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Great things and full of wonder in our ears,
Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal’d,
Divine interpreter! by favour 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 vouchsafed
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 interfused,
Embracing round this florid earth: what cause
Moved the Creator, in his holy rest
Through all eternity, so late to build
In Chaos; and the work begun, how soon
Absolved; if unforbid thou mayst 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, 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:
Of 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 ?
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serye
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld

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84. Absolved: Finished, completed. site skill in the art of poetry, than thie

98. And the great light of day. Mr. and the following lines. Thyer is of opinion that there is not a 103. Unapparent : Where nothing was greater instance of our author's exqui- to be seen.

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Thy hearing; such commission from above
I have received, to answer thy desire
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain

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To ask; nor let thine own inventions hope
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.

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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

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This inaccessible high strength, the seat
Of Deity supreme, us dispossess'd,
He trusted to have seized, 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
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
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 changed to heaven, and heaven to earth, 100
One kingdom, joy and union without end.
Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye powers of heaven;
And thou, my Word, begotten Son, by thee

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150. “Knowledge puffeth up."-1 Cor. | happiness resemble Ileaven; and leaven, viii. 1.

hy receiving such creatures, would re139. At least. Mr. Thyer suggests at semble Earth, having men for inhabitlast.

ants. See Rev. xxi. 3. 160. The meaning is, that Earth, in- 162. Inhabit lur Dwell at case, the habited by obedient creatures, would in rebel angels being vanquish'd.

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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, uncircumscribed 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.

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,
When such was heard declared 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
Good out of evil to create; instead
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 Virtues, winged Spirits, and Chariots wing'd
From the armoury of God; where stand of old
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged
Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand,
Celestial equipage; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them spirit lived,
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
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,

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210. Prom the shore, &c. Here is a most magnificent picture, breathing uil ibe powers of poetry.--BRYDGES.

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Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heaven's highth, and with the centre mix the pole,

Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace,
Said then the omnific Word; your discord end!
Nor stay'd; but, on the wings of cherubim
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
Får into Chaos, and the world unborn;
For Chaos heard his voice: him all his train
Follow'd in bright procession, to behold
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
Then stay'd the fervid wheels; and in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepared
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things:
One foot he centred, and the other turn'd
Round through the vast profundity obscure;
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds;
This be thy just circumference, O 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 infused, and vital warmth,
Throughout the fluid mass; but downward purged
The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs,
Adverse to life: then founded, then conglobed
Like things to like; the rest to several place
Disparted, and between spun out the air;
And earth, self-balanced, on her centre 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,
Sphered 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
Divided: light the day, and darkness night
He named. Thus was the first day even and morn:
Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung
By the celestial quires, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld,
Birth-day of heaven and earth: with joy and shout
The hollow universal orb they fill’d,
And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning praised
God and his works; Creator him they sung,
Both when first evening was, and when first morn.

Again, God said, Let there be firmament

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260 205

225. Compasses. See Prov. viii. 27. 256. See Job xxxvii. 4, 7.

261. Firmament signifies " expansion." 274. And hearen. According to the Milton is here speaking of the first SeaHebrews, there were three heavens: the ven, as he mentions the others in other first is the air, wherein the clouds move places.--NEWTOX, and the birds fly; the second is the starry 281. Fermented: Excited. heaven; and the third is the habitation 29). Torrent rapture: With the rapidity of tbe angels and the seat of God's glory. I and violence of a torrent

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Amid the waters, and let it divide
The waters from the waters: and God made
The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffused
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
Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule
Of Chaos far removed; 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 involved,
Appear'd not: over all the face of earth
Main ocean flow'd, not idle; but, with warm
Prolific humour softening all her globe,
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 heaved the tumid hills, so low
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep,
Capacious bed of waters: thither they
Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolid,
As drops on dust conglobing from the dry:
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,
For haste; such flight the great command impress'd
On the swift floods: as armies at the call
Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard)
Troop to their standard; so the watery throng,
Wave rolling after wave, where way they found,
If steep, with torrent rapture; if through plain,
Soft ebbing: nor withstood them rock or hill:
But they, or under ground, or circuit wide
With serpent errour wandering, found their way,
And on the washy ooze deep channels wore;
Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry,
All but within those banks, where rivers now
Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train.
The dry land, earth; and the great receptacle

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