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“Round this opacous earth, this punctual spot,

“ One day and night; in all their vast survey 25 “ Useless besides : reas'ning I oft admire

How nature, wise and frugal, could commit
“Such disproportions; with superfluous hand
So many nobler bodies to create,

“ Greater so manifold, to this one use,
30 “ For aught appears; and on their orbs impose

“ Such restless revolution, day by day
“Repeated; while the sedentary earth,
“ That better might with far less compass move,

“ Serv'd by more noble than herself, attains
35 “Her end without least motion, and receives,

As tribute, such a sumless journey brought
“ Of incorporeal speed,-her warmth and light;
Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails."

So spake our sire, and by his count'nance seem'd 40 Ent'ring on studious thoughts abstruse: which Eve

Perceiving, where she sat retir'd in sight,
With lowliness majestic from her seat,
And grace, that won who saw to wish her stay,

Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, 45 To visit how they prosper'd, bud, and bloom,

Her nursery; they at her coming sprung,
And, touch'd by her fair tendance, gladlier grew.
Yet went she not as not with such discourse

Delighted, or not capable her ear
50 Of what was high: such pleasure she reserv’d,

Adam relating, she sole auditress;
Her husband the relater she preferr'd
Before the angel; and of him to ask

Chose rather: he, she knew, would intermix 55 Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute

With conjugal caresses; from his lip
Not words alone pleas'd her. ---O! when meet now
Such pairs, in love and mutual honour join'd ?---

With goddess-like demeanour forth she went, 60 Not unattended; for on her, as queen,

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A pomp of winning graces waited still,
And from about her shot darts of desire
Into all eyes to wish her still in sight.

And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt propos'd,
65 Benevolent, and facile, thus replied:

To ask or search, I blame thee not; for heaven “ Is as the book of God before thee set, “Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn

“ His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years : 70 “ This to attain, whether heaven move, or earth,

"Imports not, if thou reckon right : the rest,

From man, or angel, the great Architect “ Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge

“ His secrets to be scann'd by them who ought
75 “Rather admire; or, if they list to try

“Conjecture, he his fabric of the heavens
“ Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
“ His laughter at their quaint opinions wide

“Hereafter; when they come to model heaven
80 “And calculate the stars, how they will wield

“ The mighty frame—how build, unbuild, contrive,
“ To save appearances—how gird the sphere
“With centric, and eccentric, scribbled o'er,

Cycle, and epicycle, orb in orb.
85 “ Already by thy reas'ning this I guess,

“ Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest
“ That bodies bright and greater should not serve
“ The less not bright, nor heaven such journeys run,

“ Earth sitting still, when she alone receives
90 “ The benefit. Consider first, that great,

“Or bright, infers not excellence: the earth
“ Though, in comparison of heaven, so small,
“Nor glist'ring, may of solid good contain

“More plenty than the sun that barren shines;
95 “ Whose virtue, on itself, works no effect,

“But in the fruitful earth : there first receiv'd,
“ His beams, unactive else, their vigour find.
“ Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries

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“Officious; but to thee, earth's habitant.
100 " And for the heaven's wide circuit, let it speak

“The Maker's high magnificence, who built
“ So spacious, and his line stretch'd out so far,
“ That man may know he dwells not in his own:

An edifice too large for him to fill,
105 “ Lodg’d in a small partition; and the rest

“ Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known.
“ The swiftness of those circles attribute,
“ Though numberless, to his omnipotence,

That to corporeal substances could add 110 Speed almost spiritual: me thou think'st not slow,

“Who since the morning-hour set out from heaven,
“ Where God resides, and ere mid-day arriv'd
“ In Eden; distance inexpressible

“By numbers that have name! But this I urge, 115 Admitting motion in the heavens, to show

“ Invalid that which thee to doubt it mov'd:
“ Not that I so affirm, though so it seem
“ To thee who hast thy dwelling here on earth.

“ God, to remove his ways from human sense, 120 “ Plac'd heaven from earth so far, that earthly sight,

“ If it presume, might err in things too high,
And no advantage gain. What if the sun
“ Be centre to the world; and other stars,

“ By his attractive virtue and their own
125 “Incited, dance about him various rounds?

“ Their wand'ring course now high, now low, then hid,

Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,
In six thou seest; and what if sev’nth to these
“ The planet earth, so steadfast though she seem,

Insensibly three diff'rent motions move?
“ Which else to sev'ral spheres thou must ascribe,
“ Mov'd contrary with thwart obliquities;
“ Or save the sun his labour, and that swift
“ Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb suppos’d,
“ Invisible else above all stars, the wheel
“Of day and night: which needs not thy belief,



If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day
“ Travelling east; and, with her part averse

From the sun's beam, meet night, her other part 140 “Still luminous by his ray. What if that light,

“Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air, “ To the terrestrial moon be as a star,

Enlightning her by day, as she by night

This earth, reciprocal if land be there,
145 “ Fields and inhabitants ? Her spots thou seest

As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce
“ Fruits in her soften'd soil, for some to eat
“ Allotted there: and other suns perhaps,

“ With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry, 150 “ Communicating male and female light;

“ Which two great sexes animate the world,
“ Stor’d in each orb perhaps with some that live :
“ For such vast room in nature unpossess'd

“ By living soul, desert, and desolate,
155 “ Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute

“ Each orb a glimpse of light, convey'd so far
Down to this habitable, which returns
“Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.

“ But whether thus these things, or whether not160 “ Whether the sun, predominant in heaven,

“ Rise on the earth, or earth rise on the sun-
“ He from the East his flaming road begin,
" Or she from West her silent course advance

“ With inoffensive pace, that spinning sleeps 165 “ On her soft axle, while she paces even,

And bears thee soft with the smooth air along ;
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid :
“ Leave them to God above; him serve and fear ;

Of other creatures, as him pleases best, 170

“Wherever plac'd, let him dispose; joy thou
“ In what he gives to thee-this Paradise,
“ And thy fair Eve: heaven is for thee too high,
“To know what passes there; be lowly wise ;
“ Think only what concerns thee, and thy being ;

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175 “Dream not of other worlds ; what creatures there

Live, in what state, condition, or degree;
“ Contented that thus far hath been reveal'd
“Not of earth only, but of highest heaven.”

To whom thus Adam, clear'd of doubt, replied: 180 “How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure

Intelligence of heaven, angel serene !
* And, freed from intricacies, taught to live
“ The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts

To interrupt the sweet of life, from which 185

“ God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares,
“ And not molest us; unless we ourselves
“ Seek them with wand'ring thoughts, and notions vain.
“But apt the mind, or fancy, is to rove

“ Uncheck’d, and of her roving is no end;
190 “ Till, warn'd, or by experience taught, she learn,

“ That not to know at large of things remote
“From use, obscure and subtle, but to know
“ That which before us lies in daily life,

“Is the prime wisdom: what is more, is fume, 195 “ Or emptiness, or fond impertinence;

“ And renders us, in things that most concern,
“Unpractis'd, unprepar'd, and still to seek.
“ Therefore from this high pitch let us descend

A lower flight, and speak of things at hand 200 “ Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise

“Of something not unseasonable to ask,
By suffrance, and thy wonted favour, deign'd.
“ Thee I have heard relating what was done

remembrance: now, hear me relate
My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard ;
And day is not yet spent : till then thou seest
“ How subtly to detain thee I devise ;

Inviting thee to hear while I relate;

“ Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply:
210 “For, while I sit with thee, I seem in heaven;

“ And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
“ Than fruits of palm-tree, pleasantest to thirst

- Ere my


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