung, but narrow bound
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 fall’n on evil days,
On evil days though fall’n, and evil tongues ;
Ini 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 barb'rous dissonance
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
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 heav'nly, she an empty dream.

Say, goddess, what ensued when Raphael,
The affable Archangel, had forewarn'd
Adam by dire example to beware
A postacy, by what befel in Heav'n
To those apostates, lest the like befal
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
Of all tastes else to please their appetite,
'Though wand'ring. He with his consorted Eve
The story heard attentive, and was fild
With admiration and deep muse, to hear
of things so high and strange, things to their thought
So unimaginable as hate in Heav'n,
And war so near the peace of God in bliss
With such confusion; but the evil soon
Priyin back redounded as a flood on those

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From whom it sprung, impossible to mix
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeald
The doubts that in his heart arose : and now
Led on, yet sipless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him, how this world
Of Ileav'n 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 drougth,
Yet scarce allay'd, still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
Proceeded thus to ask his heav'nly guest:

Great things, and full of wonder in our ears,
Far diff'ring froin this world, thou hast reveal'd,
Divine interpreter, by favour sent
Down from the einpyrean 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
Iinmorul thanks, and his admonishinent
Receive with solenn purpose to observe
Immutably his soy'reign 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 Heav'n, which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fres 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 elernal empire, but the more

To magnify lis works, the more we know.
And the great light of day yet wants to run
Much of his race though steep; suspence in Heav'd
Held by thy voice, thy 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 list’ning 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?
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be with-held
Thy hearing; such commission from above
I have receiv'd to answer thy desire

ounds; beyond abstaid
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not reveald, which th' invisible King,
Only omniscient, hash 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 temprance 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 Heav'n
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, th' 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
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, Heav'n 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 .
Already done, to have dispeopled Heav'n,
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
Of inen innuinerable, there to dwell,
Not here: till by degrees of merit raisl,
'They open to themselves at length the way
Up bither, under long obedience try'd;
And Earth be chang'd to Heav'n, and Heav'o to Earth,
One kingdom, joy and union without end.
Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Pow'rs of Heav'n;
And thou, my Word, begotten Son, by thee
This I perform: speak thou, and be it done;
My overshadowing Sp'rit and might with thee
I send alung; ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be Heav'n and Earth,
Boundless the deep, because I am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space... .
Though I uncircumscrib'd myself retire,
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.

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