Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]


Well pleas'd: on me let Death wreak all his rage:
Under his gloomy pow'r I fhall not long
Lie vanquilh'd; thou haft giv'n me to poffefs
Life in myfelf for ever; by thee I livé,


Though now to Death I yield, and am his due 245
All that of me can die; yet, that debt paid,
Thou wilt not leave me in the loathfome grave
His prey, nor fuffer my unfpotted foul
For ever with.corruption there to dwell;
But I fhall rife victorious, and fubdue
My vanquisher, fpoil'd of his vaunted spoil;
Death his death's wound fhall then receive, and stoop
Inglorious, of his mortal fting difarm'd.
I through the ample air, in triumph high
Shall lead hell captive, maugre hell, and fhew
The pow'rs of darkness bound. Thou at the fight
Pleas'd, out of heaven fhalt look down, and fmile;
While, by thee rais'd, I ruin all my foes,
Death lait, and with his carcafe glut the grave;
Then, with the multitude of my redeem'd
Shall enter heav'n, long abfent, and return,
Father, to fee thy face, wherein no cloud
Of anger fhall remain, but peace affur'd,
And reconcilement; wrath fhall be no more
Thenceforth, but in thy prefence joy entire.


His words here ended, but his meek afpect
Silent yet fpake, and breath'd immortal love
To mortal men, above which only fhone
Filial obedience: as a facrifice




Glad to be offer'd, he attends the will
Of his great Father. Admiration feiz'd
All heav'n, what this might mean, and whither tend
Wond'ring; but foon th' Almighty thus reply'd.


O thou in heav'n and earth the only peace
Found out for mankind under wrath! O thou
My foul complacence! well thou know'ft how dear
To me are all my works; nor man the leaft,
Though laft created; that for him 1 spare
Thee from my bofom and right hand, to fave,
By lofing thee a while, the whole race loft.
Thou therefore, whom thou only canft redeem,


Their nature alfo to thy nature join :
And be thyself man among men on earth,
Made flesh, when time, of virgin feed,
By wondrous birth: be thou in Adam's room
The head of all mankind, though Adam's fon.
As in him perish all men, fo in thee,
As from a fecond root, fhall be reftor'd
As many as are reftor'd, without thee none.
His crime makes guilty all his fons; thy merit
Imputed fhall abfolve them who renounce
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
And live in thee tranfplanted, and from thee
Receive new life. So man, as is most just,
Shall fatisfy for man, be judg'd, and die,
And dying rife, and rifing with him raise
His brethren, ranfom'd with his own dear life.
So heav'nly love fhall outdo hellish hate,
Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
So dearly to redeem, what hellish hate
So eafily destroy'd, and ftill deftroys

In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
Nor fhalt thou, by defcending to affume
Man's nature, leffen or degrade thine own.
Because thou haft, though thron'd in highest bliss, 305
Equal to GoD and equally enjoying
God-like fruition, quitted all, to fave
A world from utter lofs, and haft been found
By merit more than birthright Son of God,
Found worthieft to be fo by being good,
Far more than great or high; becaufe in thee
Love hath abounded more than glory' abounds;
Therefore thy humiliation fhall exalt
With thee thy manhood alfo to this throne;
Here fhalt thou fit incarnate, here fhalt reign
Both GoD and man, Son both of GOD and man,
Anointed univerfal KING; all power
I give thee; reign for ever, and affume
Thy merits; under thee, as head fupreme,
Thrones, princedoms, pow'rs, dominions, I reduce :
All knees to thee fhall bow, of them that bide
In heav'n, or earth, or under earth in hell.








When thou attended gloriously from heav'n
Shalt in the fky appear, and from thee fend
The fummoning archangels to proclaim
Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds,
The living, and forthwith the cited dead
Of all pait ages, to the general doom
Shall haften; fuch a peal fhall rouse their fleep.
Then all thy faints affembled, thou fhalt judge
Bad men and angels; they arraign'd fhall fink
Beneath thy fentence; hell, her numbers full,
Thenceforth fhall be forever fhut. Mean while
The world fhall burn, and from her ashes spring
New heav'n and earth, wherein the just shall dwell;
And after all their tribulations long,
See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and love triumphing, and fair truth.
Then thou thy regal fceptre fhalt lay by,
For regal fceptre then no more fhall need,
Góp thall be all in all. But all ye gods
Adore him, who to compafs all this, dies;
Adore the Son, and honour him as me.


