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Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains,
Lowly they bow'd adoring, and began
Their orisons, each morning duly paid
In various style; for neither various style
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounc'd or sung
Unmeditated, such prompt eloquence
Flow'd from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,
More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sit'st above these heavens,
On us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and pow'r divine.
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heaven,
On earth join all ye creatures to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end. "
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater, sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thot
Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st,
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies,
And ye five other wand'ring fires that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound .
His praise, who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things ; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise,
Whether to deck with clouds th' uncolour'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, .
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow, .
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines;
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living souls ; ye birds,
That singing up to heaven gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. . . .
Hail universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gather'd ought of evil, or conceal'd,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.
So pray'd they innocent, and to their thoughts
Firm peace recover'd soon, and wonted calm.
On to their morning's rural work they haste
Among sweet dews and flow'rs; where any row
Of fruit-trees over-woody reach'd too far
Their pamper'd boughs, and needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces : or they led the vine
To wed her elm; she 'spous'd about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings
Her dow'r th' adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employ'd beheld.
With pity heav'n's high King, and to him callid .
Raphael, the sociable spirit, that deign'd
To travel with Tobias, and secur'd .
His marriage with the sev'ntimes-wedded maid.
Raphael, said he, thou hear'st what stir on earth
Satan from hell 'scap'd through the darksome gulf
Hath rais'd in Paradise, and how disturb'd
This night the human pair, how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.
Go therefore, half this day, as friend with friend,
Converse with Adam, in what bow'r or shade.
Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retir'd
To respite his day-labour with repast,
Or with repose ; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state,
Happiness in his pow'r lest free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve not too secure : tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fall’n himself from heav'n, is plotting now..
The fall of others from like state of bliss ;
By violence ? no, for that shall be withstood,
But by deceit and lies; this let him know,
Lest wilfully transgressing he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonish'd, unforewarn’d.
So spake th' eternal Father, and fulfillid : All justice ; nor delay'd the winged saint ! After his charge receiv'd; but from among Thousand celestial ardours, where he stood Veild with his gorgeous wings, up springing light Flew through the midst of heav'n; th'angelic choirs On each hand parting, to his speed gave way Through all th’ empyreal road ; till at the gaten Of heav'n arriv'd, the gate self-open'd wide On golden hinges turning, as by work Divine the sov’reign architect had fram'd. From hence, no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight, Star interpos'd, however small he sees,
Not unconform to other shining globes,
Earth and the gard'n of God, with cedars crown'd
Above all hills. As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assurd, observes
Imagin'd lands and regions in the moon :
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades,
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot. Down thither, prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sail'd between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air ; till within soar
Of tow'ring eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phenix, gaz'd by all, as that sole bird,
When to enshrine his reliques in the sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on th’eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns
A seraph wing'd; six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine ; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipt in heav'n; the third his feet
Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail,
Sky-tinctur'd grain. Like Maja's son he stood, .
And shook his plumes, that heav'nly fragrance fill'd
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high in honour rise ;
For on some message high they guess'd him bound:
Their glittering tents he pass'd, and now is come
Jato the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flow'ring odours, cassia, nard, and balm ; :
A wilderness of sweets: for nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will
Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet, a
Wild above rule or art; enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come,
Adam discern'd, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bow'r, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam
And Eve within, due at her hour prepar'd
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of nect'rous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape: to whom thus Adam call’d:
Haste hither Eve, and worth thy sight behold Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape Comes this way moving ; seems another morn Ris'n on mid-noon; some great behest from heav'n To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe This day to be our guest. But go with speed, And what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour Abundance, fit to honour and receive Our heav'nly stranger: well we may afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow From large bestow'd, where nature multiplies Her fertile growth, and by disburd’ning grows More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve: Adam, earth's hallow'd mould Of God inspir'd, small store will serve, where store, All seasons ripe for use, hangs on the stalk; Save what by frugal storing firmness gains To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes: But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choic: To entertain our angel guest, as he Beholding shall confess, that here on earth God hath dispens'd his bounties as in heav'n.
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent What choice to choose for delicacy best, What order, so contriv'd as not to mix