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For man's offence. O unexampled love, - 410
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.” 415
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, enclos'd 420
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 425
Of Chaos blustring 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. 430
As when a vulture on Imaüs 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 toward the springs 435
Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams:
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 as none,
None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
Up hither, like aëreal 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,
Naught 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:
The builders next of Babel on the plain
Of Sennaar, and still with vain desi
New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build:
Others came single; he, who to be deem'd
A god , leap'd fondly into Aetna 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 gray, with all their trumpery.
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;
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
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 flutter'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
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 thitherward in haste
His travell'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,
With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Embellish'd; thick with sparkling orient gems
The Portal shone, inimitable on earth
By 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 cried; “This is the gate of heaven.”
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to heav'n sometimes
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon

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Who after came from earth, sailing arriv'd, 520 Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. The stairs were then let down, whether to dare The fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss: 525 Direct against which open'd from beneath, Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise, A passage down to th’ earth, a passage wide, Wider by far than that of after-times Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, 530 Over the Promis'd Land, to God so dear; By which, to visit oft those happy tribes, On high behests his angels to and fro Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood, 535 To Beérsaba, where the Holy Land Borders on Egypt and th' Arabian shore; So wide the opening seem’d, where bounds were set To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave. Satan from hence, now on the lower stair, 540 That scal’d by steps of gold to heaven-gate, Looks down with wonder at the sudden view Of all this world at once. As when a scout, Through dark and desert ways with peril gone . All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn 545 Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill, Which to his eye discovers unaware The goodly prospect of some foreign land First seen, or some renown'd metropolis With glist'ring spires and pinnacles adorn'd, 550 Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams: Such wonder seiz'd, though after heaven seen, The spirit malign, but much more envy seiz'd, At sight of all this world beheld so fair. Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood 555 So high above the circling canopy Of night's extended shade), from eastern point Of Libra to the fleecy star that hears Andromeda far off Atlantic seas, Beyond th’ horizon; then from pole to pole 560 He views in breadth, and without longer pause Downright into the world’s first region throws His flight precipitant, and winds with ease Through the pure marble air his oblique way Amongst innumerable stars, that shone 565 Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds; Or other worlds they seem’d, or happy isles, Like those Hesperian gardens fam'd of old, Fortunate fields, and groves, and slow'ry vales, Thrice-happy isles; but who dwelt happy, there 570 He staid not to inquire: above them all The golden sun, in splendour likest heaven, o Allur'd his eye; thither his course he bends Through the calm firmament (but up or down,

By center or eccentric, hard to tell, 575
Or longitude), where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far: they, as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute 580
Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering lamp
Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetration, though unseen, 585
Shoots invisible virtue ev'n to the deep:
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps
Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb
Through his glaz'd optic tube yet never saw. 590
The place he found beyond expression bright,
Compar'd with aught on earth, metal or stone;
Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire ;
If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear; 595
If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,
That stone, or like to that, which here below 600
Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
In vain, though by their pow'rful art they bind
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form. 605
hat wonder then if sields and regions here
reathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
Th’ arch-chymic sun, so far from us remote,
Produces, with terrestrial humour mix’d, 610
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour glorious, and effect so rare P
Here matter new to gaze the devil met
Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands;
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade, 615
But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon
Culminate from th' equator, as they now
Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
Shadow from body opaque can fall; and th’ air,
No where so clear, sharpen'd his visual ray 62O
To objects distant far, whereby 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 625
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 630 To find who might direct his wand'ring 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: 635 And now a stripling Cherub he appears, Not of the prime, yet such as in his face Youth smil'd celestial, and to every limb Suitable grace diffus'd, so well he feign'd : Under a coronet his flowing hair 640 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, 645 Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn'd, Admonish’d by his ear, and straight was known Th' Archangel Uriel, one of the seven Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, Stand ready at command, and are his eyes 650 That run through all the heav'ns, or down to th’ earth Bear his swift errands over moist and dry, O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts: “Uriel, for thou of those seven spirits that stand In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 655 The first art wont his great authentic will Interpreter through highest heav'n to bring, Where all his sons thy embassy attend; And here art likeliest by supreme decree Like honour to obtain, and as his eye 660 To visit oft this new creation round; * Unspeakable desire to see, and know, All these his wondrous works, but chiefly man, His chief delight and favour, him for whom All these his works so wondrous he ordain'd, 665 Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim Alone thus wand'ring. Brightest Seraph, tell In which of all these shining orbs hath man His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none, But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; 670 That I may find him, and with secret gaze, Or open admiration, him behold, On whom the great Creator hath bestow'd Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces pour’d; That both in him and all things, as is meet, 675 The universal Maker we may praise, Who justly hath driv'n out his rebel foes To deepest hell, and, to repair that loss, Created this new happy race of men To serve him better: wise, are all his ways.” 680 So spake the false dissembler unperceiv'd; For neither man nor angel can discern Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks Invisible, except to God alone,

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