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Thy pow'r! What thought can measure thee, or


Relate thee! Greater now in thy return

Than from the giant Angels! thee that day
Thy thunders magnify'd! but to create,
Is greater than created to destroy.


Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound
Thy empire! Easily the proud attempt
Of Spirits apostate and their counsels vain
Thou hast repell'd, while impiously they thought
Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw
The number of thy worshippers. Who seeks
To lessen thee, against his purpose serves
To manifest the more thy might his evil
Thou usest, and from thence creat'st more good.
Witness this new-made world, another Heav'n
From Heav'n-gate not far, founded in view
On the clear Hyaline, the glassy sea:
Of amplitude almost immense, with stars
Num'rous, and ev'ry star perhaps a world
Of destined habitation; but thou know'st
Their seasons: among these the seat of Men,
Earth with her nether ocean circumfused,
Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy Men,





And sons of Men, whom God hath thus advanced, Created in his image, there to dwell

And worship him, and in reward to rule
Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air,
And multiply a race of worshippers
Holy and just! thrice happy if they know
Their happiness, and persevere upright!


So sung they, and the empyréan rung
With Halleluiahs. Thus was Sabbath kept.
And thy request think now fulfill'd, that ask'd
How first this world and face of things began,
And what before thy memory was done


From the beginning, that posterity

Inform'd by thee might know; if else thou seek'st Aught, not surpassing human measure, say.


605. Giant, not in allusion to their stature it is supposed, but to their pride and fierceness.

624. Nether, to distinguish it from the water? above the firmament.



Adam inquires concerning celestial motions; is doubtfully anrwered, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge: Adam assents: and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he ren:embered since his own creation, his placing in Paradise, his talk with God concerning solitude and At society, his first meeting and nuptials with Eve, his discourse with the Angel thereupon; who, after admonitions repeated, departs.

THE Angel ended, and in Adam's ear

So charming left his voice, that he awhile

Thought him still speaking, still stood fix'd to hear;
Then, as new waked, thus gratefully reply'd:
What thanks sufficient, or what recompense
Equal have I to render thee, divine


Historian, who thus largely hast allay'd

The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed

This friendly condescension to relate

Things else by me unsearchable, now heard


With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
With glory attribúted to the High

Creator? Something yet of doubt remains,
Which only thy solution can resolve.

When I behold this goodiy frame, this world,
Of Heav'n and Earth consisting, and compute
Their magnitudes; this earth, a spot, a grain,
An atom, with the firmament compared
And all her number'd stars, that seem to roll
Spaces incomprehensible (for such
Their distance argues, and their swift return
Diurnal) merely to officiate light

Round this opacous earth, this punctual spot,
One day and night, in all their vast survey



15. Allusion is made in the following part of the discourse be ween Raphael and Adam, to the two most celebrated systems of astronomy, those of Ptolemy and Copernicus: the difference in which was, that the former made the earth, the latter the sun, the centre of the universe. Adam speaks in allusion to the Ptolemaic system, and the Angel answers by detailing the usual explanations formerly given of the difficulties alleged.

19. Number'd, Ps. cxlvii. 4.

Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire
How Nature, wise and frugal, could commit
Such disproportions, with superfluous hand
So many nobler bodies to create,
Greater, so manifold to this one use,




For aught appears, and on their orbs impose
Such restless revolution, day by day
Repeated, while the sedentary earth,
That better might with far less compass move,
Served by more noble than herself, attains
Her end without least motion, and receives
As tribute, such a sumless journey brought
Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light;
Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails.
So spake our sire, and by his count'nance seem'd
Ent'ring on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve
Perceiving where she sat retired in signt,
With lowliness majestic from her seat,
And grace that won who saw to wish her stay,
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flow'rs,
To visit how they prosper'd, bud and bloom,
Her nursery they at her coming sprung,

And, touch'd by her fair tendence, gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse

Delighted, or not capable her ear



Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved, 50 Adam relating, she sole auditress ;

Her husband, the relator, she preferr'd

Before the Angel, and of him to ask

Chose rather. He, she knew, would intermix

Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute


With conjugal caresses; from his lip

Not words alone pleased her. O when meet now

Such pairs, in love and mutual honour join'd!

With Goddess-like demeanour forth she went,

Not unattended, for on her, as queen,



pomp of winning graces waited still,

And from about her shot darts of desire
Into all eyes to wish her still in sight.

And Raphael, now to Adam's doubt proposed,
Benevolent and facile, thus reply'd:


To ask or search I blame thee not; for Heav'n

Is as the book of God before thee set,

Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years.
This to attain, whether Heav'n move or Earth,
Imports not, if thou reckon right: the rest
From Man or Angel the Great Architect
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge
His secrets, to be scann'd by them who ought
Rather admire: or if they list to try
Conjecture, he his fabric of the Heav'ns
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
Hereafter, when they come to model Heav'n
And calculate the stars, how they will wield
The mighty frame, how build, unbuild, contrive
To save appearances, how gird the sphere
With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er,
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb.

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Already by thy reasoning this I guess,


Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest

That bodies bright and greater should not serve

The less not bright, nor Heav'n such journeys run,

Earth sitting still, when she alone receives

The benefit. Consider first, that great


Or bright infers not excellence: the earth,
Though, in comparison of Heav'n, so small,
Nor glist'ring, may of solid good contain
More plenty than the sun that barren shines,
Whose virtue on itself works no effect,
But in the fruitful earth; there first received
His beams, unactive else, their vigour find.
Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries
Officious, but to thee earth's habitant.


And for the Heav'n's wide circuit, let it speak
The Maker's high magnificence, who built
So spacious, and his line stretch'd out so far,
That man may know he dwells not in his own:
An edifice too large for him to fill,


Lodged in a small partition, and the rest


80. Calculate, to observe scientifically.

83. Centric, or concentric, are spheres whose centre is the same with that of the earth.-Eccentric are the contrary.-Cycle is a circle, and Epicycle a circle upon a circle. They are terms invented by the Ptolemaics, and used in explaining their system. 102. Job xxviii. 5.

Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known.
The swiftness of those circles attribute,
Though numberless, to his omnipotence,
That to corporeal substances could add


Speed almost spiritual. Me thou think'st not slow, Who since the morning-hour set out from Heav'n, Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived

But this I urge,

In Eden, distance inexpressible
By numbers that have name.
Admitting motion in the Heav'ns, to shew
Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved;
Not that I so affirm, though so it seem


To thee who hast thy dwelling here on earth.

God, to remove his ways from human sense,

Placed Heav'n from Earth so far, that earthly sight,

If it presume, might err in things too high,


And no advantage gain. What if the sun

Be centre to the world, and other stars,

By his attractive virtue and their own

Incited, dance about him various rounds?


Their wand'ring course now high, now low, then hid, Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,

In six thou seest, and what if sev'nth to these
The planet earth, so steadfast though she seem,
Insensibly three diff'rent motions move?
Which else to sev'ral spheres thou must ascribe,
Moved contrary with thwart obliquities,
Or save the sun his labour, and that swift
Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb, supposed,
Invisible else above all stars, the wheel
Of day and night; which needs not thy belief,
If earth industrious of herself fetch day
Travelling east, and with her part averse
From the sun's beam meet night, her other part
Still luminous by his ray.




What if that light,

Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air,
To the terrestrial moon, be as a star

Enlight'ning her by day, as she by night
This earth? reciprocal, if land be there,

Fields and inhabitants. Her spots thou seest


122. The Copernican system is now mentioned. 134. Diurnal rhomb, explained in the next line, as, the wheel of day and night

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