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The great Work-Master, leads to no excess,
695 That reaches blame, but rather merits praise, The more it seems excess, that led thee hither, From thy empyreal mansion, thus alone ; To witness with thine eyes, what some perhaps Contented with report, hear only in heaven:
700 For wonderful indeed are all his works, Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all Had in remembrance, always with delight. .But what created mind can comprehend Their number, or the wisdom infinite
705 That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? I saw, when at his word, the formless mass, This world's material mold, came to a heap. Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar Stood ruled ; stood vast infinitude confined :
710 Till, at his second bidding, darkness fled, Light shone, and order from disorder sprung. Swift, to their several quarters, hasted then The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire; And this etherial quintessence of heaven
715 Flew upward, spirited with various forms, That rollid orbicular, and turn’d to stars Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; Each had his place appointed, each his course : The rest in circuit walls this universe.
720 Look downward on that globe, whose hither side, With light froin hence, though but reflected, shines; That place is earth, the seat of man; that light His day; which else, as the other hemisphere, Night would invade: but there the neighbouring moon,725 So call that opposite fair star her aid Timely interposes; and her monthly round Still ending, still renewing through mid Heaven, With borrow'd light, her countenance triform, Hence fills and empties, to enlighten the earth; 730 And, in her pale dominion, checks the night. That spot, to which I point, is Paradise, Adam's abode ; those lofty shades, his bower. Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires."
Thus said, he turn'd; and Satan, bowing low, 735 As to superior spirits is wont in Heaven, Where honour due and reverence none neglects, Took leave; and, toward the coast of earth beneath, Down from the ecliptic, sped with hoped success, Throws his steep flight in many an airy wheel,
740 Nor staid, till on Niphates top he lights.
Satun, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must
now attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone, against God and man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair: but at length confirms himself in evil; journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and situ. ation are described; overleaps the bounds; sits in the shape of a cormorant on the tree of life, as highest in the garden, to look about him. The garden described: Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall; overhears their discourse, thence gathers that the tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his temptation by seducing them to transgress: then leaves them a while to know further of their state by some other means. Mean while Uriel, descending on a sunbeam, warns Gabriel; who had in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil spirit had escaped the deep, and passed at noon by his sphere in the shape of a good angel down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures on the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest; their bower described; their evening-worship. Gabriel, drawing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong angels to Adam's bower, jest the evil spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping, there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel : by whom questioned, he scornfully answers; prepares resistance: but, hindered hy a sign from heaven, dies out of Paradise.
O for that warning voice, which he, who saw
, can fly
“O thou! that, with surpassing glory crown'd
O sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,