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Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food
In jointed armour watch. On smooth the seal,
And bended dolphins play: part huge of bulk
Wallowing unwieldy', enormous in their gait,
Tempest the ocean: there leviathan,
Hugest of living creatures, on the deep
Stretch'd like a promontory, sleeps or swims;
And seems a moving land, and at his gills
Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea.
Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores
Their brood as num'rous hatch, from th' egg that soon
Bursting with kindly rupture forth disclosed
Their callow young, but feather'd soon and fledge 420
They summ'd their pens, and soaring th' air sublime,
With clang despised the ground, under a cloud
In prospect: there the eagle and the stork
On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build:
Part loosely wing the region, part more wise

In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way,
Intelligent of seasons, and set forth

Their aëry caravan high over seas

Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing,


Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane 430 Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air


Floats as they pass, fann'd with unnumber'd plumes.
From branch to branch the smaller birds with song
Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings
Till ev'n, nor then the solemn nightingale
Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays :
Others on silver lakes and rivers bathed
Their downy breast. The swan with arched neck
Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit
The dank, and rising on stiff pennons, tow'r
The mid aëreal sky: others on ground


Walk'd firm; the crested cock, whose clarion sounds

The silent hours, and th' other whose gay train
Adorns him, coloured with the florid hue


410. Bended, because so appearing when sporting in the sea. 421. Pens, from the Latin penna, a feather. Summ'd, a term in falconry, meaning full grown.

423. Job xxxix. 27, 28.

435. Milton's fondness for the nightingale is remarkably shewn in his repeated allusions to that bird.

Of rainbows and starry' eyes. The waters thus
With fish replenish'd, and the air with fowl
Ev'ning and morn solemnized the fifth day.
The sixth, and of creation last, arose


With ev'ning harps and matin, when God said, 450
Let th' earth bring forth soul-living in her kind,
Cattle and creeping things, and beast of th' earth,
Each in their kind. The earth obey'd; and straight
Opening her fertile womb, teem'd at a birth
Innum'rons living creatures, perfect forms,
Limb'd and full grown. Out of the ground up rose
As from his lair the wild beast, where he wons
In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den;
Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walk'd:
The cattle in the fields and meadows green :
Those rare and solitary, these in flocks,
Past'ring at once, and in broad herds upsprung.
The grassy clods now calved; now half appear'd
The tawny lion, pawing to get free




His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds,
And rampant shakes his brinded mane: the ounce,
The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole
Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw
In hillocs the swift stag from under ground
Bore up his lanching head; scarce from his mould
Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved
His vastness; fleeced the flocks and bleating rose,
As plants: ambiguous between sea and land

The river-horse and scaly crocodile.

At once came forth whatever creeps the ground, 475
Insect or worm: those waved their limber fans
For wings, and smallest lineaments exact
In all the liveries deck'd of summer's pride,
With spots of gold and purple', azure and green:
These as a line their long dimension drew,
Streaking the ground with sinuous trace; not all
Minims of nature; some of serpent kind,
Wondrous in length and corpulence, involved
Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept


467. The libbard, the leopard, the word is used by Spenser and others

471. The Behemoth is supposed by Bochart to be the river. horse. 482. Minims, from the Latin Minima.


The parsimonious emmet, provident

Of future, in small room large heart inclosed,
Pattern of just equality perhaps

Hereafter, join'd in her popular tribes

Of commonalty: swarming next appear'd
The female bee, that feeds her husband drone
Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells
With honey stored. The rest are numberless,
And thou their natures know'st, and gav'st them
Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown
The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field,
Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes
And hairy mane terrific, though to thee
Not noxious, but obedient at thy call.






