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And crystal wall of heaven, which op'ning wide
Roll'd inward, and a spacious gap disclos'd
Into the wasteful deep; the monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward; but far worse
Urg'd them behind; headlong themselves they
Down from the verge of heaven; eternal wrath 965
Burn'd after them to the bottomless pit.
Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, hell saw
Heaven ruining from heaven, and would have fled
Affrighted; but strict fate had cast too deep
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. 870
Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roar'd,
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall
Through his wild anarchy; so huge a rout
Incumber'd him with ruin hell at last
Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd;
Hell their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.
Disburden'd heaven rejoic'd, and soon repair'd
Her mural breach, returning whence it roll'd.
Sole victor from th' expulsion of his foes
Messiah his triumphal chariot turn'd:
To meet him all his saints, who silent stood
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts,
868 ruining] Falling down with ruin, from the Italian ruinando. v. Tasso's Gier. lib. ix. 39.
'Gli alberi intorno ruinando atterra.' Thyer.
877 house] Fairfax's Tasso, ix. st. 59.
'Fit house for them, the house of grief and pain.'
With jubilee advanc'd; and as they went,
Shaded with branching palm, each order bright 885
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion giv'n,
Worthiest to reign: he celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid heaven, into the courts
And temple of his mighty Father thron'd
On high; who into glory him receiv'd,
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
Thus measuring things in heaven by things on
At thy request, and that thou may'st beware [earth,
By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd
What might have else to human race been hid;
The discord which befell, and war in heaven
Among th' angelic powers, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring, who rebell'd
With Satan, he who envies now thy state;
Who now is plotting how he may seduce
Thee also from obedience, that with him
Bereav'd of happiness thou may'st partake
His punishment, eternal misery;
Which would be all his solace and revenge,
As a despite done against the Most High,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations, warn
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard
By terrible example the reward
Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,
Yet fell: remember, and fear to transgress.
900 he] The construction, Bentley observes, requires 'him.'
RAPHAEL, at the request of Adam, relates how, and wherefore, this world was first created; that GOD, after the ex pelling of Satan and his angels out of heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world, and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory and attendance of angels to perform the work of creation in six days: the angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascension into heaven.
DESCEND from heaven, Urania, by that name
If rightly thou art call'd, whose voice divine
Following, above th' Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegasean wing.
The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwell'st, but heavenly born,
Before the hills appear'd, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
7 old Olympus] 'cold.' Bentl. MS. 1. 516. 1. 428. 2. 393. 7old] Some would read 'cold,' as in book i. 516; but it is called 'old,' as being 'fam'd of old,' see book i. 420, ii. 593. Newton.
In presence of th' almighty Father, pleas'd
With thy celestial song.
Up led by thee
Into the heaven of heav'ns I have presum'd,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy temp'ring; with like safety guided down
Return me to my native element:
Lest from this flying steed unrein'd, as once
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime,
Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall,
Erroneous there to wander and forlorn.
Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound,
Within the visible diurnal sphere;
Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchang'd
To hoarse or mute, though fall'n on evil days, 25
On evil days though fall'n, and evil tongues,
In darkness, and with dangers compast round,
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou
Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east. Still govern thou my song,
Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 35
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the muse defend
85 ears] Hor. Od. i. xii. v. 11.
'Auritas fidibus canoris
So fail not thou, who thee implores :
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.
Say, goddess, what ensu'd when Raphael,
The affable arch-angel, had forewarn'd
Adam by dire example to beware
Apostasy, by what befell in heaven
To those apostates, lest the like befall
In Paradise to Adam or his race,
Charg'd not to touch the interdicted tree,
If they transgress, and slight that sole command, So easily obey'd, amid the choice
Of all tastes else to please their appetite,
Though wand'ring. He with his consorted Eve 50
The story heard attentive, and was fill'd
With admiration and deep muse, to hear
Of things so high and strange, things to their thought
So unimaginable as hate in heaven,
And war so near the peace of GOD in bliss
With such confusion: but the evil soon
Driv'n back redounded as a flood on those
From whom it sprung, impossible to mix
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeal'd
The doubts that in his heart arose: and now
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him, how this world
Of heaven and earth conspicuous first began,
When, and whereof created, for what cause,
What within Eden or without was done
Before his memory, as one whose drouth