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And waking cried, "This is the gate of heaven.'
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to heaven sometimes
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon

Who after came from earth, sailing arriv'd,
Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
The Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss:
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,

A passage down to the earth, a passage wide,
Wider by far than that of after times

Over mount Sion, and, though that were large,
Over the Promis'd Land, to God so dear;
By which, to visit oft those happy tribes, 2012
On high behests his angels to and from so
Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood, Dep
To Beërsaba, where the Holy Land ~

Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore s
So wide the opening seem'd, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair,
That scal'd by steps of gold to heaven-gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a scout,
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his eye discovers unaware
The goodly prospect of some foreign land
First seen, or some renown'd metropolis
With glistering spires and pinnacles adorn'd,
Which now the rising sun gilds with his beans I
Such wonder seiz'd, though after heaven seen,
The spirit malign, but much more envy seiz'd,


At sight of all this world beheld so fair.
Round he surveys, (and well might, where he stood
So high above the circling canopy

Of night's extended shade,) from eastern point
Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantic seas,

Beyond the horizon: then from pole to pole
He views in breadth, and without longer pause
Downright into the world's first region throws
His flight precipitant, and winds with ease
Through the pure marble air his oblique way
Amongst innumerable stars, that shone
Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds
Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles,
Like those Hesperian gardens fam'd of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales,
Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there
He stay'd not to inquire: above them all
The golden sun, in splendour likest heaven,
Allur'd his eye; thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament, (but up or down,
By centre or eccentric, hard to tell,
Or longitude,) where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
That from his lordly eye kept distance due,
Dispenses light from far: they, as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute
Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering

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Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetration, though unseen,
Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep;
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps ✅
Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb

Through his glaz'd optic tube yet never saw.
The place he found beyond expression bright,

Compar'd with aught on earth, metal or stone;
Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd

With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire;
If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear;
If stone, carbuncle most, or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,
That stone, or like to that, which here below
Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
In vain, though by their powerful art they bind
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound

In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form.
What wonder then if fields and regions here
Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
The arch-chymic sun, so far from us remote,
Produces, with terrestrial humour mix'd,
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour glorious, and effect so rare ?
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands;
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,
But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon
Culminate from the equator, as they now
Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
Shadow from body opaque can fall; and the air,
No where so clear, sharpen'd his visual ray
To objects distant far, whereby he soon
Saw within ken, a glorious angel stand,
The same whom John saw also in the sun :
His back was turn'd, but not his brightness hid;
Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar

Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings
Lay waving round; on some great charge employ's
He seem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep,
Giad was the spirit impure, as now in hope

To find who might direct his wandering flight
To Paradise, the happy seat of man,
His journey's end, and our beginning woe.
But first he casts to change his proper shape,
Which else might work him danger or delay i
And now a stripling cherub he appears,
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
Youth smil'd celestial, and to every limb
Suitable grace diffus'd, so well he feign'd:
Under a coronet his flowing hair

In curls on either cheek play'd; wings he wore,
Of many a colour'd plume, sprinkled with gold:
His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
Before his decent steps a silver wand.

He drew not nigh unheard; the angel bright,
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn'd,
Admonish'd by his ear, and straight was known
The Archangel Uriel, one of the seven
Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne,
Stand ready at command, and are his eyes {earth
That run through all the heavens, or down to the
Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,po.
O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts:

"Uriel, for thou of those seven spirits that stand
In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright,
The first art wont his great authentic will
Interpreter through highest heaven to bring,
Where all his sons thy embassy attend;
And here are likeliest by supreme decree
Like honour to obtain, and as his eye
To visit oft this new creation round ;
Unspeakable desire to see, and know,

All these his wondrous works, but chiefly man, His chief delight and favour, him for whom All these his works so wondrous he ordain'd, Hath brought me from the quires of cherubim Alone thus wandering. Brightest seraph, tell In which of all these shining orbs hath mas His fixed seat, or fixed seat ha:ła none,

But all these shining orbs his choice to dweil ;
That I may find him, and with secret gaze,
Or open admiration, him behold,

On whom the great Creator hath bestow'd
Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces pour'd
That both in him and all things, as is meet,
The universal Maker we may praise,
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes
To deepest hell, and, to repair that loss,
Created this new happy race of men
To serve him better: wise are all his ways."
So spake the false dissembler unperceiv'd ;
For neither man nor angel can discern
Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
Invisible, except to God alone,

By his permissive will, through heaven and earth
And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity

Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill seems: which now for once beguil'd
Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held
The sharpest sighted spirit of all in heaven;
Who to the fraudulent impostor foul,
In his uprightness, answer thus return'd :

"Fair angel, thy desire, which tends to know
The works of God, thereby to glorify
The great Work-master, leads to no excess
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:
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


That brought them forth, but hid their causes I saw when at his word the formless mass,

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