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A paffage down to th' earth, a paffage 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 fo dear;
By which, to vifit oft thofe happy tribes,
Oa high behefts, his angels to and fro


Pafs'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood,
To Beerfaba, where the holy land
Borders on Egypt and th' Arabian shore ;
So wide the op'ning feem'd, where bounds were fet
To darknefs, fuch as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hence, now on the lower ftair,
That fcal'd by steps of gold to heaven gate,
Looks down with wonder at the fudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a fcout
Through dark and defert ways with peril gone
All night, at laft by break of chearful dawn
Obtains the brow of fome high climbing hill,
Which to his eye discovers unaware
The goodly profpect of some foreign land
Firft feen, or fome renown'd metropolis
With glift'ring fpires and pinnacles adorn'd,
Which now the rifing fun gilds with his beams:
Such wonder feiz'd, though after heav'n feen,
The fp'rit malign, but much more envy feiz'd,
At fight of all this world beheld so fair.
Round he furveys (and well might, where he stood 555
So nigh above the circling canopy

Of night's extended fhade) from eastern point
Of Libra, to the fleecy ftar that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantic feas,




Beyond th' horizon; then from pole to pole
He views in breadth; and without longer paufe
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
Stars diftant, but nigh hand feem'd other worlds;
Or other worlds they feem'd, or happy ifles,
Like thofe Hefperian gardens fam'd of old.




Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales;
Thrice happy ifles; but who dwelt happy there 570
He stay'd not to enquire. Above them all
The golden fun, in fplendour likeft heaven,
Allur'd his eye; thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament, (but up or down,
By center, or eccentric, hard to tell,
Or longitude), where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar conftellations thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Difpenfes light from far; they as they move
Their ftarry dance in numbers that compute
Days, months, and years, tow'ards his all-chearing lamp
Turn fwift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The univerfe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetration, though unfeen,
Shoots invifible virtue ev'n to the deep;
So wond'routly was fet his station bright.
There lands the fiend, a fpot like which perhaps
Aftronomer in the fun's lucent orb


Through his glaz'd optic tube yet never faw.
The place he found beyond expreffion bright,
Compar'd with ought on earth, metal or stone;
Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd
With radiant light, as glowing ir'on with fire:
If metal, part feem'd gold, part filver clear;
If ftone, carbuncle moft or cryfolite,
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that fhone
In Aaron's breaftplate, and a flone befides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere feen;
That ftone, or like to that which here below
Philofophers in vain fo long have fought,
In vain, though by their pow'rful art they bind
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
In various fhapes old Proteus from the fea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form.
What wonder then if fields and regions here
Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virt'ous touch
Th' arch-chemic fun, so far from us remote,








Produces, with terreftrial humour mix'd,
Here in the dark fo many precious things
Of colour glorious, and effect so rare ?
Here matter new to gaze the devil met
Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands:
For fight no obitacle found here, nor shade,
But all fun fhine, as when his beams at noon
Culminate from th' equator, as they now
Shot upward ftill direct, whence no way round
Shadow from body' opaque can fall; and th' air,
No where fo clear, tharpen'd his vital ray
To objects diftant far, whereby he foon
Saw within ken a glorious angel tand,
The fame whom John faw alfo in the fun;
His back was turn'd, but not his brightness hid;
Of beaming funny rays a golden tiar
Circled his head, nor lefs his locks behind
Illuftrious on his fhoulders fledge with wings
Lay waving round; on fome great charge employ'd
He feem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep.
Glad was the fp'rit impure, as now in hope
To find who might direct his wand'ring flight
To paradife, the happy feat of man,
His journey's end, and our beginning woe.
But first he cafts to change his proper fhape,
Which elfe might work him danger or delay:
And now a ftripling Cherub he appears,
Not of the prime, yet fuch as in his face
Youth fmil'd celestial, and to ev'ry limb
Suitable grace diffus'd, fo well he feign'd :
Under a coronet his flowing hair
In curls on either cheek play'd; wings he wore
Of many a colour'd plume, fprinkled with gold;
His habit fit for fpeed fuccinct, and held
Before his decent steps a filver wand.


He drew not nigh unheard; the angel bright .645
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant vifage turn'd,
Admonifh'd by his ear, and straight was known
Th' archangel Uriel, one of the feven
Who in God's prefence, nearest to his throne,
Stand ready at command, and are his eyes







That run through all the heav'ns, or down to th' earth
Bear his fwift errands, over moist and dry,
O'er fea and land: him Satan thus accosts.

Uriel, for thou of those sev'n sp'rits that stand In fight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 655 The first are wont his great authentic will Interpreter through higheft heav'n to bring, Where all his fons thy embaffy attend; And here art likelieft by fupreme decree Like honour to obtain; and as his eye, To vifit oft this new creation round; Unfpeakable defire to fee, and know All these his wondrous works, but chiefly man, His chief delight and favour, him for whom All these his works fo wondrous he ordain'd, Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim Alone thus wand'ring. Brightest seraph, tell In which of all these fhining orbs hath man His fixed feat, or fixed feat hath none, But all these fhining orbs his choice to dwell; That I may find him, and with fecret gaze admiration him behold,





Or open
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,
The univerfal Maker we may praise;
Who juftly hath driv'n out his rebel foes
To deepest hell, and, to repair that loss,
Created this new happy race of men
To ferve him better: wife are all his ways.


So fpake the falfe diffembler unperceiv'd;
For neither man nor angel can discern
Hypocrify, the only evil that walks
Invifible, except to God alone,
By his permiffive will, through heav'n and earth: 685
And oft though wisdom wake, fufpicion fleeps
At wifdom's gates, and to Simplicity

Refigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill feems, which now for once beguil'd
Uriel, though regent of the fun, and held
The fharpeft-fighted fp'rit of all in heav'n ;



Who to the fradulent impoftor foul,
In his uprightnefs anfwer thus return'd.
Fair Angel, thy defire which tends to know
The works of GOD, thereby to glorify
The great work mafter, leads to no excefs
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
The more it feems excefs, that led thee hither
From thy impereal manfion thus alone,
To witnefs with thine eyes what fome perhaps, 700
Contented with report, hear only in heav'n :
For wonderful indeed are all his works,
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
Had in remembrance always with delight;
But what created mind can comprehend
Their number, or the wifdom infinite
That brought them forth, but hid their caufes deep?
I faw when at his word the formless mafs,
This world's material mould, came to a heap:
Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar
Stood rul'd, ftood vaft infinitude confin'd;
Till at his fecond bidding darkness fled,
Light fhone, and order from diforder fprung:
Swift to their feveral quarters hafted then
The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire,
And this ethereal quinteffence of heaven
Flew upward, fpirited with various forms,
That roll'd orbicular, and turn'd to stars
Numberless, as thou feeft, and how they move;
Each had his place appointed, each his course;
The reft in circuit wall this universe.
Look downward on that globe, whofe hither fide,
With light from hence, though but reflected, thines;
That place is earth, the feat of man; that light
His day, which elfe, as th' other hemifphere,
Night would invade; but there the neighb'ring moon
(So call that oppofite fair ftar) her aid
Timely' interpofes, and her monthly round
Still ending, ftill renewing, through mid heav'n,
With borrow'd light her countenance triform
Hence fills, and empties, to enlighten th' earth,
And in her pale dominion checks the night.







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