페이지 이미지

choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean while SATAN alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermoft orb ; where

wandring he first finds a place, fince called the Limbo of: Vanity; what persons and things fy up thither ; thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by fairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it: his passage thence to the orb of the fun: he finds there Uriel the regent of that orb; but first changes himself into the soape of a meaner Angel ; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and Man whom God hath placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed; alights first on mount Niphates.

AIL holy light, offspring of heav'n first

born! Or of th' eternal coeternal beam ! May I express thee unblam'd ? fince God

is light, And never

but in unapproached light Dwelt from eternity; dwelt then in thee,

5 Bright efluence of bright essence increate ! Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal ftream, Whose fountain who shall tell ? Before the sun, Before the heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice Of God, as with a mantle didst invest

TO The rising world of waters dark and deep, Won from the void and forinless Infinite. Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, Escap': the STYGIAN pool, tho* long detain'd in that obfcure sojourn; while in my flight

15 Through utter and through middle darkness born, With other notes than to th' ORPHEAN lyre, I sung of Chaos and eternal Night; Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down The dark descent, and up to re-ascend, Tho' hard and rare! Thee I revifit safe, And feel thy sov'reign vital lamp: but thou Revisit’lt not these eyes, that rowl in vain To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn 3 So thick a Drop Serene hath quench'd their orbs,




Or dim fuffusion veil'd! Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill.
Smit with the love of sacred song: but chief
Thee Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd Feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two equal'd with me in fate,
(So were I equal'd with them in renown!)
Blind THAMYRIs, and blind MÆONIDES ;
And TIRESIAS, and PHINEUS, Prophets old.
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious Numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadielt covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return ; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or fight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine :
But cloud instead, and ever during dark

45 Surrounds me!' from the chearsul

Cut off; and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works to me expung'd and ras’d,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out!
So much the rather thou, celestial light!
Shine inward, and the mind through all her pow'rs
Irradiate; there plant eyes ; all mist from thence
Purge and disperse ; that I may see and tell
QE things invisible to mortal fight.



of men


Now had th’ Almighty Father from above,
(From the pure empyrean where He sits
High thrond above all height) bent down His eye,
His own works and their works at once to view.
About Him all the Sanétities of heav'n
Stood thick as stars, and from his fight receiv'd
Beatitude paft utt'rance : on His right
The radiant image of His glory fat,
His only Son. On earth He first beheld

60 65


Our two firit parents ( yet the only two
Of mankind) in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love ;
Uninterrupted joy, unrival'd love,
In blissful solitude. He then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and SATAN there
Coasting the wall of heav'n on this fide night,
In the dun air sublime ; and ready now

To ftoop with wearied wings, and willing feet, 5 On the bare outside of this world, that seemd

Firm land imbolom'd without firmament;
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future He beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.


[ocr errors]

Only begotten Son! seest thou what rage 80
Transports our adversary, whom no bounds
Prescrib’d, no bars of hell, nor all the chains
Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss
Wide-interrupt, can hold ? So bent he seems
On desperate revengę, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way
Not far off heav'n, in the precincts of light,
Directly towards the new created world,
And man there plac'd; with purpose to assay 90
If him by force

he can destroy, or worse,
By some false guile pervert : and shall pervert ;
For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily transgress the sole

Sole pledge of his obedience : so will fall,

He, and his faithless progeny. Whose fault?
Whose but his own Ingrate! he had of me
All he could have : I made him just and right;
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th' ethereal Pow'rs,

And spirits, both them who stood, and them who faila :
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have giv'n fincere .



[ocr errors]

Of true allegiance, constant faith or love,
Where only what they needs must do, appear'd,

Not, what they would ? What praise could they receive
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
When will and reason (reason also is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild,
Made paffive both, and serv'd necessity,
Not me? They therefore, as to right belong'd,
So were created, nor can justly accufe
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate :
As if predestination over-rul'd
Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree,

115 Or high fore-knowledge. They themselves decreed

Their own revolt, not I: if I fore-knew,
Fore knowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse, or shadow of fate,

120 Or ought by Me immutably foreseen, They trespass; authors to themselves in all, Both what they judge, and what they choose; for fo I form'd thein free, and free they must remain, 'Till they inthrall themselves ; 1.else must change Their nature, and revoke the high decree

126 Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd Their freedom ; they themselves ordain'd their fall. The firit fort by their own suggestion fell, Self-tempted, felf-deprav'd: man falls, deceiv'd

130 By th’ other first : Man therefore shall find

grace ;
The other none : in mercy and justice both,
Through heav'n and earth, fo shall my glory excel ;
But mercy, first and laft, shall brightest shine.

Thus while God spake, ambrofial fragrance fill'd
All heav'n, and in the blessed spirits elect
Senfe of new joy ineffable diffus’d.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious : in Him all His Father shon.
Subitantially express d ; and in His Face

140 Divine compaffion vifbly appear'd, Love without end, and without measure grace;


« 이전계속 »