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How first began this heav'n, 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 forid earth : what cause

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Mov’d the Creator, in His holy rest
Through all eternity, fo 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

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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, suspence in heav'n
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 un-apparent Deep:
Or if the star of ev’ning, and the moon
Hafte to thy audience, night with her will bring 105
Silence; and Sleep, lift'ning to thee, will watch;
Or, we can bid his absence, 'till thy fong
End, and dismiss thee ere the morning fine.

Thus Adam his illuftrious guest befought;
And thus the God-like 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 fuffice !
Or, heart of man fuffice 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
Of knowledge within bounds: beyon), abstain
To ask ; nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not reveald, which th' invisible King,
Only Omniscient, hath suppress’d in night ;

To

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To none communicable in earth or heav'n:
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:
Oppreffes else with surfeit and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.

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Know then, that after LUCIFER from heav'n
(So call him, brighter once amidit the host
Of Angels, than that star the stars among)
Fell with his flaming 1 gions 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 this fpake.

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At least our envious foe hath faild, who thought All like himself rebellious, by whose aid

140 This inacceflible high strength, the seat Of Deity supreme, US dispofseft, 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 fee,

145 Their station ; heav'n, yet populous, retains Number sufficient to possess her realms, Though wide ; and this high temple to frequent With minifteries due and folemn rites. But left his heart exalt him, in the harm

150 Already done, to have difpeopled heav'n (My damage fondly deem'd!) I can repair That detriment; if such it be, to lose Self loft ; and in moment will create Another world : out of one man, a race

155 Of men innumerable there to dwell, Not here; 'till by degrees of merit rais'd, They open to themselves at length the way Up hither; under long obedience try'd :

159 And earth be chang'd to heav'n, and heav'n to earth, One kingdom, joy, and union without end.

Mean

Mean while 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. *164
My over-shadowing Spirit and Might with Thee
I send along : 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 My felf, retire

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And put not forth my goodness; which is free
To act, or not; Neceflity, and Chance,
Approach not Me ; and what I will is Fate.

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So fpake th' 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 process of speech be told ;
So told, as earthly notion can receive.
Great triumph and rejoycing was in heav'n,
When such was heard declar'd th' 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 th' ungodly from His fight,
And th’habitations of the juft: 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.

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So sang the Hierarchies. Mean while the Son
On His great expedition now appear'd,
Girt with Omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of Majesty Divine : fapience and love
Immense, and all His FATHER in him fhon.
About His chariot numberless were pour'd
Cherub, and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones,
And Virtues : winged {pirits, and chariots wingid,

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From

From th' armory of God; where stand of old 200
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodg'd
Against a folemn day, harness'd at hand,
Cæleftial equipage! and now came forth
Spontaneous (for within them fpirit liv'd
Attendant on their Lord: heav'n opti'd wide 205
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound !
On golden hinges moving, to let forth
The King of Glory, in His pow'rful WORD,
And Spirit, coming to create new Worlds. 209
On heav'nly ground they stood, and from the shore
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss,
Outrageous as a fea, dark, wasteful, wild;
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds,
And surging waves, as mountains, to affault

214 Heav'n's height, and with the centre mix the Pole.

Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou Deep, peace!
Said then th’Omnific WORD, your Discord end

Nor staid; but on the wings of Cherubim
Uplifted, in Paternal Glory rode
Far 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 staid the fervid Wheels, and in His hand
He took the golden compasses, prepar'd

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In God's eternal flore to circumscribe
This Universe, and all created things.
One foot He center'd, and the other turn'd
Round through the vast profundity obscure ;
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,

230 This be thy just circumference, O world!

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Thus God the heav'n created, thus the earth ; Matter unform’d and void ! Darkness profound Cover'd th' abyss; but on the watry calm

234 His brooding wings the Spirit of God out-spread, And vital virtue infus'd, and vital warmth Throughout the Auid mass: but downward purg'd Q

The

The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs,
Adverse to life: then founded, then conglob'd
Like things to like; the rest to several place

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Disparted; and between, spun out the air:
And earth self-balanc'd on her centre hung.

TE

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Let there be light! said God: and forthwith light
Ethereal, firit of things, quintessence pure,
Sprung from the Deep: and from her native caft,
To journey through the aery gloom began,
Spheard 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 259
Divided : light the day, and darkness night
He nam'd. Thus was the First Day ev'n and morn:
Nor paft uncelebrated, nor unsung
By the cæleftial choirs, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld:

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Birth-day of heav'n and earth! with joy, and shout,
The hollow universal orb they fill'd;
And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning prais'd
God, and His works ; Creator Him they lung,

259 Both when First Ev'ning was, and when First Morn.

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Again, God said, Let there be firmament
Amid the waters, and let it divide
The waters from the waters ! And God made

The firmament expanse of liquid, pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffusů
In circuit to the uttermost convex
Cf this great Round: partition firm and sure,
The waters underneath from those above
Dividing : for as earth, fo He the world
Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide
Crystalline ocean, and the loud mis-rule
OF CHAOS far remov'd ; left fierce extremes
Contiguous might diflen per the whole frame:
And hei'n He nam'd the firmament: so ev'n
And morning chorus sung the Secer.d Day,

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The

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