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Celestial, whether among the thrones, or nam'd
Of them the highest, for such of shape may seem
Prince above princes, gently hast thou told
Thy message, which might else in telling wound,
And in performing end us; what besides
Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair,
Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring,
Departure from this happy place, our sweet
Recess, and only consolation left
Familiar to our eyes; all places else
Inhospitable appear and desolate,
Nor knowing us nor known; and if by prayer
Incessant I could hope to change the will
Of him who all things can, I would not cease
To weary him with my assiduous cries.
But prayer against his absolute decree
No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth:
Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
This most afflicts me, that departing hence
As from his face I shall be hid, depriv'd
His blessed count'nance; here I could frequent,
With worship, place by place, where he vouchsaf'd
Presence divine, and to my sons relate,
'On this mount he appear'd, under this tree
Stood visible, among these pines his voice
I heard, here with him at this fountain talk'd:'
So many grateful altars I would rear
grassy turf, and pile up every stone
310 weary] So Hor. Od. i. ii. 26. 'Prece qua fatigent.' Todd.
Of lustre from the brook, in memory,
Or monument to ages, and thereon
Offer sweet smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers:
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or footstep trace?
For though I fled him angry, yet, recall'd
To life prolong'd and promis'd race, I now
Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts
Of glory, and far off his steps adore.
To whom thus Michael with regard benign.
Adam, thou know'st heaven his, and all the earth, 335
Not this rock only; his omnipresence fills
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives,
Fomented by his virtual power and warm'd:
All th' earth he gave thee to possess and rule,
No despicable gift; surmise not then
His presence to these narrow bounds confin'd
Of paradise or Eden: this had been
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread
All generations, and had hither come
From all the ends of th' earth, to celebrate
And reverence thee their great progenitor.
But this preeminence thou hast lost, brought down
To dwell on even ground now. with thy sons:
Yet doubt not but in valley and in plain
God is as here, and will be found alike
325 memory] So Beaum. and Fletch. D. Marriage, act ii. sc. i. 'The memory and monuments of good men
344 hither] So the first ed. read, thither most of the later.
Present, and of his presence many a sign
Still following thee, still compassing thee round
With goodness and paternal love, his face
Express, and of his steps the track divine.
Which that thou mayst believe, and be confirm'd
Ere thou from hence depart, know, I am sent
To show thee what shall come in future days
To thee and to thy offspring; good with bad
Expect to hear, supernal grace contending
With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn
True patience, and to temper joy with fear
And pious sorrow, equally inur'd
By moderation either state to bear,
Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead
Safest thy life, and best prepar'd endure
Thy mortal passage when it comes.
This hill, let Eve, (for I have drench'd her eyes,)
Here sleep below, while thou to foresight wak'st,
As once thou slept'st, while she to life was form'd.
To whom thus Adam gratefully reply'd.
Ascend, I follow thee, safe guide, the path
Thou lead'st me, and to the hand of heaven submit,
However chast'ning; to the evil turn
My obvious breast, arming to overcome
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won,
If so I may attain. So both ascend
In the visions of God. It was a hill
374 arming] Aiming. Bentl. MS.
375 suffering] Virg. Æn. V. 710.
'Quidquid erit, superanda omnis fortuna ferendo est.' Hume.
Of paradise the highest, from whose top
The hemisphere of earth in clearest ken
Stretch'd out to the amplest reach of prospect lay.
Not higher that hill nor wider looking round,
Whereon for different cause the tempter set
Our second Adam in the wilderness,
To show him all earth's kingdoms and their glory.
His eye might there command wherever stood
City of old or modern fame, the seat
Of mightiest empire, from the destin❜d walls
Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can,
And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir's throne,
To Paquin of Sinæan kings, and thence
To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul,
Down to the golden Chersonese, or where
The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since
In Hispahan, or where the Russian Czar
In Mosco, or the Sultan in Bizance,
Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken
Th' empire of Negus to his utmost port
Ercoco, and the less maritime kings
Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind,
And Sofala thought Ophir, to the realm
Of Congo, and Angola farthest south;
Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount
The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez, and Sus,
Morocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen;
397 Negus] See Lisle's Du Bartas, p. 115.
400 Sofala] See Bentleii Epist. ed. Burneii, p. 105, and Bruce's Travels, vol. ii. p. 362.
On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway The world in spirit perhaps he also saw
Rich Mexico the seat of Montezume,
And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat
Of Atabalipa, and yet unspoil'd
Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons
Call El Dorado: but to nobler sights
Michael from Adam's eyes the film remov'd,
Which that false fruit that promis'd clearer sight
Had bred; then purg'd with euphrasy and rue
The visual nerve, for he had much to see;
And from the well of life three drops instill'd.
So deep the power of these ingredients pierc'd,
Ev'n to the inmost seat of mental sight,
That Adam, now enforc'd to close his eyes,
Sunk down, and all his spirits became intranc'd:
But him the gentle angel by the hand
Soon rais'd, and his attention thus recall'd.
Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold Th' effects which thy original crime hath wrought In some to spring from thee, who never touch'd 425 Th' excepted tree, nor with the snake conspir'd, Nor sinn'd thy sin; yet from that sin derive Corruption to bring forth more violent deeds.
412 film] See Dante Il Purgat. i. 96.
'Va' dunque, e fa', che tu costui ricinga
D'un giunco schietto, e che gli lavi 'l viso,
Sì ch' ogni sucidume quindi stinga.'
418 mental sight] Pulci, c. xxv. st. 308.
'Ora all' occhio mentale è conceduto
Di riveder cio che tu hai veduto.' Bowle.