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Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name
If rightly thou art call’d, whose voice divine
Following, above the 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 Aow'd,
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play,
In presence of the almighty Father, pleased
With thy celestial song. Up led by thee,
Into the Heaven of Heavens, I have presumed,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy tempering: 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 í 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, unchanged
To hoarse or mute, though fall’n on evil days,
On evil days though fall’n, and evil tongues ;
In darkness, and with dangers compass'd 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 the revellers, the race
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the muse defend










Her son.

So fail not thou, who thee implores ;
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.

Say goddess, what ensued when Raphael,
The affable arch-angel, had forewart, a
Adam, by dire example, to beware
Apostacy, by what befel in Heaven
To those apostates, lest the like befall
In Paradise to Adam or his race,
Charged 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 wandering. He, with his consorted Eve,
The story heard attentive, and was fillid
With admiration and deep muse, to hear
Of things so high & strange, things to their though
So unimaginable, as hate in Heaven,
And war so near the peace of God in bliss,
With such confusion : but the evil, soon
Driven 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 drought
Yet scarce allay'd, still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard, new thirst excites,
Proceeded thus to ask his heavenly guest.

“Great things, and full of wonder in our ears,
Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal'd,
Divine interpreter, by favour sent,
Down from the empyrean, to forewarn
Us timely, of what might else have been our loss,
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach
For which, to the Infinitely Good, we owe
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment
Receive, with solemn purpose to observe
Immutably his sovereign will, the end
Of what we are.

But since thou hast vouchsafed
Gently for our instruction, to impart
Things above earthly thought, and yet concern'd,
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem'd,
Deign to descend now lower, and relate










What may no less perhaps avail us known;
How first began this Heaven, which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd,
Innumerable, and this which yields or fills
All space, the ambient air, wide interfused,
Embracing sound this florid earth : what cause
Moved the Creator, in his holy rest,
Through all eternity so late to build
In Chaos, and the work begun, how soon
Absolved; if unforbid thou may'st unfold,
What we, not to explore the secrets, ask
Of his eternal empire, but the more
To magnify his works, the more we know.
And the great light of day yet wants to run
Much of his race, though steep; suspense in Heaven,
Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears,
And longer will delay to hear thee tell
His generation, and the rising birth
Of nature from the unapparent deep :
Or if the star of evening, and the moon,
Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring
Silence, and sleep, listening to thee, will watch;
Or we can bid his absence, till thy song
End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.”

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought:
And thus the Godlike angel answer'd, mild.

This also, thy request with caution ask'd,
Obtain ; though, to recount Almighty works,
What words or tongue of seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend ?
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
Thy hearing ; such commission from above
I have received, to answer thy desire
Of knowledge, within bounds; beyond, abstain
To ask, nor let thine own invention hope
Things not reveal'd, which the invisible King,
Only Omniscient, hath suppress'd in night,
To none communicable, in Earth or Heaven:
Enough is left besides, to search and know.
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temperance over appetite, to know
In measure, what the mind may well contain ;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind,

“Know then, that after Lucifer from Heaven,






So call him, brighter once amidst the host
Of angels, than that star the stars among,
Fell with his flaming legions, through the deep,
Into his place, and the great Son return'd

Victorious with his saints; the omnipotent
Eternal Father from his throne beheld
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.

"• At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who though All like himself rebellious, by whose aid

140 This inaccessible high strength, the seat Of Deity supreme, us dispossessid, He trusted to have seized ; and into fraud Drew many, whom their place knows here no more: Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,

145 Their station ; Heaven, yet populous, retains Number sufficient to possess her realms, Though wide, and this high temple to frequent, With ministeries due, and solemn rites. But lest his heart exalt him, in the harm

150 Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven, My damage fondly deem'd, I can repair That detriment, if such it be, to lose Self-lost; and in a moment will create Another world, out of one man a race

155 Of men innumerable, there to dwell, Not here, till, by degrees of merit raised, They open to themselves at length the way Up hither, under long obedience tried ; And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth, One kingdom, joy and union without end. Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye powers of Heaven, And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee This I perform ; speak thou, and be it done : My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee

165 I send along; ride forth and bid the deep Within appointed bounds, be Heaven and Earth ; Boundless the deep, because I am who fill Infinitude, nor vacuous the space. Though I uncircumscribed myself retire,

170 And put not forth my goodness, which is free To act or not, necessity and chance Approach not me, and what I will is fate.'

“ So spake the Almighty, and to what he spake, His word, the filial Godhead, gave effect.

175 Immediate are the acts of God, more swift Than time or motion, but, to human ears, Cannot without process of speech be told,






So told, as earthly notion can receive.
Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven,
When such was heard declared the Almighty's will;
Glory they sung to the Most High, good will
To future men, and in their dwellings peace :
Glory to him, whose just avenging ire
Had duiven out the ungodly from his sight,
And the habitations of the just; to him
Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordain'd
Good out of evil to create, instead
Of spirits malign, a better race to bring
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse
His good to worlds and ages infinite.
“ So

sang the hierarchies : meanwhile, the Son
On his great expedition now appear'd,
Girt with

omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of majesty divine; sapience and love
Immense, and all his father in him shone.
About his chariot numberless were pour’d,
Cherub and seraph, potentates and thrones,
And virtues, winged spirits, and chariots wing'd
From th' armoury of God; where stand of old
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged,
Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand,
Celestial equipage; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them spirit lived,
Attendant on their Lord : Heaven open'd wide
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound,
On golden hinges moving, to let forth
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word
And Spirit coming, to create new worlds.
On heavenly ground they stood, & from the shore
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss,
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn’d by furious winds,
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heaven's highth, and with the centre mix the pole

“«Silence, ye troubled waves ! & thou deep, peace.
Said then the omnific Word, your discord end.
Nor stay'd, but on the wings of cherubim
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
Far into Chaos, and the world unborn ;
For Chaos heard his voice : him all his train
Follow'd in bright procession, to behold
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
Then stay'd the fervid wheels, & in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepared






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