Now Heav'n in all her glory shone, and roll'd Her motions, as the great first Mover's hand First wheel'd their course; earth in her rich attire Consummate lovely smiled; air, water, earth, By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walk'd Frequent; and of the sixth day yet remain'd; There wanted yet the master-work, the end Of all yet done; a creature who not prone And brute as other creatures, but endued With sanctity of reason, might erect His stature, and upright with front serene


Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence 510 Magnanimous to correspond with Heav'n,

But grateful to acknowledge whence his good Descends; thither with heart, and voice, and eyes Directed in devotion, to adore

And worship God supreme, who made him chief 515 Of all his works. Therefore th' Omnipotent

Eternal Father (for where is not he

Present?) thus to his Son audibly spake :

Let us make now Man in our image, Man

In our similitude, and let them rule

Over the fish and fowl of sea and air,


Beast of the field, and over all the earth,

And ev'ry creeping thing that creeps the ground.
This said, he form'd thee, Adam, thee, O Man,
Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed 525

497. Virgil describes the serpent as having a mane.

The breath of life in his own image he
Created thee, in the image of God

Express; and thou becam'st a living soul.

Male he created thee, but thy consort

Female for race; then bless'd mankind, and said, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth,


Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold

Over fish of the sea, and fowl of th' air,

And ev'ry living thing that moves on th' earth.
Wherever thus created, for no place


Is yet distinct by name, thence, as thou know'st
He brought thee into this delicious grove,
This garden, planted with the trees of God,
Delectable both to behold and taste;

And freely all their pleasant fruit for food


Gave thee; all sorts are here that all th' earth yields, Variety without end; but of the tree,

Which, tasted, works knowledge of good and evil,
Thou may'st not; in the day thou eat'st, thou dy'st;
Death is the penalty imposed; beware,
And govern well thy appetite, lest Sin


Surprise thee, and her black attendant Death.
Here finish'd he, and all that he had made
View'd, and behold all was entirely good ;

So even and morn accomplish'd the sixth day:
Yet not till the Creator from his work
Desisting, though unweary'd, up return'd,


Up to the Heav'n of Heav'ns, his high abode,
Thence to behold this new-created worid,
Th' addition of his empire, how it shew'd


In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair,
Answ'ring his great idea. Up he rode,
Follow'd with acclamation, and the sound
Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned
Angelic harmonies. The earth, the air

Resounded (thou remember'st, for thou heard'st);
The Heav'ns, and all the constellations rung;
The planets in their station list'ning stood,
While the bright pomp ascended jubilant.


563. The word station is a scientific term, and signifies the place of a planet when it appears at rest in its orbit.


Open, ye everlasting gates, they sung;
Open, ye Heav'ns, your living doors: let in
The great Creator from his work return'd
Magnificent, his six days' work, a world;
Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign
To visit oft the dwellings of just men
Delighted, and with frequent intercourse
Thither will send his winged messengers
On errands of supernal grace. So sung



The glorious train ascending. He through Heav'n,
That open'd wide her blazing portals, led
To God's eternal house direct the way:


A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold,

And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear,
Seen in the galaxy, that milky way,

Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest


Powder'd with stars. And now on earth the seventh

Ev'ning arose in Eden, for the sun

Was set, and twilight from the east came on,
Forerunning night; when at the holy mount
Of Heav'n's high-seated top, th' imperial throne 585
Of Godhead, fix'd for ever firm and sure,

The Filial Pow'r arrived, and sat him down
With his great Father (for he also went
Invisible) yet stay'd (such privilege

Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordain'd

Author and End of all things, and from work


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Now resting, bless'd and hallow'd the sev'nth day,
As resting on that day from all his work,
But not in silence holy kept: the harp
Had work and rested not, the solemn pipe,
And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop,
All sounds on fret by string or golden wire,
Temper'd soft tunings, intermix'd with voice
Choral or unison of incense clouds
Fuming from golden censers hid the mount.
Creation and the six days' acts they sung:
Great are thy works, Jehovah! infinite


565. Ps. xxiv. 7. which was sung when the ark was carried into the sanctuary of the temple on Mount Sion.

581. There is a similar expression in Chaucer.

597. The divisions on the finger board of a violin are called 599. Rev. viii. 3, 4.


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