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Paradise Lost: Book 03 Analysis



Author: Poetry of John Milton Type: Poetry Views: 544

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Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven firstborn,Or of the Eternal coeternal beamMay I express thee unblam'd?since God is light,And never but in unapproached lightDwelt from eternity, dwelt then in theeBright effluence of bright essence increate.Or hear"st thou rather pure ethereal stream,Whose fountain who shall tell?before the sun,Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voiceOf God, as with a mantle, didst invest***The rising world of waters dark and deep,Won from the void and formless infinite.Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'dIn that obscure sojourn, while in my flightThrough utter and through middle darkness borne,With other notes than to the Orphean lyreI sung of Chaos and eternal Night;Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture downThe dark descent, and up to re-ascend,Though hard and rare:Thee I revisit safe,And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thouRevisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vainTo find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;Sothick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,Or dim suffusion veil'd.Yet not the moreCease I to wander, where the Muses haunt,Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,Smit with the love of sacred song; but chiefThee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,Nightly I visit:nor sometimes forgetSo were I equall'd with them in renown,Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace;Blind Thamyris, and blind Maeonides,And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old:Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary moveHarmonious numbers; as the wakeful birdSings darkling, and in shadiest covert hidTunes her nocturnal note.Thus with the yearSeasons return; but not to me returnsDay, 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 darkSurrounds me, from the cheerful ways of menCut off, and for the book of knowledge fairPresented with a universal blankOf 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 powersIrradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thencePurge and disperse, that I may see and tellOf things invisible to mortal sight.Now had the Almighty Father from above,From the pure empyrean where he sitsHigh thron'd above all highth, bent down his eyeHis own works and their works at once to view:About him all the Sanctities of HeavenStood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'dBeatitude past utterance; on his rightThe radiant image of his glory sat,His only son; on earth he first beheldOur two first parents, yet the only twoOf mankind in the happy garden plac'dReaping immortal fruits of joy and love,Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love,In blissful solitude; he then survey'dHell and the gulf between, and Satan thereCoasting the wall of Heaven on this side NightIn the dun air sublime, and ready nowTo stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet,On the bare outside of this world, that seem'dFirm land imbosom'd, without firmament,Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.Him God beholding from his prospect high,Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.Only begotten Son, seest thou what rageTransports our Adversary?whom no boundsPrescrib'd no bars of Hell, nor all the chainsHeap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyssWide interrupt, can hold; so bent he seemsOn desperate revenge, that shall redoundUpon his own rebellious head.And now,Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his wayNot far off Heaven, in the precincts of light,Directly towards the new created world,And man there plac'd, with purpose to assayIf 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,Sole pledge of his obedience:So will fallHe and his faithless progeny:Whose fault?Whose but his own?ingrate, he had of meAll he could have; I made him just and right,Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.Such I created all the ethereal PowersAnd Spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd;Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.Not free, what proof could they have given sincereOf true allegiance, constant faith or love,Where only what they needs must do appear'd,Not what they would?what praise could they receive?What pleasure I from such obedience paid,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 accuseTheir Maker, or their making, or their fate,As if predestination over-rul'dTheir will dispos'd by absolute decreeOr high foreknowledge they themselves decreedTheir own revolt, not I; if I foreknew,Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,Which had no less proved certain unforeknown.So without least impulse or shadow of fate,Or aught by me immutably foreseen,They trespass, authors to themselves in allBoth what they judge, and what they choose; for soI form'd them free: and free they must remain,Till they enthrall themselves; I else must changeTheir nature, and revoke the high decreeUnchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd$THeir freedom: they themselves ordain'd their fall.The first sort by their own suggestion fell,Self-tempted, self-deprav'd:Man falls, deceiv'dBy the other first:Man therefore shall find grace,The other none:In mercy and justice both,Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel;But Mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine.Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'dAll Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits electSense of new joy ineffable diffus'd.Beyond compare the Son of God was seenMost glorious; in him all his Father shoneSubstantially express'd; and in his faceDivine compassion visibly appear'd,Love without end, and without measure grace,Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake.O Father, gracious was that word which clos'dThy sovran command, that Man should find grace;, that Man should find grace;For which both Heaven and earth shall high extolThy praises, with the innumerable soundOf hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throneEncompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.For should Man finally be lost, should Man,Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest son,Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'dWith his own folly?that be from thee far,That far be from thee, Father, who art judgeOf all things made, and judgest only right.Or shall the Adversary thus obtainHis end, and frustrate thine?shall he fulfillHis malice, and thy goodness bring to nought,Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to HellDraw after him the whole race of mankind,By him corrupted?or wilt thou thyselfAbolish thy creation, and unmakeFor him, what for thy glory thou hast made?So should thy goodness and thy greatness bothBe question'd and blasphem'd without defence.To whom the great Creator thus replied.O son, in whom my soul hath chief delight,Son of my bosom, Son who art alone.My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, allAs my eternal purpose hath decreed;Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will;Yet not of will in him, but grace in meFreely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renewHis lapsed powers, though forfeit; and enthrall'dBy sin to foul exorbitant desires;Upheld by me, yet once more he shall standOn even ground against his mortal foe;By me upheld, that he may know how frailHis fallen condition is, and to me oweAll his deliverance, and to none but me.Some I have chosen of peculiar grace,Elect above the rest; so is my will:The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'dTheir sinful state, and to appease betimesThe incensed Deity, while offer'd graceInvites; for I will clear their senses dark,What may suffice, and soften stony heartsTo pray, repent, and bring obedience due.To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent,Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.And I will place within them as a guide,My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear,Light after light, well us'd, they shall attain,And to the end, persisting, safe arrive.This my long sufferance, and my day of grace,They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more,That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;And none but such from mercy I exclude.But yet all is not done; Man disobeying,Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sinsAgainst the high supremacy of Heaven,Affecting God-head, and, so losing all,To expiate his treason hath nought left,But to destruction sacred and devote,He, with his whole posterity, must die,Die he or justice must; unless for himSome other able, and as willing, payThe rigid satisfaction, death for death.Say, heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love?Which of you will be mortal, to redeemMan's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save?Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?And silence was in Heaven: $ on Man's behalfHe ask'd, but all the heavenly quire stood mute,Patron or intercessour none appear'd,Much less that durst upon his own head drawThe deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.And now without redemption all mankindMust have been lost, adjudg'd to Death and HellBy doom severe, had not the Son of God,In whom the fulness dwells of love divine,His dearest mediation thus renew'd.Father, thy word is past, Man shall find grace;And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,The speediest of thy winged messengers,To visit all thy creatures, and to allComes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought?Happy for Man, so coming; he her aidCan never seek, once dead in sins, and lost;Atonement for himself, or offering meet,Indebted and undone, hath none to bring;Behold me then:me for him, life for lifeI offer: on me let thine anger fall;Account me Man; I for his sake will leaveThy bosom, and this glory next to theeFreely put off, and for him lastly dieWell pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage.Under his gloomy power I shall not longLie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possessLife in myself for ever; by thee I live;Though now to Death I yield, and am his due,All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid,$ thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome graveHis prey, nor suffer my unspotted soulFor ever with corruption there to dwell;But I shall rise victorious, and subdueMy vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil.Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoopInglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed;I through the ample air in triumph highShall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and showThe powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sightPleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes;Death last, and with his carcase glut the grave;Then, with the multitude of my redeemed,Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloudOf anger shall remain, but peace assuredAnd reconcilement: wrath shall be no moreThenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.His words here ended; but his meek aspectSilent yet spake, and breathed immortal loveTo mortal men, above which only shoneFilial obedience: as a sacrificeGlad to be offered, he attends the willOf his great Father. Admiration seizedAll Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend,Wondering; but soon th' Almighty thus replied.O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peaceFound out for mankind under wrath, O thouMy sole complacence! Well thou know'st how dearTo me are all my works; nor Man the least,Though last created, that for him I spareThee from my bosom and right hand, to save,By losing thee a while, the whole race lost.Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,Their nature also to thy nature join;And be thyself Man among men on Earth,Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's roomThe head of all mankind, though Adam's son.As in him perish all men, so in thee,As from a second root, shall be restoredAs many as are restored, without thee none.His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit,Imputed, shall absolve them who renounceTheir own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,And live in thee transplanted, and from theeReceive new life.So Man, as is most just,Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die,And dying rise, and rising with him raiseHis brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,Giving to death, and dying to redeem,So dearly to redeem what hellish hateSo easily destroyed, and still destroysIn those who, when they may, accept not grace.Nor shalt thou, by descending to assumeMan's nature, lessen or degrade thine own.Because thou hast, though throned in highest blissEqual to God, and equally enjoyingGod-like fruition, quitted all, to saveA world from utter loss, and hast been foundBy merit more than birthright Son of God,Found worthiest to be so by being good,Far more than great or high; because in theeLove hath abounded more than glory abounds;Therefore thy humiliation shall exaltWith thee thy manhood also to this throne:Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reignBoth God and Man, Son both of God and Man,Anointed universal King; all powerI give thee; reign for ever, and assumeThy merits; under thee, as head supreme,Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce:All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bideIn Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell.When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven,Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee sendThe summoning Arch-Angels to proclaimThy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds,The living, and forthwith the cited deadOf all past ages, to the general doomShall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judgeBad Men and Angels; they, arraigned, shall sinkBeneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full,Thenceforth shall be for ever shut.Mean whileThe world shall burn, and from her ashes springNew Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell,And, after all their tribulations long,See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,With joy and peace triumphing, and fair truth.Then thou thy regal scepter shalt lay by,For regal scepter then no more shall need,God shall be all in all.But, all ye Gods,Adore him, who to compass all this dies;Adore the Son, and honour him as me.No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but allThe multitude of Angels, with a shoutLoud as from numbers without number, sweetAs from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rungWith jubilee, and loud Hosannas filledThe eternal regions:Lowly reverentTowards either throne they bow, and to the groundWith solemn adoration down they castTheir crowns inwove with amarant and gold;Immortal amarant, a flower which onceIn Paradise, fast by the tree of life,Began to bloom; but soon for man's offenceTo 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 HeavenRolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream;With these that never fade the Spirits electBind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams;Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the brightPavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,Impurpled with celestial roses smiled.Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took,Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their sideLike quivers hung, and with preamble sweetOf charming symphony they introduceTheir sacred song, and waken raptures high;No voice exempt, no voice but well could joinMelodious part, such concord is in Heaven.Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent,Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,Eternal King; the Author of all being,Fonntain of light, thyself invisibleAmidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'stThroned inaccessible, but when thou shadestThe full blaze of thy beams, and, through a cloudDrawn round about thee like a radiant shrine,Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest SeraphimApproach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.Thee next they sang of all creation first,Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloudMade visible, the Almighty Father shines,Whom else no creature can behold; on theeImpressed the effulgence of his glory abides,Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests.He Heaven of Heavens and all the Powers thereinBy thee created; and by thee threw downThe aspiring Dominations:Thou that dayThy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shookHeaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necksThou drovest of warring Angels disarrayed.Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaimThee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might,To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,Not so on Man:Him through their malice fallen,Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doomSo strictly, but much more to pity incline:No sooner did thy dear and only SonPerceive thee purposed not to doom frail ManSo strictly, but much more to pity inclined,He to appease thy wrath, and end the strifeOf mercy and justice in thy face discerned,Regardless of the bliss wherein he satSecond to thee, offered himself to dieFor Man's offence.O unexampled love,Love no where to be found less than Divine!Hail, Son of God, Saviour of Men!Thy nameShall be the copious matter of my songHenceforth, and never shall my heart thy praiseForget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere,Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.Mean while upon the firm opacous globeOf this round world, whose first convex dividesThe luminous inferiour orbs, enclosedFrom Chaos, and the inroad of Darkness old,Satan alighted walks:A globe far offIt seemed, now seems a boundless continentDark, waste, and wild, under the frown of NightStarless exposed, and ever-threatening stormsOf Chaos blustering round, inclement sky;Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven,Though distant far, some small reflection gainsOf glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud:Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field.As when a vultur on Imaus bred,Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds,Dislodging from a region scarce of preyTo gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids,On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springsOf Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;But in his way lights on the barren plainsOf Sericana, where Chineses driveWith sails and wind their cany waggons light:So, on this windy sea of land, the FiendWalked 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 earthUp hither like aereal vapours flewOf all things transitory and vain, when sinWith vanity had filled the works of men:Both all things vain, and all who in vain thingsBuilt their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame,Or