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His travell'd steps: far distant he descries,
Ascending by degrees magnificent

Up to the wall of heaven, a structure high,
At top whereof, but far more rich, appear'd
The work as of a kingly palace gate,
With frontispiece of diamond, and gold
Embellish'd; thick with sparkling orient gems
The portal shone, inimitable on earth,
By model, or by shading pencil drawn.
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Angels ascending and descending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
To Padan-aram, in the field of Luz,
Dreaming by night under the open sky,

And waking cried, "This is the gate of heaven."
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to heaven sometimes
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth, sailing arriv'd,
Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake
Wrapp'd in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
The fiend by easy' ascent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss ;
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
A passage down to th' earth, a passage wide,
Wider by far than that of after-times

Over mount Sion, and, though that were large,
Over the Promised Land, to God so dear,
By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,
On high behests his angels to and fro

Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's food,
To Beersaba, where the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore:
So wide the opening seem'd, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair,
That scaled by steps of gold to heaven-gate,

ooks down with wonder at the sudden view
f all this world at once.. As when a scout,
hrough dark and desert ways with peril gone
11 night, at last by break of cheerful dawn
btains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
hich to his eye discovers unaware

he goodly prospect of some foreign land rst seen, or some, renown'd metropolis ith glist'ring spires and pinnacles adorn'd, hich now the rising sun gilds with his beams: ■ch wonder seiz'd, though after heaven seen, ne spirit malign, but much more envy seiz'd, I sight of all this world beheld so fair. ound he surveys (and well might where he stood: high above the circling canopy

f night's extended shade), from eastern point. f Libra to the fleecy star that bears

ndromeda far off Atlantic seas,

eyond the horizon: then from pole to pole
e views in breadth, and without longer pause
own-right into the world's first region throws
is flight precipitant, and winds with ease
rough the pure marble air bis oblique way
mongst innumerable stars, that shone

ars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds;
= other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles,
ke those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
rtunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales.
rice happy isles! but who dwelt happy there-
e stay'd not to enquire. Above them all
ne golden sun, in splendour likest heaven,
lur'd his eye; thither his course he bends
hrough the calm firmament (but up or down,.
y centre or eccentric hard to tell,

longitude), where the great luminary loof the vulgar constellations thick, That from his lordly eye keep distance due, ispenses light from far; they as they moveheir starry dance in numbers that compute ys, months and years, to'rds his all-cheering, Lamp

Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part,
With gentle penetration, though unseen,
Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep;
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps
Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb,

Through his glaz'd optic tube, yet never saw.
The place he found beyond expression bright,
Compar'd with ought on earth, metal, or stone :
Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire;
If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear;
If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaz, or the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,
That stone, or like to that which here below
Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
In vain, though by their powerful art they bind
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form.
What wonder then if fields and regions here
Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
Th' arch-chemic sun, so far from us remote,
Produces, with terrestrial humour mix'd,
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour glorious, and effect so rare?
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands;
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,
But all sunshine, as when his beams at noon
Culminate from th' equator, as they now
Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
Shadow from body' opaque can fall; and th' air
No where so clear, sharpen'd his visual ray
To objects distant far, whereby he soon
Saw within ken a glorious angel stand,

The same whom John saw also in the sun.
His back was turn'd, but not his brightness hid:
Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar
Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
Illustrious on his shoulders, fledge with wings,
Lay waving round: on some great charge employ'd
He seem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep.

Glad was the spirit impure, as now in hope
To find who might direct his wandering flight
To Paradise, the happy seat of man,

His journey's end, and our beginning woe,
But first be casts to change his proper shape,
Which else might work him danger or delay:
And now a stripling cherub he appears,
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
Youth smil'd celestial, and to every limb
Suitable grace diffus'd, so well he feign'd:
Under a coronet his flowing hair

In curls on either cheek play'd; wings he wore
Of many a colour'd plume, sprinkled with gold:
His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
Before his decent steps a silver wand.

He drew not nigh unheard; the angel bright,
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn'd,
Admonish'd by his ear; and strait was known
Th' archangel Uriel, one of the seven

Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne,
Stand ready at command, and are his eyes
That run thro' all the heavens, or down to th' earth
Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts:
"Uriel! for thou of those seven spirits that stand
In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright,
The first art wont his great authentic will
Interpreter through highest heaven to bring,
Where all his sons thy embassy attend;
And here art likeliest by supreme decree
Like honour to obtain, and as his eye
To visit oft this new creation round;
Unspeakable desire to see, and know

All these his wondrous works, but chiefly man,


His chief delight and favour; him, for whom
All these his works so wondrous he ordain'd,
Hath brought me from the choirs of cherubim
Alone thus wand'ring. Brightest seraph! tell
In which of all these shining orbs hath man
His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell;
That I may find him, and with secret gaze
Or open admiration, him behold

On whom the great Creator hath bestow'd
Worlds, and on whom bath all these graces pour'd;
That both in him, and all things, as is meet,
The universal Maker we may praise;
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes
To deepest hell; and to repair that loss,
Created this new happy race of men
To serve him better: wise are all his ways."
So spake the false dissembler unperceiv'd;
For neither man nor angel can discern
Hypocrisy, the only' evil that walks
Invisible, except to God alone,

By his permissive will, through heaven and earth ::
And oft though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity

Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill seems; which now for once beguil'd
Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held
The sharpest sighted spirit of all heaven;
Who to the fraudulent impostor foul,
In his uprightness answer thus return'd:
"Fair angel! thy desire which tends to know
The works of God, thereby to glorify
The great Work- Master, leads to no excess
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
The more it seems excess, that led thee hither.
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone,
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps,
Contented with report, hear only in heaven:
For wonderful indeed are all his works,
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
Had in remembrance always with delight..

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