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Long after, now unpeople, and untrod.
All this dark globe the fiend found as be pass'd,
And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam
Of dawning light turn'd thither-ward in haste 500
His travell'd steps : far distant be descries,
Ascending by degrees magnificent
Up to the wall of Heav'n, a structure high;
At top whereof, but far more rich, appear'd 505
The work as of a kingly palace gate,
With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Embellish'd ; thick with sparkling orient gems
The portal shone, inimitable on earth
By model. or by shading pencil drawn.
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw 510
Angels ascending and descending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
To Padan-Aram, in the field of' Luz
Dreaming by night under the open sky,
And waking cry'd, " This is the gate of Heaven."

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Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to Heav'n sometimes
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth, sailing arriv'd 520
Wasted by angels, or few o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
The fiend by easy' ascent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss:

525 Direct against which open'd from beneath, Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise, A passage down to th’ Earth, a passage wide, Wider by far than that of after'-times Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, 530 Over the promis: d land to God so dear; By which, to visit oft those happy tribes, On high behests his angels to and fro Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood, 535

To Beërsaba, where the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt and th' Arabian shore;
So wide the opening seem'd, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair, 540
That scald by steps of gold to Heaven gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a scout,
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
All night, at last, by break of cheerful lawn, 545
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his eye discovers unaware
The goodly prospect of some foreign land
First seen, or some renown'd metropolis
With glist’ring spires and pinnacles adornd, 550
Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams:
Such wonder seiz'd, though after Heaven seen,
The spi'rit malign, but much more envy seiz'd,
At sight of all this world beheld so fair,
Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood 555
So high above the circling canopy
Of night's extended shade) from eastern point
Of Libra to the fleccy star that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantic seas
Beyond th' horizon; then from pole to pole 560
He views in breadth, and without longer pause
Downright into the world's first region throws
His flight precipitant, and winds with ease,
Through the pure marble air, his oblique way
Amongst innumerable stars, that shone

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Stars distant, but nigh band si em’d other worlds;
Or other worlds they seeni’d, or happy isles,
Like those Hesperian gardens fam'd of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales,
Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there 570
He stay'd not to enquire: above them all
The golden sun, in splendour likest Heaven,
Aliurd his eye; thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament (but up or down,

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By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,

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Or longitude), where the great luminary,
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far; they, as they move
Their starry dance, in numbers that compute

580 Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering

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Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetration, though unseen,

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Shoots invisible virtue ev'n to the deep;
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps
Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb,
Through his glaz’d optic tube, yet never saw.

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The place he found beyond expression bright,
Compard with ought on earth, metal or stone;
Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire;
If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear; 595
If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaž, to the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,
That stone, or like to that which here below 600
Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
In rain, though by their pow'rful art they bind
Volatile hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form. 605
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 so rare?
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met

610

Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands;
For sigbt no obstacle found here, nor shade, 615
But all sun-shine, 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
Nowhere so clear, sharpen'd his visual ray 620
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

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Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings
Lay waving round; on some great charge employ'd
He seem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep.
Glad was the spi'rit impure, as now in hope 630
To find who might direct his wandering flight
To paradise, the happy seat of man,
His journey's end, and our beginning woe.
But first he casts to change his proper shape,
Which else might work him danger or delay: 635
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 be feigu'd :
Under a coronet his flowing hair

640 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, 645 Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn'd, Admonish'd by his ear, and straight was known Th' arcb.angel Uriel, one of the seven Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, Stand ready at cominand, and are his eyes 650 That run through all the Heav'ns, or down to th' Earth

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Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
O'er sea and land: bim Satan thus accosts.

« Uriel, for thou of those seven spi'rits that stand
In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 655
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

600 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, 665 Hath brought me from the quires 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 pone, But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; 690 That I may find him, and with secret gaze Or open admiration lim 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,

675 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 bim better: wise are all his ways." 680

So spake the false dissembler unperceivd; 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 086 At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill Where no ill seems: which now for once beguild Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held 690

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