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What wonder then if fields and regions here
Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
Th' arch-chemic 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 só ráre ?
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 sunshine, as when his beams at noon
Culminate from th' equator, as they now
Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
Shadow from body opaque can fall; and th' 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 employd
He seem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep.
Glad 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 wo,
But first he casts to change his proper shape,
Which else might work him danger or delay;
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 colourd 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
Th' arch-angel Uriel, one of the seven
Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, .
Stand ready at command, and ere his eyes
That run through all the heav'n's, or down to th' earth
Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
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 heav'n, to bring, -
Where all his sons thy embassy attend ;
And here art 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 this work so wondrous he ordain'd,
Hath brought me from the choirs of cherubim
Alone thus wand'ring. Brightest seraph, tell
In which of all these shining orbs hath man
His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell;
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 driv'n 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 heav'n 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 heav'n;
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 i
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 heav'n :
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 deep?
I saw when at his word the formless mass,
This world's material mould, came to a heap:
Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar
Stood rul'd, stood vast infinitude confin'd
Till at his second bidding darkness filed,
Light shone, and order from disorder sprung:
Swift to their several quarters hasted then
The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire ;
And this ethereal quintessence of heav'n
Flew upward, spirited with various forms,
'That rollid orbicular, and turn'd to stars
Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move ;
Each had his place appointed, each his course;
The rest in circuit walls this universe.
Look downward on that globe, whose hither side

With light from hence, though but reflected, shines.
That place is earth, the seat of man, that light
His day, which else as th' other hemisphere
Night would invade: but there the neighb’ring moon
(So call that opposite fair star) her aid
Timely interposes, and her monthly round
Still ending, still renewing, through mid heav'n,
With borrow'd light her countenance triform
Hence fills and empties to enlighten th' earth,
And in her pale dominion checks the night.
That spot to which I point, is Paradise,
Adam's abode, those lofty shades his bower.
Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.

Thus said, he turn'd; and Satan bowing low, .
As to superior spirits is wont in heav'n,
Where honour due and reverence none neglects,
Took leave, and tow'rd the coast of earth beneath,
Down from th' ecliptic, sped with hop'd success,
Throws his steep flight in many an airy wheel,
Nor stay'd till on Niphates top he lights.

END OF BOOK THIRD.

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