No fooner had th' Almighty ceas'd, but all The multitude of Angels, with a fhout Loud as from numbers without number, fweet As from bleis'd voices, uttering joy, heav'n rung With jubile, and loud hofannas fill'd Th' eternal regions. Lowly reverent, Tow'ards either throne thy bow, and to the ground With folemn adoration down they caft Their crowns, inwove with amarant and gold; Immortal amarant, a flow'r which once In Paradife, faft by the tree of life, Began to bloom; but foon for man's offence To heav'n remov'd, where firft it grew, there grows, And flow'rs aloft fhading the fount of life, And where the river of blifs through midst of heav'n Rolls o'er Elyfian flow'rs her amber stream :



With these that never fade, the fp'rits elect 360 Bind their refplendent locks, inwreath'd with beams; Now in loofe garlands thick thrown off, the bright Pavement, that like a fea of jafper fhone,





[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Impurpled with celeftial rofes fmil'd.


Then crown'd again, their golden harps they took;
Harps ever tun'd, that glittering by their fide
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming fymphony they introduce
Their facred fong, and waken raptures high;
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
Melodious part, fuch concord is in heav'n,

Thee, Father, first they fung omnipotent,
Immutable, immortal, infinite,



Eternal KING; thee, author of all being,
Fountain of light, thyfelf invifible
Amidft the glorious brightnefs where thou fitt't
Thron'd inacceffible, but when thou shad'st
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud
Drawn round above thee like a radiant fhrine
Dark with exceffive bright thy fkirts appear;
Yet dazzle heav'n, that brightest Seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.
Thee next they fang of all creation first,
Begotten Son, divine fimilitude,

In whofe confpicuous count'nance, without cloud 385
Made vifible, th' Almighty Father fhines,
Whom elfe no creature can behold; on thee
Imprefs'd th' effulgence of his glory' abides,
Transfus'd on thee his ample Spirit refts..
He heav'n of heav'ns, and all the pow'rs therein, 390
By thee created; and by thee threw down
Th' afpiring domination: thou that day
Thy Father's dreadful thunder didft not spare,
Nor ftop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that hook
Heav'n's everlafting frame, while o'er the necks 395
Thou drov'it of warring angels difarray'd.
Back from purfuit thy pow'rs with loud acclaim
Thee only extoll'd, Son of thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes.

Not fo on man: him through their malice fall'n, 409
Father of mercy' and grace, thou didst not doom
So ftrictly, but much more to pity inclin'd:
No fooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail man


A violent crofs wind from either coast
Blows them tranfverfe, ten thousand leagues awry
Into the devious air: then might ye fee
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, toft,
And flutter'd into rags; then relics, beads,
Indulgences, difpenfes, pardons, bulls,
The fport of winds: all these upwhirl'd aloft
Fly o'er the backfide of the world far off
Into a limbo large and broad, fince call'd
The Paradife 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 laft a gleam
Of dawning light turn'd thitherward in hafte
His travell'd fteps; far diftant he defcries,
Afcending 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
Embellifh'd thick with fparkling orient gems
The portal fhone, inimitable on earth
By model, or by fhading pencil drawn.
The stairs were fuch as whereon Jacob faw
Angels afcending and defcending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Efau fled
To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz
Dreaming by night under the open íky,
And waking cry'd, This is the gate of heav'n.
Each ftair myfteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to heav'n fometimes
Viewlefs; and underneath a bright fea flow'd
Of jafper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth, failing arriv'd
Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery fteeds.-
The ftairs were then let down, whether to dare
Th' fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate
His fad exclufion from the doors of blifs:
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Juft o'er the blissful feat of Parauife,








« AnteriorContinuar »