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Moved on,

with difficulty and labour he;

But, he once past, soon after, when man fell,

Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain,

Following his track, such was the will of Heaven, 1025 Paved after him a broad and beaten way

Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf

Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length,
From Hell continued, reaching th' utmost orb

Of this frail world; by which the Spirits perverse 1030
With easy intercourse pass to and fro

To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
God and good Angels guard by special grace.
But now at last the sacred influence

Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night
A glimmering dawn; here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire,
As from her outmost works a broken foe,
With tumult less and with less hostile din ;
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease,
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds

Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn ;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off th' empyreal Heaven, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorned
Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
This pendent world, in bigness as a star

1043. Holds gladly the port.] The ship may be said to "hold the port" when she is fairly into it, after having successfully struggled with all manner of adverse winds and currents. Horace begins one of his odes thus:

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"O navis, referent in mare te novi

Fluctus. O quid agis? fortiter occupa
Portum."-Book i. 15.

1047. Weighs his spread wings.] The Richardsons explain this to mean, "As a large fowl, suspending himself in the air, seems to weigh one wing against the other, and he continues some time thus hovering." This picture of the adversary nearing the





earth, is not unlike a passage in Campbell's magnificent ode to The Dead Eagle. I can only spare room for a few lines, but the whole poem is every way worthy of the author of The Pleasures of Hope.

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Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, Accursed, and in a curséd hour, he hies.

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makes any star, that happens to be near her disc, to seem exceedingly small, and almost disappear.- NEWTON.

1054-1055. Thither, full fraught, fc.] He hastens to the earth, filled to overflowing with deadly revenge, accursed in himself, and in a cursed or unfortunate hour for the race of man. "Fraught" is the perf. part. of the verb to freight; and "hies" is from an old Saxon word signifying to hasten.




"A mightier poet, tried at once by pain, danger, poverty, obloquy, and blindness, meditated, undisturbed by the obscene tumult which raged all around him, a song so sublime and so holy, that it would not misbecome the lips of those ethereal Virtues whom he saw, with that inner eye which no calamity could darken, flinging down on. the jasper pavement their crowns of amaranth and gold."

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God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; foreteis 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 divine 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 accepts 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 Vanity;" 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 Uriël, the regent of that orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner Angel, but, pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and Man whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed: alights first on Mount Niphates.



HAIL, holy Light! offspring of Heaven first-born,
Or of th' Eternal coeternal beam

May I express thee unblamed? since God is light,
And never but in unapproachéd 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
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,

Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,

1. Hail, holy Light, &c.] "Hail" is now used pretty much as an interjection; but originally it is the imperative of a Saxon verb signifying "to be well in health." We have here one of the finest apostrophes to be found in the language. Light is called "holy," because "God is light," &c. It is the first-born offspring of Heaven, because we read, Gen. i. 3., that the first work of creation was the calling of light into existence- -"Let there be light, and there was light."

2-6. Or of the Eternal, &c.] In calling light "the offspring of Heaven," Milton is not sure that he has done it honour enough. It would appear rather to be of the essence of God, than an emanation from him, and so never to have been properly created at all.

7. Or hear'st thou rather, &c.] ie. wouldst thou rather be invoked as the pure ethereal stream? The ancients were very cautious by what names and in what manner they addressed their deities, in imitation of whom Milton is so, in this hymn to light. May I




have leave to call thee "coeternal beam," &c., or wouldst thou rather be addressed as "pure ethereal stream?" &c. 8. Whose fountain who shall tell?] "Where is the way, where light dwelleth?" says Job, xxxviii. 19. We know not whence the light was that shone on this new world, rising out of chaos. Was it taken from something previously existing, or was it truly created from nothing? Who can tell?

11. The rising world of waters, &c.] i. e. the world in the actual process of formation. The world was only in a state of fluidity when light was created.

13. Thee I revisit now with bolder wing.] I revisit thee (Light) with bolder wing. The poet comes "with bolder wing," because he feels more at home, so to speak, where light is, than in groping his way in the nether regions.

16. Through utter and through middle darkness borne.] i. e. through hell, which is often called utter darkness, and through the great gulf between hell and heaven, which may be called middle darkness.

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