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God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shews him to the Son who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free, and able enough to have withstood his tempter; yet declares his purpose of Grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man; but God again declares, that Grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice: Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore, with all his progeny devoted to death, must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for Man. The Father ac cepts him; ordains his incarnation; pronounces his exaltation above all names in Heaven and Earth; commands all the Angels to adore him: they obey, and, hymning to their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where, wandering, he first finds a place, since called 'The Limbo of Vauity;' what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the gate of Heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it. His passage thence to the orb of the sun: he finds there Uriel, the regent of that Orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner Angel, and, pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and Man whom God had placed here, enquires of him the place of his habitation, and is di rected; alights first on mount Niphates.



HAIL, holy Light, offspring of Heav'n first born!
Or of th' Eternal coeternal beam

May I express thee' unblam'd? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather, pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell? before the sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and, at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle didst invest

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The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite. 191
Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to th❜ Orphéan lyre,

I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,

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Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sov'reign vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick, d. Yet not the more
drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion

Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief





Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,


That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow, Unasti

Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget

Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equalled with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
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
Presented with an universal blank




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



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Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse that I may see and tell

Of things invisible to mortal sight.


Now had th' almighty Father from above,

From the pure empyréan where he sits

High thron'd above all height, bent down his eye,

His own works and their works at once to view.
About him all the Sanctities of Heav'n


Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd
Beatitude past utterance, on his right
The radiant image of his glory sat,
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, cuillant

Uninterrupted joy, unrivall❜d love, 1

In blissful solitude; he then survey'd

Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coasting the wall of Heav'n on this side Night

In the dun air sublime, and ready now ondeur
To stoop, with wearied wings and willing feet,
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land embosom'd, without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.

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Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage
Transports our Adversary, whom no bounds
Prescrib'd, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains
Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss,
Wide interrupt can hold? so bent he seems
On desperate revenge, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now

Through all restraint broke lose, 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 assay


If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert,
For Man will hearken to his glozing lies,f
And easily transgress the sole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall
He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault?
Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me
All he could have; I made him just and right
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all the ethereal Powers

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And Spirits, both them who stood and them who fail'd;
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.

Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere



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