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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 370
Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.

Thee, Father, first they sung, Omnipotent,
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Eternal King; thee Author of all being,
Fountain of light, thyself invisible

Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st
Thron'd inaccessible, but when thou shad'st
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud
Drawn round about thce like a radiant shrine,
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
Yet dazzle Heav'n, that brightest Seraphim
Approach not but with both wings veil their eyes.
Thee, next they sang, of all creation first,
Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,
In whose conspicuous count'nance, without cloud 385
Made visible, th'almighty Father shines,
Whom else no creature can behold ; on thee
Impress'd th' effulgence of his glory' abides,
Transfus'd on thee his ample Spirit rests.
He Heav'n of Heav'ns, and all the Pow'rs therein 390
By thee created, and by thee threw down
Th’aspiring Dominations : thou that day
Ihy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,
Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook
Heav'n's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks

395 Thou drov'st of warring Angels disarray'd.




Back from pursuit thy Pow'rs with loud acclaim
Thee only' extoll’d, Son of thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,
Not so on man : him through their malice fall’n,
Father of mercy' and grace, thou didst not doom
So strictly, but much more to pity' incline :
No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail Man
So strictly, but much more to pity' incline,
He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife
Of mercy' and justice in thy face discern'd,
Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
Second to thee, offer'd himself to die
For Man's offence. O unexampled love,
Love no where to be found less than Divine!
Hail Son of God, Saviour of Men, thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.

Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry sphere,
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
Meanwhile upon the firm opacous globe
Of this round world, whose first convex divides
The luminous inferior orbs inclos'd
From Chaos and th' inroad of Darkness old,
Satan alighted walks : a globe far off
It seem'd, now seems a boundless continent
Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night
Starless expos’d, and ever-threat'ning storms
Of Chaos blust’ring round, inclement sky;




Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven,
Though distant far, some small reflection gains
Of glimmering air less vex'd with tempest loud :
Here walk'd the Fiend at large in spacious field.

As when a vulture on Imaus bred,
Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds,
Dislodging from a region scarce of prey
To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids
On hills where flocks are fed, flies tow'ard the springs
Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams :

436 But in his way lights on the barren plains Of Sericana, where Chineses drive With sails and wind their cany waggons light: So on this windy sea of land, the Fiend

440 Walk'd up and down alone, bent on his prey ; Alone, for other creature in this place Living or lifeless to be found was none; None yet, but store hereafter from the earth Vp hither like aerial vapours flew

445 Of all things transitory' and vain, when sin With vanity had fill'd the works of men; Both all things vain, and all who in vain things Built their fond hopes of glory' or lasting fame, Or happiness in this or th' other life;

450 All who have their reward on earth, the fruits Of painful superstition and blind zeal, Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find Fit retribution, empty as their deeds ; All th' unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand, 455 Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd,

Dissolv'd on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,
Till final dissolution, wander here,
Not in the neighb'ring moon, as some have dream'd;
Those argent fields more likely habitants, 460
Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold
Betwixt th’angelical and human kind.
Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born
First from the ancient world those giants came
With many a vain exploit, though then renown'd: 465
The builders next of Babel on the plain
Of Sennaar, and still with vain design
New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build :
Others came single; he who to be deem'd
A God, leap'd fondly into Ætna flames,

Empedocles; and he who to enjoy
Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the sea,
Cleombrotus; and many more too long,
Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars
White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery. 475
Here pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek
In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven;
And they who to be sure of Paradise
Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis’d;

480 They pass the planets sev'n, and pass the fix'd, And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs The trepidation talk’d, and that first mov’d; And now Saint Peter at Heav'n's wicket seems To wait them with his keys, and now at foot 485 Of Heav'n's ascent they lift their feet, when lo

A violent cross wind from either coast
Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues awry
Into the devious air; then might ye see
Cowls, hoods, and habits with their wearers tost

And Autter'd into rags, then reliques, beads,
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
The sport of winds : all these upwhirl'd aloft
Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
Into a Limbo large and broad, since call'd

495 The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown Long after, now unpeopled, and untrod. All this dark globe the Fiend found as he pass'd, And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam Of dawning light turn'd thither-ward in haste

500 His travel'd steps : far distant he descries Ascending by degrees magnificent Up to the wall of Heav'n a structure high, At top whereof, but far more rich, appear'd The work as of a kingly palace gate,

505 With frontispiece of diamond and gold Embellish'd; thick with sparkling orient gems The portal shone, inimitable on earth Py model, or by shading pencil drawn. The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw 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. 515 Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood


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