« AnteriorContinuar »
Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Say, goddess, what ensued when Raphaël, 40 The affable arch-angel, had forewarn'd Adam, by dire example, to beware A postacy, by what befel in Heav'n To those apostates, lest the like befal 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 50 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
55 With such confusion: but the evil, soon Driv'n back, redounded as a flood on those From whom it sprung, impossible to mix With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeald The doubts that in his heart arose : and now 60 Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know What nearer might concern him ; how this world Of Heav'n and Earth conspicuous first began; When, and whereof created; for what cause; What within Eden or without was done
65 Before his memory; as one whose drouth, Yet scarce allay'd, still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
“ Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, 70
76 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 80 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; 85 How first began this Heav'n which we behold Distant so high, 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 90 Mov'd the Creator, in his holy rest Through all eternity, so late to build In Chaos, and, the work begun, how soon Absolv’d, if unforbid thou may'st untold What we, not to explore the secrets, ask of his eternal empire, but the more To magnify his works, the more we know. And the great light of day yet wants to run Much of his race though steep; suspense in Heav'n, Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears, 100 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 105 Silence; and sleep, listning thee, will watch;
Or we ean bid his absence, till thy song
Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought:
“ This also thy request, with caution ask'd, Obtain: though to rt count almighty works What words or tongue of seraph can suffice, Or heart of man suffice to comprehend? Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 115 To glorify the Maker, and infer Thee also happier, shall not be witliheld Thy hearing; such commission from above I have receiv'd, to answer thy desire of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain 130 To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope Things not reveald, which th' invisible King, Only omniscient, hath suppress’d in night, To none communicable in Earth or Heav'n: Enough is left besides to search and know. 125 But knowledge is as food, and needs no less Her temp'rance over appetite, to know In measure what the mind may well contain; Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns Wisdom to folly', as nourishment to wind.
130 “ Know then, that, after Lucifer from Heaven (So call him, brighter once amidst the host Of angels, than that star the stars among) Fell with his flaming legions through the deep Into his place, and the great Son return'd 135 Victorious with his saints, th'omnipotent Eternal Father from his throne beheld Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.
666 At least our envious foe hath faild, who thought All like bimself rebellious, by whose aid
140 This inaccessible high strength, the stat Of Deity supreme, us dispossessid, He trusted to have seiz’d, and into fraud Drew many, whom their place knows here no more; Yet far the greater part have kept, I see, 145
Their station; Heav'n, yet populous, retains
155 of men innumerable, there to dwell, Not here, till, by degrees of merit rais'd, They open to themselves át length the way Up hither, under long obedience try'd, And Earth be chang'd to Heav'n, and Heav'n to Earth ; One kingdom joy and union without end. 161 Meanwhile inhabit lax, yè pow'rs of Heav'n; And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee This I perform; speak thou, and be it done! My overshadowing spirit and might with thee 165 I send along; ride forth, and bid the deep Within appointed bounds be Heav'n and Earth, Boundless the deep, because I Am who fill Infinitude, nor vacuous the space. Though I, uncircumscrib'd myself, retire, 176 And jüt not forth my goodness, which is free To act or not, necessity and chance Approach not me, and what I will is fate.'
" So spake th' Almighty, and to what he spake His Word, the filial Godhead, gave effect. 175 Immediate are the acts of God, more swift Than time or motion, but to human ears Cannot without procéss of speech be told, So told as earthly notion can receive. Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heavin, 180 When such was heari de clar'a th' Almighty's will; Glory they sung to the most High, good will To future men, and in their dwellings peace; Glory to him, whose just avenging ire
Had driven out th’ ungodly from his sight 185
“ So sang the hierarchies: meanwhile the Son
** Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace,' Said then th' omnific Word, your discord end !' 217 Nor stay'd, but, on the wings of cherubim Uplifted, in paternal glory rode Far into Chaos, and the world unborn;
220 For Chaos heard his voice: him all his train Follow'd in bright procession, to behold Creation, and the wonders of bis might.