Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
So charming left his voice, that he awhile
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixt to hear;
Then as new wak'd thus gratefully reply'd :

What thanks sufficient, or what recompense
Equal have I to render thee, divine
Historian, who thus largely hast allay'd
The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsaf'd
This friendly condescension to relate
Things else by me unsearchable, now heard
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
With glory attributed to the high
Creator ? something yet of doubt remains,
Which only thy solution can resolve.
When I behold this goodly frame, this world
Of heav'n and earth consisting, and compute
Their magnitudes, this earth, a spot, a grain,
An atom, with the firmament compar'd
And all her number'd stars, that seem to roll
Spaces incomprehensible (for such
Their distance argues and their swift return
Diurnal,) merely to officiate light
Round this opacious earth, this punctual spot, *

*"This punctual spot :' no bigger than a point.

[ocr errors]

God and his works, Creator him they sung,
Both when first evening was, and when first morn.

Again, God said, let there be firmament
Amid the waters, and let it divide
The waters from the waters : and God made
The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffus'd
In circuit to the uttermost convex
Of this great round : partition firm and sure,
The waters underneath from those above
Dividing: for as earth, so he the world
Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide
Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule
of Chaos far remov'd, lest fierce extremes
Contiguous might distemper the whole frame :
And heav'n he nam'd the firmament: so even
And morning chorus sung the second day.

The earth was form’d, but in the womb as yet
Of waters, embryon immature involvid,
Appear'd not: over all the face of earth
Main ocean flow'd, not idle, but with warm
Prolific humour softning all her globe,
Fermented the great mother to conceive,
Satiate with genial moisture, when God said,
Be gather'd now ye waters under heav'n
Into one place, and let dry land appear.
Immediately the mountains huge appear
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave
Into the clouds, their tops ascend the sky:
So high as heav'd the tumid hills, so low
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep,
Capacious bed of waters: thither they
Hasted with grad precipitance, uprollid,
As drops on dust conglobing from the dry;
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,
For haste: such flight the great command impress'd
On the swift floods : as armies at the call
Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard)
Troop to their standard, so the wat'ry throng,

[ocr errors]

Wave rolling after wave, where way they found,
If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain,
Soft-ebbing ; nor withstood them rock or hill,
But they, or under ground, or circuit wide
With serpent error wand'ring, found their way,
And on the washy ooze deep channels wore ;
Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry,
All but within those banks, where rivers now
Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train.
The dry land, earth, and the great receptacle
Of congregated waters he callid seas :
And saw that it was good, and said, Let th' earth
Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed,
And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind,
Whose seed is in herself upon the earth.
He scarce had said, when the bare earth, till then
Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorn'd,
Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad
Her universal face with pleasant green,
Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flow'r'd
Opening their various colours, and made gay
Her bosom, smelling sweet: and these scarce blown,
Forth flourish'd thick the clust'ring vine, forth crept
The smelling gourd, up stood the corny reed
Embattled in her field; and th' humble shrub,
And bush with frizzled hair implicit ; last
Rose as in dance the stately trees, and spread
Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemm'd
Their blossoms: with high woods the hills were

With tufts the valley and each fountain side,
With borders long the rivers : that earth now
Seem'd like to heav'n, a seat where gods might dwell,
Or wander with delight, and love to haunt
Her sacred shades : though God had yet not rain'd
Upon the earth, and man to till the ground
None was, but from the earth a dewy mist
Went up and water'd all the ground, and each
Plant of the field, which ere it was in th' earthi

God made, and every herb, before it grew
On the green stem ; God saw that it was good :
So ev'n and morn recorded the third day.

Again the Almighty spake, Let there be lights
High in th' expanse of heaven to divide
The day from night; and let them be for signs,
For seasons, and for days, and circling years,
And let them be for lights as I ordain
Their office in the firmament of heav'n
To give light on the earth ; and it was so.
And God made two great lights, great for their use
To man, the greater to have rule by day,
The less by night altern: and made the stars,
And set them in the firmament of heav'n
T' illuminate the earth, and rule the day
In their vicissitude, and rule the night,
And light from darkness to divide. God saw,
Surveying his great work, that it was good:
For of celestial bodies, first the sun
A mighty sphere he fram'd, unlightsome first,
Though of ethereal mould: then form'd the moon
Globose, and every magnitude of stars,
And sow'd with stars the heav'n thick as a field;
Of light by far the greater part he took,
Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and plac'd
In the sun's orb, made porous to receive
And drink the liquid light, firm to retain
Her gather'd beams, great palace now of light.
Hither as to their fountain other stars
Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,
And hence the morning planet gilds her horns ;
By tincture or reflection they augment
Their small peculiar, though from human sight
So far remote, with diminution seen.
First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,
Regent of day, and all th' horizon round
Invested with bright rays, jocund to run
His longitude through heav'n's high road; the grey
Dawn and the Pleiades before him danc'd,

Shedding sweet influence ; less bright the moon,
But opposite in level'd west was set
His mirror, with full face borrowing her light
From him, for other light she needed none
In that aspect, and still that distance keeps
Till night, then in the east her turn she shines,
Revolv'd on heav'n's great axle, and her reign
With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,
With thousand thousands stars, that then appear'd
Spangling the hemisphere : then first adorn'd

their bright luminaries that set and rose, Glad evening and glad morn crown'd the fourth day.

And God said, Let the waters generate Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul: And let fowl fly above the earth, with wings Display'd on th' open firmament of heav'n. And God created the great whales, and each Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously The waters generated by their kinds, And every bird of wing after his kind; And saw that it was good, and bless'd them saying, Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas And lakes and running streams the waters fill : And let the fowl be multiply'd on th' earth. Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals Of fish that with their fins and shining scales Glide under the green wave, in sculls that oft Bank the mid sea : part single or with mate Graze the sea weed their pasture, and through groves Of coral stray, or sporting with quick glance Show to the sun their wav'd coats dropt with gold Or in their pearly shells at ease, attend Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food In jointed armour watch: on smooth the seal, And bended dolphins play: part huge of bulk Wallowing unwieldy, enormous' in their gait Tempest the ocean : there leviathan, Hugest of living creatures, on the deep

« AnteriorContinuar »