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dicite omnia

opera

Speak, ye who best can tell, ye Sons of light, 160 Bene-
Angels for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing-ye in Heaven;
On Earth join, all ye creatures, to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of Stars, last in the train of Night,
If better thou belong not to the Dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling

morn

With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime. 170
Thou Sun, of this great World both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou
fall'st.

180

Moon, that now meet'st the orient Sun, now fliest,
With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering Fires, that move
In mystic dance, not without song, resound
His praise who out of Darkness called up Light.
Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix
And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the World's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, 190
Rising or falling, still advance his praise.

I

On to His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters their blow, morning's Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye work they haste Pines,

With every Plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living Souls. Ye Birds,
That, singing, up to Heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep,
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord! Be bounteous still
To give us only good; and, if the night
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.'

So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm. 210
On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers, where any row
Of fruit-trees, over-woody, reached too far
Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to
check

200

Fruitless embraces or they led the vine
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him

called

220

Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned

Raphael's

To travel with Tobias, and secured
His marriage with the seven-times-wedded maid. errand
'Raphael,' said he, 'thou hear'st what stir on
Earth

Satan, from Hell scaped through the darksome
Gulf,

Hath raised in Paradise, and how disturbed
This night the human pair; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.

Go, therefore; half this day, as friend with
friend,

Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade 230
Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retired
To respite his day-labour with repast
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on
As may advise him of his happy state-
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free
Yet mutable. Whence warn him to beware
He swerve not, too secure: tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting

240

now

The fall of others from like state of bliss.
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies. This let him know,
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.'

So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled
All justice. Nor delayed the wingéd Saint
After his charge received; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, upspringing

light,

250

A Flew through the midst of Heaven. descrip- angelic quires, tion of On each hand parting, to his speed gave way Raphael Through all the empyreal road, till, at the gate, Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide, On golden hinges turning, as by work Divine the sovran Architect had framed. From hencee—no cloud or, to obstruct his sight, Star interposed, however small-he sees, Not unconform to other shining globes,

Earth, and the Garden of God, with cedars crowned

260

The

Above all hills; as when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the Moon;
Or pilot from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing kens,
A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady
wing

270

Now on the polar winds; then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air, till, within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phoenix, gazed by all, as that sole bird,
When, to enshrine his relics in the Sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns,
A Seraph winged. Six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine: the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad came mantling o'er his

breast

With regal ornament; the middle pair

280

Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipt in heaven; the third his feet
Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail,
Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance

filled

The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands

Of Angels under watch, and to his state
And to his message high in honour rise;
For on some message high they guessed him
bound.

290

Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm,
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will
Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
Him, through the spicy forest onward come,
Adam discerned, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bower, while now the mounted Sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays, to warm
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam

301

A

wilder

ness of sweets

needs;

And Eve, within, due at her hour, prepared
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky

stream,

:

Berry or grape: to whom thus Adam called :Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold

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