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Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit; nor sometimes forget
Those other two equal'd with me in fate,
So were I equal'd with them in renown,

Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And 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
Of nature's works, to me expunged and rased,
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 thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

Book III.

# Imitation of the third act of Guarini's Pastor Fido, where Mirtillo addresses the Spring :

Tu torni ben, ma teco
Non tornano, &c.
Tu torni ben, tu torni,
Ma teco altro non torna, &c.



No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
The multitude of angels with a shout,
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
As from blest voices, uttering joy; heaven rung
With jubilee, and loud hosannas fill'd
The eternal regions. Lowly reverent
Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground
With solemn adoration down they cast
Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold ;
Immortal amarant, a flower which once
In Paradise fast by the tree of life
Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows
And flowers aloft shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream;
With these, that never fade, the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams;
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled.
Then crown'd again their golden harps they took,
Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high ;
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
Melodious part: such concord is in heaven.

Thee, Father, first they sung, Omnipotent,

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Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Eternal King: thee, Author of all being,
Fountain of light, thyself invisible
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st
Throned inaccessible ; but when thou shadest
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud
Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine,
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
Yet dazzle heaven; that brightest seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.

Thus they in heaven, above the starry sphere,
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.




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 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 spirit impure, as now in hope 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 : And now a stripling cherub he appears,

Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb
Suitable grace diffused, so well he feigned;
Under a coronet his flowing hair
In curls on either cheek play'd ; wings he wore
Of many a colour'd 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,
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn'd,
Admonish'd by his ear; and straight was known
The archangel Uriel, one of the seven,
Who in God's presence nearest to his throne
Stand ready at command, and are his eyes
That run through all the heavens, or down to the earth
Bear his swift errands, over moist and dry,
O’er sea and land.




HORROR and doubt distract
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
The hell within him ; for within him hell

He brings, and round about him, nor from hell
One step, no more than from himself, can fly
By change of place: now conscience wakes despair
That slumber'd; wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be,
Worse ; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad;
Sometimes towards heaven and the full-blazing sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tower.

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Book IV.



So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champain head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access denied ; and overhead up grew
Insuperable highth of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradise up sprung ;
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appear'd, with gay enamel'd colours mix'd :
On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams,
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath shower'd the earth; so lovely seem'd
That landskip: and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair: now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail


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