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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
Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound
And sons of Men, whom God hath thus advanced, Created in his image, there to dwell
And worship him, and in reward to rule
So sung they, and the empyréan rung
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;
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,
Creator? Something yet of doubt remains,
When I behold this goodiy frame, this world,
Round this opacous earth, this punctual spot,
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
For aught appears, and on their orbs impose
And, touch'd by her fair tendence, gladlier grew.
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
And Raphael, now to Adam's doubt proposed,
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
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,
And for the Heav'n's wide circuit, let it speak
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.
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
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
What if that light,
Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air,
Enlight'ning her by day, as she by night
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