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That man may know he dwells not in his own;
An edifice too large for him to fill,
Lodg'd in a small partition; and the rest
Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known.
The swiftness of those circles attribute,
Though numberless, to his omnipotence,
That to corporeal substances could add
Speed almost spiritual: me thou think'st not slow,
Who since the morning-hour set out from heaven
Where God resides, and ere mid-day arriv'd
In Eden; distance inexpressible
By numbers that have name.
But this I urge,
Admitting motion in the heavens, to shew
Invalid that which thee to doubt it mov'd;
Not that I so affirm, though so it seem
To thee who hast thy dwelling here on earth.
God, to remove his ways from human sense,
Plac'd heaven from earth so far, that earthly sigh
fit presume, might err in things too high,
And no advantage gain. What if the sun
Be centre to the world; and other stars,
By his attractive virtue and their own
Incited, dance about him various rounds?
Their wandering course now high, now low, then
Progressive, retrograde, or standing still, [hid,
In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these
The planet earth, so stedfast though she seem,
Insensibly three different motions move?
Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe,
Mov'd contrary with thwart obliquities;
Or save the sun his labour, and that swift
Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb suppos'd,
Invisible else above all stars, the wheel
Of day and night: which needs not thy belief,
If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day
Travelling east, and with her part averse
From the sun's beam meet night, her other part.
Still luminous by his ray. What if that light,
Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air,
To the terrestrial moon be as a star,
Enlightening her by day, as she by night
This earth; reciprocal, if land be there,
Fields and inhabitants; her spots thou seest
As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce
Fruits in her soften'd soil, for some to eat
Allotted there; and other suns perhaps,
With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry,
Communicating male and female light;
Which two great sexes animate the world,
Stor❜d in each orb perhaps with some that live;
For such vast room in nature unpos-ess'd
By living soul, désert, and desolate,
Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute
Each orb a glimpse of light convey'd so far
Down to this habitable, which returns
Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.
But whether thus these things, or whether not
Whether the sun, predominant in heaven,
Rise on the earth; or earth rise on the sun;
He from the east his flaming road begin;
Or she from west her silent course advance,
With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps
On her soft axle, while she paces even,
And bears thee soft with the smooth air along
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid;
Leave them to God above; him serve and fear.
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
Wherever plac'd, let him dispose; joy thou
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve; heaven is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise:
Think only what concerns thee, and thy being
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there
Live, in what state, condition, or degree :
Contented that thus far hath been reveal'd
Not of earth only, but of highest heaven."
To whom thus Adam, clear'd of doubt, replied:
How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure
Intelligence of heaven, angel serene!
And freed from intricacies, taught to live
The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts
To interrupt the sweet of life, from which
God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares,
And not molest us; unless we ourselves
Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions
But apt the mind or fancy is to rove
Uncheck'd, and of her roving is no end;
Till warn'd, or by experience taught, she learn.
That not to know at large of things remote
From use, obscure and subtle, but to know
That which before us lies in daily life,
Is the prime wisdom: what is more, is fume.
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence :
And renders us, in things that most concern,
Unpractis'd, unprepar'd, and still to seek...
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand
Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise
Of something not unseasonable to ask.
By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deign'd.
Thee I have heard relating what was done
Ere my remembrance: now, hear me relate
My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard;
And day is not yet spent ; till then thou seest
How subtly to detain thee I devise:
Inviting thee to hear while I relate;
Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply:
For, while I sit with thee, I seem in heaven;
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst
And hunger both, from labour at the hour
Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill,
Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace die
Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety."
To whom thus Raphael answer'd heavenly meek: Nor are thy lips ungraceful, sire of men,
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
Abundantly his gifts hath also pour'd
Inward and outward both his image fair:
Speaking, or mute, ali comeliness and grace
Attends thee; and each word, each motion, forms.
Nor less think we in heaven of thee on earth
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire
Gladly into the ways of God with man:
For God, we see, hath honour'd thee, and set
On man his equal love: say therefore on;
For I that day was absent, as befel,
Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,
Far on excursion toward the gates of hell;
Squar'd in full legion (such command we had)
To see that one thence issued forth a spy,
Or enemy, while God was in his work;
Lest he, incens'd at such eruption bold,
Destruction with creation might have mix'd.
Not that they durst without his leave attempt:
But us he sends upon his high behests
For state, as sovran King; and to inure
Our prompt obedience.
Fast we found, fast shut,
The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong:
But long ere our approaching heard within
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song,
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
Glad we return'd up to the coasts of light
Ere Sabbath evening: so we had in charge.
But thy relation now; for I attend, [mine."
Pleas'd with thy words no less than thou with
So spake the godlike power, and thus our sire:
"For man to tell how human life began
Is hard; for who himself beginning knew?
Desire with thee still longer to converse.
Induc'd me. As new wak'd from soundest sleep,
Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid,
In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sus
Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward heaven my wandering eyes
And gaz'd a while the ample sky; till rais'ð
By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet: about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these
Creatures that liv'd and mov'd, and walk'd or flew;
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smil'd ;
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd.
Myself I then perus'd, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
With supple joints, as lively vigour led :
But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake;
My tongue obey'd, and readily could name
Whate'er I saw. • Thou sun,' said I, * fair light,
And thou enlighten'd earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hil's, and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,
And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how I came thus, how here?
Not of myself: by some great Maker then,
In goodness and in power pre-eminent :
Tell me, how I may know him, how adore,
From whom I have that thus I move and live,
And feel that I am happier than I know.'
While thus I call'd, and stray'd I knew not whi
From where I first drew air, and first beheld
This happy light: when answer none return'd,
On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers,
Pensive I sat me down: there gentle sleep
First found me, and with soft oppression seiz'd
My drowsed sense, untroubled, though I thought
I then was passing to my former state
Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve:
When suddenly stood at my head a dream,
Whose inward apparition gently mov'd
My fancy to believe I yet had being,
And liv'd: one came, methought, of shape divine,