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Mov'd on ; with difficulty and labour he;
But, he once passid, soon after, when man fell,
Strange alteration ! Sin and Death amain
Following his track, such was the will of Heaven
Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
'Tamely endur'd a bridge of wonderous length,
From hell continued, reaching the utmost orb
Of this frail world, by which the spirits perverso
With easy intercourse pass to and fro
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
God and good angels guard by special grace.
But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of heaven
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night
A glimmering dawn : Here Nature first begins
Mer farthest verge, and Chaos to retire,
As from her outmost works a broken foe,
With tumult less, and with less hostile din,
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease
Wafts on the calmer waves by dubious lighty
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn ;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off the enpyreal heaven, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorn'd
Of living sapphire, once his native seat :
And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
This pendant world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude, close by the moon.
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge
Accurs’d, and in a cursed lour, he hies.

BOOK III.

THE ARGUMENT. God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan Aving towards this world, then newly created , shews him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; foretels the success of Satan in perverting mankind, clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created man free, and able enough to have with. stood his tempter ; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Fa ther for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towarda man : but God again declares, that grace cannot be extend ed towards man without the satisfaction of divine justice : man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to godhead and, therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God free. y offers himself a ransom for man : the Father accepts him ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above al hames in heaven and earth; commands all the angels to adore him. They obey, and hymning to their harps in full 'quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place, since called the Limbio of Vanity: what persons and things fly up thither : thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it: his passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner angel; and, pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and man whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is di. rected ; alights first on mount Niphates

Hail, holy Light! offspring of heaven first-born,
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam,
May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effiluence of bright essence increate.
Or hearest thou rather, pure etbereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell ? Before the sun,

Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with holder wing,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphéan lyre,
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp ; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain?
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orban
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song ; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath.
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling low,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
These other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renowng
Blind Thamyris, and blind Mæonides,
Aud Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old :
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return ; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine ;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off and for the book of knowledge fair,

Presented with a universal blank
Ot nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate ; there plant eyes, all mist from thenco
Purge aud disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

Now had the Almighty Father from above,
From the pure empyréan where he sits
High thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye,
His own works, and their works, at once to view :
About him all the sanctities of heaven
Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd
Beatitude past utterance; on his right
The radiant image of his glory nat,
His on. Son on earth he first beheld
Our two first parenta, yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Keaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrivallid love,
In blissful mitud.; he then surveyed
Hell and the gulf between), and Satan there
Coasting the wall of heaven on this side Night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings, and williug feet,
On the hare outside of this world, that seemd
Firm land imbosom'd without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future, he behulds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake :

« Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage Transports our adversary?wbom no bounds Prescribi'd, no bars of hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Wide interrupt, can hold, so bent he seema. On desperate revenge, that shall retound, L'pon his own re!ious head. And now,

Through al, restraint broke loose, he wings his way
Not far off heaven, in the precincts of light,
Directly towards the new-created world,
And man there plac'd, with purpose to essay
If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By some false guile pervert ; and shall pervert :
For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily transgress' the sole command,
Sołe pledge of his obedience : sn will fall
He and his faithless progeny, Whose fault ?
Whose but his own ? Inigrate, he had of me
All he could have; I made bim just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all the ethereal powers (failed;
And spirits, both them who stood, and them who
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith or love,
Where only what they needs must do appear'd,
Not what they would. what praise could they nee
What p.easure I from such obedience paid, [ceive,
When will and reason (reason also is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
Made passive both, had serv'd necessity,
Not me? They, therefore, as to right belong'd,
So were created, nor can justly accuse
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate,
As if predestination overruld

Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree
Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed
Their own revolt, not I, if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow of fate,
Or aught by me immutably foreseen,
They trespass, authors to themselves in all [so
Roth what they judge, and what they choose ; for
I form'd them free : and free they must remain,
19:11 she enthral themselves; I else must change

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