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O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode
Of thrones, and mighty seraphim prostrate,
That wish'd the mountains now might be again
Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
His arrows, from the fourfold-visag'd Four
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes ;
One spirit in them glar'd, and every eye
Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
Among th' accurs'd, that wither'd all their strength,
And of their wonted vigour left them draind,
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall’n.
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd
His thunder in mid volley: for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of heaven.
The overthrown he rais'd, and, as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together throng'd,
Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursu'd
With terrors and with furies, to the bounds,
And crystal wall of heaven; which opening wide,
Rollid inward, and a spacious gap disclos'd
Into the wasteful deep; the monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward, but far worse
Urg'd them behind; headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of heaven; eternal wrath
Burnd after them to the bottomless pit.
" Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, hell saw
Heaven ruining from heaven, and would lave fled
Affrighted: but strict Fate bad cast too deep
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
Ninc days they fell; confounded Chaos roar'd,
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall
Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout
Encumber'd him with ruin: hell at last
Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd;
Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, ihe house of woe and pain.
Disburden'd heaven rejoie’d, and soon repair'd
Her mural breach, returning whence it rollid.
“ Sole Victor, from th' expulsion of his foes,
Messiah his triumphal chariot turn'd;
To meet bim all bis saints, who silent stood
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts,
With jubilee advanc'd; and as they went,
Shaded with branching palm, each order bright,
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord! to him dominion given,
Wortbiest to reigo : he celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid heaven, into the courts
And temple of his mighty Father thron'd
On high; who into glory him receiv'd,
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
“ Thus, measuring things in lieaven by things on
At thy request, and that thou may'st beware
By what is past, to thee I have reveald
What might have else to human race been hid;
The discord which befel, and war in heaven
Among the angelic powers, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring, who rebell'd
With Satan; he who envies now thy state,
Who now is plotting how he may seduce
Thee also from obedience, that with him,
Bereav'd of happiness, thou may'st partake
His punishment, eternal misery ;
Which would be all his solace and revenge,
As a despite done against the Most High,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations; warn
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard,
By terrible example, the reward
of disobedience; firm they might have stood,
Yet fello Remember, and fear to transgress.
Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this world was first created; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his angels out of heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world, and other creatures to dwell therein 3 sends his Son with glory and attendance of angels to perform the work of creation in six days: the angels celebrate with hymns the perforinance thereof, and his re-ascension into heaven.
Descend from heaven Urania ! by that name,
If rightly thou art call'd, whose voice divine
Following, above th' Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegasean wing.
The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou
Nor of the muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwell'st; but heavenly born,
Before the hills appear’d, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with Eternal Wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
In presence of the Almighty Father, pleas'd
With thy celestial soog. Up led by thee
Into the heaven of heavens I have presum'd,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy temp'ring; with like safety guided down
Return me to my native element:
Lest from this flying steed unrein'd, (as once
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime)
Dismounted, on th’ Aleian field I fall,
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn.
Half yet remains unsung, but narrow bound
Within the visible diurnal sphere;
Standing on earth, not wrapp'd above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchang'd
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days,
On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues ;
to 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 revellers, the race
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks bad ears
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the muse defend
So fail not thou, who thee implores;
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.
Say, goddess, what ensued when Raphael, The affable archangel, bad forewarn’d Adam by dire example to beware Apostacy, by what befell 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 fillid 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, Driven back, redounded as a flood on those From whom it sprung, impossible to mix With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repcal'd The doubts that in his heart arose : and now Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know What nearer might concern bim; how this world Of heaven 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 bis heavenly 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 empyrean tu 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 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 heaven, which we behold Distant so bigh, 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 boly 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 work, the more we know. And the great light of day yet wants to run Much of his race tho' 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: 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 we can bid his absence, till thy song End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine."