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HALL, holy Light! offspring of Heav'n firft-born!

Or of th' Eternal coeternal beam!

May I express thee' unblam'd? fince God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity; dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright effence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who fhall tell? Before the fun,
Before the heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle didft invest
The rifing world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revifit now with bolder wing,




Efcap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obfcure fojourn; while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to th' Orphéan lyre,
I fung of Chaos and eternal Night,


Taught by the heav'nly Mufe to venture down,
The dark defcent, and up to reafcend,
Though hard and rare. Thee I revifit fafe,
And feel thy fov'reign vital lamp; but thou
Revifit'ft not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop ferene hath quench'd their orbs, 25.


Or dim fuffufion veil'd. Yet not the more
Ceafe I to wander, where the Mufes haunt
Clear spring, or fhady grove, or funny hill,
Smit with the love of facred fong; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I vifit: nor fometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris, and blind Mæonides,
And Tirefias, and Phineus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in fhadieft covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seafons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or fight of vernal bloom, or fummer's rofe,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Prefented with an univerfal blank

Of nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite fhut out.
So much the rather thou, celeftial Light,

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Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mift from thence

Purge and difperfe, that I may fee and tell

Of things invifible to mortal fight.


'Now had th' almighty Father from above,

From the pure empyréan where he fits

High thron'd above all height, bent down his eye,
His own works and their works at once to view:
About him all the fanctities of heaven


Stood thick as ftars, and from his fight receiv'd


Beatitude paft utterance: on his right
The radiant image of his glory fat,
His only Son. On earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love
Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love,
In blissful folitude. He then furvey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coafting the wall of heav'n on this fide Night
In the dun air fublime, and ready now
To stoop, with wearied wings and willing feet
On the bare outside of this world, that feem'd
Firm land imbofom'd, without firmament;
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his profpect high,
Wherein paft, prefent, future, he beholds,
Thus to his only Son forefeeing spake.





Only begotten Son, feeft thou what rage Tranfports our adverfary? whom no bounds Prefcrib'd, no bars of hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Wide interrupt can hold; fo bent he seems On defperate revenge, that fhall redound Upon his own rebellious head. And now, Through all refraint broke loofe, he wings his way Not far off heav'n, in the precincts of light,

Directly towards the new-created world,


And man there plac'd, with purpose to effay


If him by force he can deftroy, or worfe,
By fome falfe guile pervert; and fhall pervert;
For man will hearken to his gloffing lies,
And easily tranfgrefs the fole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: fo will fall,
He and his faithlefs progeny. Whose fault?
Whofe but his own? Ingrate, he had of me



All he could have: I made him juft and right,
Sufficient to have ftood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th' ethereal powers

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And fpirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd;
Freely they flood who ftood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have giv'n fincere
Of true allegiance, conftant faith or love,

Where only what they needs must do appear'd, 105
Not what they would? what praise could they receive?
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,

When will and reason (reason alfo' is choice,)
Ufelefs and vain, of freedom both defpoil'd,
Made paffive both, had ferv'd neceffity,

Not me? They therefore, as to right belong'd,
So were created, nor can juftly' accufe


Their Maker, or their making, or their fate,
As if predeftination over-rul'd

Their will, difpos'd by abfolute decree



Or high foreknowledge. They themselves decreed
Their own revolt, not I: if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without leaft impulfe or fhadow' of fate,
Or ought by me immutably foreseen,
They trefpafs, authors to themselves in all,
Both what they judge and what they chufe; for fo
I form'd them free, and free they muft remain,
Till they inthrall themfelves; I elfe muft change 125
Their nature, and revoke the high decree
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd

Their freedom; they themselves ordain'd their fall.
The first fort by their own fuggestion fell,

Self-tempted, felf-deprav'd: man falls, deceiv'd 130 By th' other firft: man therefore shall find grace, The other none: in mercy' and juftice both, Through heaven and earth, fo fhall my glory' excel;


But mercy first and last shall brightest shine.


Thus while God fpake, ambrofial fragrance fill'd
All heaven, and in the bleffed fpirits elect
Senfe of new joy ineffable diffus'd:

Beyond compare the Son of God was feen
Moft glorious; in him all his Father hone
Subftantially exprefs'd; and in his face
Divine compaffion vifibly appear'd,
Love without end, and without measure grace;
Which uttering thus be to his Father spake.


O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd
Thy fov'reign fentence, that man fhould find grace;
For which both heav'n and earth shall high extol 146
Thy praises, with th' innumerable found
Of hymns and facred fongs, wherewith thy throne
Incompafs'd fhall refound thee ever blefs'd.
For fhould man finally be loft, fhould man
Thy creature late fo lov'd, thy youngest fon,
Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd
With his own folly? that be from thee far,
That far be from thee, Father, who art judge
Of all things made, and judgest only right.
Or fhall the adverfary thus obtain

His end, and fruftrate thine? fhall he fulfil
His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought,
Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,
Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to hell
Draw after him the whole race of mankind,
By him corrupted? or wilt thou thyself
Abolish thy creation, and unmake




For him, what for thy glory thou haft made ?
So fhould thy goodness and thy greatness both 165
Be queftion'd and blafphem'd without defence.

To whom the great Creator thus reply'd.
O Son, in whom my foul hath chief delight,
Son of my bofom, Son who art alone


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