Abbildungen der Seite

As resting on that day from all his work,
But not in silence holy kept: the harp
Had work and rested not; the solemn pipe,
And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop,
All sounds on fret by string or golden wire,
Temper'd soft tunings, intermix'd with voice
Choral or unison of incense clouds,
Fuming from golden censers, hid the mount.
Creation and the six days' acts they sung
'Great are thy works, Jehovah ! infinite
Thy power! what thought can measure thee, or

Relate thee? Greater now in thy return

Than from the giant angels: thee that day
Thy thunders magnified; but to create
Is greater than created to destroy.

Who can impair thee, Mighty King, or bound
Thy empire? easily the proud attempt
Of spirits apestate, and their counsels vain,
Thou hast repell'd: while impiously they thought
Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw
The number of thy worshippers.

Who seeks
To lessen thee, against his purpose serves

To manifest the more thy might his evil

Thou usest, and from thence createst more good.
Witness this new-made world, another heaven
From heaven-gate not far, founded in view
On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea;
Of amplitude almost immense, with stars
Numerous, and every star perhaps a world
Of destin'd habitation; but thou knowest
Their seasons: among these the seat of men,
Earth with her nether ocean circumfus'd,
Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy men,
And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanc'd!
Created in his image, there to dwell

And worship him; and in reward to rule
Over his works on earth, in sea, or air

And multiply a race of worshippers,

Holy and just thrice happy, if they know
Their happiness, and persevere upright !'
"So sung they, and the empyrean rung
With halleluiahs: thus was the Sabbath kept.
And thy request think now fulfill'd, that ask'd
How first this world and face of things began,
And what before thy memory was done
From the beginning; that posterity,
Inform'd by thee, might know: if else thou seek'st
Aught, not surpassing human measure, say.”




Adam inquires concerning celestial motions; 's doubtfully answered, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy et knowledge. Adam assents; and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remembers since his own crea. tion; his placing in Paradise; his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society; his first meeting and nuptials with Eve; his discourse with the angel thereupon; who, after ad monitions repeated, departs.

THE angel ended, and in Adam's ear
So charming left his voice, that he awhile
Thought him still speaking, still stood fix'd to hear;
Then, as new-wak'd, thus gratefully replied:
"What thanks sufficient, or what recompens
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 heaven 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 opacous earth, this punctual spot,
One day and night; in all their vast survey

Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire,
How nature wise and frugal could coinmit
Such disproportions, with superfluous hand
4 So many nobler bodies to create,

Greater so manifold, to this one use,
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'a by more noble than herself, attains
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 countenance seem'ɗ
Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which
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,
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.
let went she not, as not with such discourse
Delighted, or not capable her ear


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
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute
With conjugal caresses: from his lip

Not words alone pleas'd her. ()! when meet now
Such pairs in love and mutual monour join'd?
With goddess like demeanour forth she went,
Not unattended: for on her, as queen,
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,
Benevolent and facile thus replied:

"To ask or search, I blame thee not; for heaven As 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:
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
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
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 :

Already by thy reasoning 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 rung
Earth sitting still, when she alone receives
The benefit. Consider first, that great
Or bright infers not excellence: the earth
Though, in comparison of heaven, so smail,
Nor glistering, may of solid good contain
More plenty than the sun that barren shines:
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
Officious; but to thee, earth's habitant.
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,

« ZurückWeiter »