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Erroneous there to wander and forlorn.

Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound
Within the visible diurnal sphere;

Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchang'd
To hoarse or mute, though fall'n on evil days,
On evil days though fall'n, and evil tongues;
In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round,
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou
Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east; still govern thou my song,
Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance
Of Bacchus and his revelers, the race




Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
Her son. So fail not thou, who thee implores;
For thou art heav'nly, she an empty dream.



SAY Goddess, what ensu'd when Raphaël,

The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarn'd.

Adam by dire example to beware
Apostasy, by what befel in Heaven

To those apostates, lest the like befall

In Paradise to Adam or his race,


Charg'd not to touch the interdicted tree,

If they transgress, and slight that sole command,

So easily obey'd amid the choice

Of all tastes else to please their appetite,

Though wand'ring. He with his consorted Eve
The story heard attentive, and was fill'd
With admiration and deep muse, to hear


Of things so high and strange, things to their thought So unimaginable as hate in Heaven,

And war so near the peace of God in bliss


With such confusion: but the evil soon

Driv'n back redounded as a flood on those

From whom it sprung, impossible to mix

With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeal'd
The doubts that in his heart arose and now
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him, how this world
Of Heav'n and Earth conspicuous first began,
When, and whereof created, for what cause,
What within Eden or without was done
Before his memory, as one whose drought
Yet scarce allay'd still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
Proceeded thus to ask his heav'nly guest.



GREAT things, and full of wonder in our ears, Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal'd, Divine interpreter, by favour sent

Down from the empyréan to forewarn



Us timely' of what might else have been our loss,
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach:
For which to th' infinitely Good we owe
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment
Receive with solemn purpose to observe
Immutably his sov'reign will, the end

Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsaf'd 80

Gently for our instruction to impart

Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem'd,

Deign to descend now lower, and relate

What may no less perhaps avail us known,

How first began this Heav'n which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd
Innumerable, and this which yields or fills
All space; the ambient air wide interfus'd
Embracing round this florid earth, what cause
Mov'd the Creator in his holy rest
Through all eternity so late to build

In Chaos, and the work begun, how soon
Absolv'd, if unforbid thou may'st unfold
What we, not to explore the secrets ask
Of his eternal empire, but the more
To magnify his works, the more we know.

And the great light of day yet wants to run

Much of his race though steep; suspense in Heaven,

Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears,
And longer will delay to hear thee tell
His generation, and the rising birth
Of nature from the unapparent deep:


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Or if the star of evening and the moon

Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring
Silence, and sleep list'ning to thee will watch,
Or can we bid his absence, till thy song
End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.
THUS Adam his illustrious guest besought:


And thus the Godlike Angel answer'd mild.
This also thy request with caution ask'd
Obtain: though to recount almighty works
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?


Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 115 To glorify the Maker, and infer

Thee also happier, shall not be withheld

Thy hearing, such commission from above
I have receiv'd, to answer thy desire
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not reveal'd, which th' invisible King,
Only omniscient, hath suppress'd in night,
To none communicable in Earth or Heaven:
Enough is left besides to search and know.
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temp❜rance over appetite, to know
Or measure what the mind may well contain;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly', as nourishment to wind,

KNOW then, that after Lucifer from Heaven
(So call him, brighter once amidst the host
Of Angels, than that star the stars among)
Fell with his flaming legions through the deep
Into his place, and the great Son return'd
Victorious with his Saints, th' omnipotent
Eternal Father from his throne beheld

Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.

At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought



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All like himself rebellious, by whose aid


This inacccessible high strength, the seat

Of deity supreme, us dispossess'd,

He trusted to have seiz'd, and into fraud

Drew many, whom their place knows here no more;

Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,


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That detriment, if such it be to lose
Self-lost, and in a moment will create
Another world, out of one man a race
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,


Not here, till by degrees of merit rais'd

They open to themselves at length the way

Up hither, under long obedience try'd,


And Earth be chang'd to Heav'n, and Heav'n to Earth,
One kingdom, joy and union without end.
Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Pow'rs of Heaven,
And thou my word, begotten Son, by thee
This I perform, speak thou, and be it done :
My overshadowing Spi'rit and might with thee
I send along; ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be Heav'n and Earth,
Boundless the deep, because I am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.


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