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By what is pass'd, to thee I have reveal'd
What might have else to human race been hid;
The discord which befel, and war in Heaven
Among the angelic Powers, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring, who rebell’d
With Satan; he who envies now thy state,
Who now is plotting how he may seduce
Thee also from obedience, that, with him
Bereaved of happiness, thou mayst partake
His punishment, eternal misery ;
Which would be all his solace and revenge,
As a despite done against the Host High,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations, warn
Thy weaker: let it profit thee to have heard,
By terrible example, the reward
Of disobedience ; firm they might have stood,
Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress





Laphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this world was first created; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of Heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world, and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory, and attendance of Angels, to perform the work of Creation in six days: the Angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascensio into Heaven



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 Pegaséan wing!
The meaning, not the name, I call : for thou
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Oi old Olympus dwell'st ; but heavenly born,
Before the hills appear’d or fountain flow'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 I fall,
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn.
Half yet remains 'insung, but narrower bouna
Within the visible diurnal sphere ;
Standing on earth, not wrapp'd above the pole,


More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days, 25
On evil days though fallen, 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 his revellers, the race
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 35
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 Raphaël, 40 The affable Archangel, had forewarn'd Adam, by dire example, to beware Apostacy, by what befel in Heaven To those apostates : lest the like befal In Paradise to Adam or his race,

45 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, 50 The story heard attentive, and was fill'd With admiration and deep muse, to hear Of things so high and strange; things, to their thought So unimaginable, as hate in Heaven, And war so near the peace of God in bliss, 55 With such confusion : but the evil, soon Driven back, redounded as a flood on those From whom it sprang; impossible to mix With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeal'd The doubts that in his heart arose : and now 60 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 drouth
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,

70 Far differing from this world, thou hast reveald. Divine interpreter! by favour sent Down from the empyréan, 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

76 Immortal thanks, and his admonishment Receive, with solemn purpose to observe Immutably his sov’reign will, the end Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsafed 80 Gently, for our instruction, to impart Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'rl Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem’d, Deign to descend now lower, and relate What may no less perhaps avail us known,

85 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 are wide interfused Embracing round 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 mayst unfold What we, not to explore the secrets ask

95 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, 100
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 105
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 : 110
This also thy request, with caution ask’d,
Obtain; though to recount alınighty works
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend ?
Yet what thou canst attain, which best inay serve 115
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 120
To ask ; nor let thine own inventions 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. 125
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.

130 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


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