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With eharm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragranee after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon, 050
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?
To whom our general aneestor replied: Daughter of God and man, aeeomplish'd Eve, eoo Those have their eourse to finish, round the earth. By morrow evening; and from land to land In order, though to nations yet unborn, Ministering light prepared, they set and rise; Lest total darkness should by night regain ees Her old possession, and extinguish life In nature and all things; whieh these soft fires Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat Of various influenee foment and warm, Temper or nourish, or in part shed down 070 Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow On earth, made hereby apter to reeeive Perfeetion from the sun's more potent ray. These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none, 070 That heaven would want speetators, God want praise: Millions of spiritual ereatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep: All these with eoaseless praise his works behold Both day and night. How often from the steep 080 Of eehoing hill or thieket have we heard Celestial voiees to the midnight air, Sole, or responsive eaeh to other's note, Singing their great Creator! oft in bands While they keep wateh, or nightly rounding walk, 080 With heavenly toueh of instrumental sounds, In full harmonie number join'd, their songs Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven.
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass'd On to their blissful bowor: it was a plaee oao Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed All things to man's delightful use: the roof Of thiekest eovert was inwoven shade, Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew Of firm and fragrant leaf: on either side 008 Aeanthus and eaeh odorous bushy shrub Feneed up the verdant wall; eaeh beauteous flower, Iris all hues, roses, and jessamin,
Rear'd high their flourish'd heads between, and wrought Mosaie; under-foot the violet, 700
003. Inwoven shade of laurel: so l008) 1rit of aii huet.
Croeus, and hyaeinth, with rieh inlay
Broider'd the ground, more eolour'd than with stone
Of eostliest emblem: other ereature here,
Bird, beast., inseet, or worm, durst enter none;
Sueh was their awe of man. In shadier bower 7C4
More saered and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
Pan or Sylvanus never slept; nor nymph
Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in elose reeess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs,
Espoused Eve deek'd first her nuptial bed; 710
And heavenly quires the hymeneean sung,
What day the genial angel to our sire
Brought her, in naked beauty more adorn'd,
More lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods
Endow'd with all their gifts; and, O! too like 715
In sad event, when to the unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes she ensnared
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
On him who had stole Jove's authentie fire.
Thus, at thoir shady lodge arrived, both stood, 7»
This said unanimous, and other rites
Of purity, and plaee, and iunoeenee, 745
Pure, and eommands to some, leaves free to all,
Our Maker bids inerease; who bids abstain
But our destroyer, foe to God and man?
Hail, wedded love, mysterious law, true souree 750
Of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise of all things eommon elsel
By thee adulterous lust was driven from men
Among the bestial herds to range: by thee,
Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, 74s
Relations dear, and all the eharities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
Far be it that I should write thee sin or blame,
Or think thee unbefitting holiest plaee;
Perpetual fountain of domestie sweets, 7ao
Whose bed is undefiled and ehaste pronouneed, .
Present, or past, as saints and patriarehs us'd.
Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights
His eonstant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile 7«
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear'd,
Casual fruition; nor in eourt-amours,
Mix'd danee, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
Or sorenate, whieh the starved lover sings
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. 770
These, lull'd by nightingales, embraeing slept,
And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
Shower'd roses, whieh the morn repair'd. Sleep on,
Blest pair; and 0! yet happiest; if ye seek
No happier state, and know to know no more! 775
Now had night measured with her shadowy eom
Uzziel, half these draw off, and eoast the south
Ithuriel and Zophon, with wing'd speed
This evening from the sun's deeline arrived,
Who tells of some infernal spirit seen
Hitherward bent lwho eould have thought?) eseapod
The bars of hell, on errand bad no doubt: 7ftJ
Sueh, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring.
So saying, on he led his radiant files,
Whieh of those rebel spirits adjudged to hell
Know ye not then, said Satan, fill'd with seorn,
To whom thus Zephon, answering seorn with seorn-—
But eome; for thou, bo sure, shalt give aeeount
So spake the eherub; and his grave rebuke,
The fiend replied not, overeome with rage; But, like a proud steed rein'd, went haughty on, Champing his iron eurb: to strive or fly He held it vain; awe from above had quell'd imo His heart, not else dismay'd. Now drew they nigh The western point, where those half-rounding guards Just met, and elosing stood in squadron join'd, Awaiting next eommand. To whom their ehief, Gabriel, from the front thus eall'd aloud:— 805
O friends! I hear the tread of nimble feet Hasting this way, and now by glimpse diseern lthurieiand Zephon through the shade; And with them eomes a third of regal port, But faded splendour wan; who by his gait 870 And fieree demeanour seems the prinee of hell, Nor likely to part henee without eontest: Stand firm; for in his look defianee lours.
He searee had ended, when those two approaeh'd, And brief related whom they brought, where found, 875 How busied, in what form and posture eoueh'd.
To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake: Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds preseribed To thy transgressions? and disturb'd the eharge Of others, who approve not to trangress 880 By thy example? but have power and right To question thy bold entranee on this plaee; Employ'd, it sceras, to violate sleep, and those Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss.
To whom thus Satan, with eontemptnous brow: 885 Gabriel, thou hadst in heaven the esteem of wise, And sueh I held thee; but this question ask'd Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain? Who would not, finding way, break loose from hell, Though thither doom'd'? thou wouldst thyself, no doubt, 800 And boldly venture to whatever plaee Farthest from pain, where thou mighUit hope to ehange