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ADAM inquires concerning celestial motions; is doubt- Adam's fully answered, and exhorted to search rather things thanks more worthy of knowledge. Adam assents, and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remembered since his own creation-his placing in Paradise; his talk with God concerning solitude and fit 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 a while
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to


Then, as new-waked, thus gratefully replied:-
What thanks sufficient, or what recompense
Equal, have I to render thee, divine
Historian, who thus largely hast allayed
The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsafed
This friendly condescension, to relate

Things else by me unsearchable-now heard ro
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,

With glory áttributed to the high

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

When I behold this goodly frame, this World,

From Of Heaven and Earth consisting, and compute studious Their magnitudes-this Earth, a spot, a grain, thoughts An atom, with the Firmament compared


Eve And all her numbered stars, that seem to roil retires 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
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 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,
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 countenance

Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which

Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight,
With lowliness majestic from her seat,


And grace that won who saw to wish her stay,
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and

To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom,
Her nursery; they at her coming sprung,

And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. The
Yet went she not as not with such discourse
Delighted, or not capable her ear

Of what was high. Such pleasure she reserved,
Adam relating, she sole auditress;

Her husband the relater she preferred

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. Oh, when meet


Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined?
With goddess-like demeanour forth she went,
Not unattended; for on her as Queen
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 thus replied:-


To ask or search I blame thee not; for

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 Heaven move or Earth 70
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 scanned by them who ought
Rather admire. Or, if they list to try
Conjecture, he his fabric of the Heavens
Hath left to their disputes-perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide

quaint opinions of theorists

Bright Hereafter, when they come to model heaven, infers And calculate the stars; how they will wield 80 not excel- The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive lence To save appearances; how gird the Sphere

With Centric and Eccentric scribbled o'er,
Cycle and Epicycle, Orb in Orb.
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 Heaven such journeys



Earth sitting still, when she alone receives
The benefit. Consider, first, that great
Or bright infers not excellence. The Earth,
Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small,
Nor glistering, 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 Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak 100
The Maker's high magnificence, who built
So spacious, and his line stretched 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
Ordained 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

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Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven What Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived

In Eden-distance inexpressible

By numbers that have name.

But this I urge,

Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show
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 Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly


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 wandering course, now high, now low,
then hid,

Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,


In six thou seest; and what if, seventh to these,
The planet Earth, so steadfast though she seem,
Insensibly three different motions move?
Which else to several 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, 140
Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air,
To the terrestrial Moon be as a star,

if Earth be a


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