happiness in this or the other life;All who have their reward on earth, the fruitsOf painful superstition and blind zeal,Nought seeking but the praise of men, here findFit retribution, empty as their deeds;All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand,Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed,Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,Till final dissolution, wander here;Not in the neighbouring moon as some have dreamed;Those argent fields more likely habitants,Translated Saints, or middle Spirits holdBetwixt the angelical and human kind.Hither of ill-joined sons and daughters bornFirst from the ancient world those giants cameWith many a vain exploit, though then renowned:The builders next of Babel on the plainOf Sennaar, and still with vain design,New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build:Others came single; he, who, to be deemedA God, leaped fondly into Aetna flames,Empedocles; and he, who, to enjoyPlato's Elysium, leaped into the sea,Cleombrotus; and many more too long,Embryos, and idiots, eremites, and friarsWhite, black, and gray, with all their trumpery.Here pilgrims roam, that strayed so far to seekIn Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven;And they, who to be sure of Paradise,Dying, put on the weeds of Dominick,Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised;They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed,And that crystalling sphere whose balance weighsThe trepidation talked, and that first moved;And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seemsTo wait them with his keys, and now at footOf Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when loA violent cross wind from either coastBlows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awryInto the devious air:Then might ye seeCowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tostAnd fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads,Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,The sport of winds:All these, upwhirled aloft,Fly o'er the backside of the world far offInto a Limbo large and broad, since calledThe Paradise of Fools, to few unknownLong after; now unpeopled, and untrod.All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed,And long he wandered, till at last a gleamOf dawning light turned thither-ward in hasteHis travelled steps: far distant he descriesAscending by degrees magnificentUp to the wall of Heaven a structure high;At top whereof, but far more rich, appearedThe work as of a kingly palace-gate,With frontispiece of diamond and goldEmbellished; thick with sparkling orient gemsThe portal shone, inimitable on earthBy model, or by shading pencil, drawn.These stairs were such as whereon Jacob sawAngels ascending and descending, bandsOf guardians bright, when he from Esau fledTo Padan-Aram, in the field of LuzDreaming by night under the open skyAnd waking cried,This is the gate of Heaven.Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stoodThere always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimesViewless; and underneath a bright sea flowedOf jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereonWho after came from earth, failing arrivedWafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lakeRapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.The stairs were then let down, whether to dareThe Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravateHis sad exclusion from the doors of bliss:Direct against which opened from beneath,Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide,Wider by far than that of after-timesOver mount Sion, and, though that were large,Over the Promised Land to God so dear;By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,On high behests his angels to and froPassed frequent, and his eye with choice regardFrom Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood,To Beersaba, where the Holy LandBorders on Egypt and the Arabian shore;So wide the opening seemed, where bounds were setTo darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.Satan from hence, now on the lower stair,That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate,Looks down with wonder at the sudden viewOf all this world at once.As when a scout,Through dark?;nd desart ways with?oeril goneAll?might,?;t?kast by break of cheerful dawnObtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,Which to his eye discovers unawareThe goodly prospect of some foreign landFirst seen, or some renowned metropolisWith glistering spires and pinnacles adorned,Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams:Such wonder seised, though after Heaven seen,The Spirit malign, but much more envy seised,At sight of all this world beheld so fair.Round he surveys (and well might, where he stoodSo high above the circling canopyOf night's extended shade,) from eastern pointOf Libra to the fleecy star that bearsAndromeda far off Atlantick seasBeyond the horizon; then from pole to poleHe views in breadth, and without longer pauseDown right into the world's first region throwsHis flight precipitant, and winds with easeThrough the pure marble air his oblique wayAmongst innumerable stars, that shoneStars distant, but nigh hand seemed other worlds;Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles,Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales,Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy thereHe staid not to inquire:Above them allThe golden sun, in splendour likest Heaven,Allured his eye; thither his course he bendsThrough the calm firmament, (but up or down,By center, or eccentrick, hard to tell,Or longitude,) where the great luminaryAloof the vulgar constellations thick,That from his lordly eye keep distance due,Dispenses light from far; they, as they moveTheir starry dance in numbers that computeDays, months, and years, towards his all-cheering lampTurn swift their various motions, or are turnedBy his magnetick beam, that gently warmsThe universe, and to each inward partWith gentle penetration, though unseen,Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep;So wonderously was set his station bright.There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhapsAstronomer in the sun's lucent orbThrough his glazed optick tube yet never saw.The place he found beyond expression bright,Compared with aught on earth, metal or stone;Not all parts like, but all alike informedWith radiant