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“ Had in remembrance always with delight ! 705 “ But what created mind can comprehend
“ Their number; or the wisdom infinite
“ The world's material mould, came to a heap: 710 “ Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar
“ Stood ruld; stood vast infinitude confin'd:
Light shone, and order from disorder sprang!
“ Swift to their several quarters hasted then
" And this ethereal quintessence of heaven
“Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; 720 “Each had his place appointed, each his course :
“ The rest in circuit walls this universe.
“That place is earth, the seat of man; that light 725 “ His day, which else, as the other hemisphere,
“Night would invade; but there the neighbouring moon
(So call that opposite fair star) her aid
Timely interposes; and her monthly round
“ Still ending, still renewing, through mid heaven 730 “With borrow'd light her countenance triform
“Hence fills, and empties, to enlighten the earth;
“Adam's abode; those lofty shades, his bower.
Thus said, he turn'd; and Satan, bowing low,
Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath, 740 Down from the ecliptic, sped with hop'd success,
Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel,
Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now
attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God and man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair ; but at length confirms himself in evil, journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described ; overleaps the bounds : sits in the shape of a cormorant on the tree of life, as highest in the garden, to look about him. The garden described ; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall ; overhears their discourse, thence gathers that the tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death ; and thereon intends to found his temptation, by seducing them to transgress; then leaves them awhile to know further of their state by some other means. Meanwhile Uriel descending on a sun-beam warns Gabriel, who had in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil spirit had escaped the deep, and passed at noon by his sphere in the shape of a good angel down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest: their bower described ; their evening worship. Gabriel, drawing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping; there they find him at the ear of Eve tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom questioned, he scornfully answers; prepares resistance; but, hindered by a sign from heaven, flies out of Paradise.
O, FOR that warning voice! which he who saw
Came furious down to be reveng'd on men;
While time was, our first parents had been warn'd
Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down, 10 The tempter, ere the accuser, of mankind,
To wreak on innocent frail man his loss
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast,
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir 20 The hell within him ; for within him hell
He brings, and round about him; nor from hel
By change of place: now conscience wakes despair,
That slumber'd—wakes the bitter memory
Worse: of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards heaven, and the full-blazing sun 30 Which now sat high in his meridian tower: Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began.
“O thou, that, with surpassing glory crown'd, “Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god
“Of this new world! at whose sight all the stars 35 “Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call,
“But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
“I fell—how glorious once above thy sphere, 40 “ Till pride, and worse ambition threw me down, “Warring in heaven against heaven's matchless King!
Ah, wherefore ! He deserv'd no such return
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise, “ The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks, “How due! Yet all his good prov'd ill in me,
“And wrought but malice : lifted up so high 50 “I 'sdain'd subjection, and thought one step higher
“ Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
“Forgetful what from him I still receiv'd ; 55 “ And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Then happy! no unbounded hope had rais'd