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Thy pow'r! What thought can measure thee, or
tongue Relate thee! Greater now in thy return Than from the giant Angels ! thee that day 603 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 610 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 615 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 620 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, 624 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
630 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 635 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 firma ment.
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:
since his own creation, his placing in Paradise, his talk with God concerning solitude and ki society, his first meeting and nuptials with Eve, his discourse with the Angel thereupon; who, after admonitions repeated, de parts. 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 5 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 10 With wonder, but delight, and, as is due, With glory attributed to the High Creator? Something yet of doubt remains, Which only thy solution can resolve. When I behold this goodiy frame, this world, 15 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
20 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 tween 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
25 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 30 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 35 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 Entring on studious thoughts abstruse ; which Eve Perceiving where she sat retired in sigat, 41 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, 45 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 55 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,
60 A 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, this reply'd :
To ask or search I blame thee not; for Heav'n Lo aw the book of God before thee set,
Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn
85 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
90 Or bright infers not excellence: the earth, Though, in comparison of Heav'n, so small, Nor glist'ring, may of solid goud contain More plenty than the sun that barren shines, Whose virtue on itself works no effect,
95 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 100 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 105
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 xxvii. 5.
Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known.
But this I urge, Admitting motion in the Heav'ns, to shew 115 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, 121 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? 125 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?
130 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
135 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 kis ray. What if that light, 140 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 145
122. The Copernican system is now mentioned. 184. Drurnal rhomb, explained in the next line, as, the whed of day and night