light, as glowing iron with fire;If metal, part seemed gold, part silver clear;If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite,Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shoneIn Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besidesImagined rather oft than elsewhere seen,That stone, or like to that which here belowPhilosophers in vain so long have sought,In vain, though by their powerful art they bindVolatile Hermes, and call up unboundIn various shapes old Proteus from the sea,Drained through a limbeck to his native form.What wonder then if fields and regions hereBreathe forth Elixir pure, and rivers runPotable gold, when with one virtuous touchThe arch-chemick sun, so far from us remote,Produces, with terrestrial humour mixed,Here in the dark so many precious thingsOf colour glorious, and effect so rare?Here matter new to gaze the Devil metUndazzled; far and wide his eye commands;For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noonCulminate from the equator, as they nowShot upward still direct, whence no way roundShadow from body opaque can fall; and the air,No where so clear, sharpened his visual rayTo objects distant far, whereby he soonSaw within ken a glorious Angel stand,The same whom John saw also in the sun:His back was turned, but not his brightness hid;Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiarCircled his head, nor less his locks behindIllustrious on his shoulders fledge with wingsLay waving round; on some great charge employedHe seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep.Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hopeTo find who might direct his wandering flightTo 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 faceYouth smiled celestial, and to every limbSuitable grace diffused, so well he feigned:Under a coronet his flowing hairIn curls on either cheek played; wings he woreOf many a coloured plume, sprinkled with gold;His habit fit for speed succinct, and heldBefore his decent steps a silver wand.He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright,Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned,Admonished by his ear, and straight was knownThe Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the sevenWho in God's presence, nearest to his throne,Stand ready at command, and are his eyesThat run through all the Heavens, or down to the EarthBear his swift errands over moist and dry,O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts.Uriel, for thou of those seven Spirits that standIn sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright,The first art wont his great authentick willInterpreter through highest Heaven to bring,Where all his sons thy embassy attend;And here art likeliest by supreme decreeLike honour to obtain, and as his eyeTo visit oft this new creation round;Unspeakable desire to see, and knowAll these his wonderous works, but chiefly Man,His chief delight and favour, him for whomAll these his works so wonderous he ordained,Hath brought me from the quires of CherubimAlone thus wandering.Brightest Seraph, tellIn which of all these shining orbs hath ManHis fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell;That I may find him, and with secret gazeOr open admiration him behold,On whom the great Creator hath bestowedWorlds, and on whom hath all these graces poured;That both in him and all things, as is meet,The universal Maker we may praise;Who justly hath driven out his rebel foesTo deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss,Created this new happy race of MenTo serve him better:Wise are all his ways.So spake the false dissembler unperceived;For neither Man nor Angel can discernHypocrisy, the only evil that walksInvisible, except to God alone,By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth:And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleepsAt wisdom's gate, and to simplicityResigns her charge, while goodness thinks no illWhere no ill seems:Which now for once beguiledUriel, though regent of the sun, and heldThe sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven;Who to the fraudulent impostor foul,In his uprightness, answer thus returned.Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to knowThe works of God, thereby to glorifyThe great Work-master, leads to no excessThat reaches blame, but rather merits praiseThe more it seems excess, that led thee hitherFrom thy empyreal mansion thus alone,To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps,Contented with report, hear only in Heaven:For wonderful indeed are all his works,Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be allHad in remembrance always with delight;But what created mind can comprehendTheir number, or the wisdom infiniteThat brought them forth, but hid their causes deep?I saw when at his word the formless mass,This world's material mould, came to a heap:Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproarStood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined;Till at his second bidding Darkness fled,Light shone, and order from disorder sprung:Swift to their several quarters hasted thenThe cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire;And this ethereal quintessence of HeavenFlew upward, spirited with various forms,That rolled orbicular, and turned to starsNumberless, as thou seest, and how they move;Each had his place appointed, each his course;The rest in circuit walls this universe.Look downward on that globe, whose hither sideWith light from hence, though but reflected, shines;That place is Earth, the seat of Man; that lightHis day, which else, as the other hemisphere,Night would invade; but there the neighbouring moonSo call that opposite fair star) her aidTimely interposes, and her monthly roundStill ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven,With borrowed light her countenance triformHence fills and empties to enlighten the Earth,And in her pale dominion checks the night.That spot, to which I point, is Paradise,Adam's abode; those lofty shades, his bower.Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low,As to superiour Spirits is wont in Heaven,Where honour due and reverence none neglects,Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath,Down from the ecliptick, sped with hoped success,Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel;Nor staid, till on Niphates' top he lights.





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