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Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this world was first created; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of Heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory and attendance of Angels to perform the work of creation in six days: the Angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascension into Heaven.



DESCEND from Heav'n, Urania, by that name
If rightly thou art call'd, whose voice divine
Following, above th' Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegaséan wing.

The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwell'st, but, heav'nly born,
Before the hills appear'd, or fountains flow'd,
Thou with eternal wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
In presence of th' almighty Father, pleas'd
With thy celestial song. Up led by thee
Into the Heav'n of Heav'ns I have presum❜d,
An carthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy temp'ring; with like safety guided down
Return me to my native element:

Lest from this flying steed unrein'd, (as once
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime)
Dismounted, on th' Aleian field I fall,
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn.
Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound
Within the visible diurnal sphere;
Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchang'd
To hoarse or mute, though fall'n on evil days,
On evil days though fall'n, and evil tongues;
In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round,
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou






Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east: still govern thou my song,
Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance
Of Bacchus and his revelers, the race

Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard,
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
Her son.
So fail not thou, who thee implores ;
For thou art heav'nly, she an empty dream.

Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphaël,
The affable Archangel, had forewarn'd
Adam by dire example to beware
Apostasy, by what befel in Heaven




To those apostates, lest the like befall

In Paradise to Adam or his race,


Charg'd not to touch the interdicted tree,

If they transgress, and slight that sole command,

So easily obey'd, amid the choice

Of all tastes else to please their appetite,

Though wand'ring. He with his consorted Eve


The story heard attentive, and was fill'd

With admiration and deep muse, to hear

Of things so high and strange, things to their thought

So unimaginable as hate in Heaven,

And war so near the peace of God in bliss


With such confusion: but the evil soon

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Of Heav'n and Earth conspicuous first began,

When, and whereof created, for what cause,

What within Eden or without was done


Before his memory; as one whose drought,
Yet scarce allay'd, still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
Proceeded thus to ask his heav'nly guest.

"Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal'd, Divine interpreter, by favour sent

Down from the empyrean to forewarn

Us timely' of what might else have been our loss,
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach:
For which to th' infinitely Good we owe
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment.
Receive, with solemn purpose to observe
Immutably his sov'reign will, the end

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Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsaf'd
Gently for our instruction to impart

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Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem'd,
Deign to descend now lower, and relate

What may no less perhaps avail us known;

How first began this Heav'n which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd
Innumerable, and this which yields or fills
All space, the ambient air wide interfus'd
Embracing round this florid earth;
what cause
Mov'd the Creator, in his holy rest
Through all eternity, so late to build
In Chaos, and, the work begun, how soon
Absolv'd, if unforbid thou may'st unfold
What we, not to explore the secrets, ask
Of his eternal empire, but the more

To magnify his works, the more we know.
And the great light of day yet wants to run.
Much of his race though steep; suspense in Heaven,
Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears,

And longer will delay to hear thee tell

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His generation, and the rising birth

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