Page images


To journey through the aery gloom began, With serpent error wandering, found their way, Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun And on the washy ooze deep channels wore; Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle

Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry, Sojourned the while. God saw the light was good; All but within those banks, where rivers now And light from darkness, by the hemisphere, Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train. Divided: light the day, and darkness night, The dry land, earth; and the great receptacle He named. Thus was the first day even and Of congregated waters, he called seas :

And saw that it was good; and said, 'Let the Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung

earth By the celestial choirs, when orient light Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, Exhaling first from darkness they beheld; And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind, Birthday of Heaven and earth; with joy and shout Whose seed is in herself upon the earth.' The hollow universal orb they filled,

He scarce had said, when the bare earth, till then And touched their golden harps, and, hymning, Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned, praised

Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad God and his works; Crcator him they sung, Her universal face with pleasant green: Both when first evening was, and when first morn. Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered

“Again, God said, 'Let there be firmament Opening their various colours, and made gay Amid the waters, and let it divide

Her bosom, smelling sweet; and, these scarce The waters from the waters:' and God made

blown, The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth Transparent, elemental air, diffused

crept In circuit to the uttermost convex

The smelling gourd, up stood the corny reed Of this great round; partition firm and sure, Embattled in her field, and the humble shrub, The waters underneath from those above And bush with frizzled hair implicit: last Dividing: for as earth, so he the world

Rose as in dance, the stately trees, and spread Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gem'd Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule Their blossoms: with high woods the hills were Of Chaos far removed ; lest fierce extremes

crowned; Contiguous might dislemper the whole frame: With tufts the valleys, and each fountain side, And Heaven he named the firmament: so even With borders long the rivers : that earth now And morning chorus sung the second day. Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where gods might

“The earth was formed, but in the womb as yet dwell, Of waters, embryon immature involved,

Or wander with delight, and love to haunt Appeared not: over all the face of earth Her sacred shades: though God had yet not rained Main ocean flowed, not idle, but with warm Upon the earth, and man to till the ground Prolific humour softening all her globe, None was; but from the earth a dewy mist Fermented the great mother to conceive, Went up, and watered all the ground, and each Satiate with genial moisture; when God said, Plant of the field, which, ere it was in the earth, 'Be gathered now ye waters under Heaven God made, and every herb, before it grew Into one place, and let dry land appear.' On the green stem; God saw that it was good: Immediately, the mountains huge appear So even and morn recorded the third day. Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave “Again th’Almighty spake, 'Let there be lights Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky: High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low The day from night; and let them be for signs, Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep, For seasons, and for days, and circling years; Capacious bed of waters: thither they

And let them be for lights, as I ordain Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolled, Their office in the firmament of Heaven, As drops on dust conglobing from the dry; To give light on the earth;' and it was so. Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct, And God made two great lights, great for their For haste; such flight the great command impressed

To man, the greater to have rule by day, On the swift floods: as armies at the call The less by night, altern; and made the stars, Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard) And set them in the firmament of Heaven Troop to their standard, so the watery throng, To illuminate the earth and rule the day Wave rolling after wave, where way they found, In their vicissitude, and rule the night, If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain, And light from darkness to divide. God saw, Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill; Surveying his great work, that it was good: But they, or under ground, or circuit wide For, of celestial bodies, first the sun


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first, In jointed armour watch: on smooth the seal, Though of ethereal mould; then formed the moon And bended dolphins play: part huge of bulk Globose, and every magnitude of stars,

Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait, And sowed with stars the Heaven, thick as a field: Tempest the ocean: there leviathan, Of light by far the greater part he took, Hugest of living creatures, on the deep Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed Stretched like a promontory, sleeps or swims, In the sun's orb, made porous to receive And seems a moving land, and at his gills And drink the liquid light, firm to retain Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea. Her gathered beams, great palace now of light. Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores, Hither, as to their fountain, other stars Their brood as numerous hatch, from the egg that Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,

soon And hence the morning planets gilds her horns; Bursting with kindly rupture, forth disclosed By tincture or reflection they augment

Their callow young; but, feathered soon and Their small peculiar, though from human sight fledged, So far remote, with diminution seen.

They summed their pens, and, soaring th' air subFirst in his east the glorious lamp was seen,

lime, Regent of day, and all the horizon round With clang despised the ground, under a cloud Invested with bright rays, jocund to run In prospect; there the eagle and the stork His longitude through Heaven's high road; the On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build : gray

Part loosely wing the region, part more wise Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced, In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way, Shedding sweet influence : less bright the moon, Intelligent of seasons, and set forth But opposite in levelled west was set,

Their aery caravan, high over seas His mirror, with full face borrowing her light Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing From him; for other light she needed none Easing their flight: so steers the prudent crane In that aspect, and still that distance keeps Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air Till night; then in the east her turn she shines, Floats as they pass, fann'd with unnumbered Revolved on Heaven's great axle, and her reign plumes: With thousand lesser lights dividual holds, From branch to branch the smaller birds with song With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings Spangling the hemisphere: then, first adorned Till even, nor then the solemn nightingale With their bright luminaries that set and rose, Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays: Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth Others on silver lakes and rivers bathed day.

Their downy breast; the swan with arched neck, " And God said, 'Let the waters generate Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul: Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit And let fowl fly above the earth, with wings The dank, and, rising on stiff penons, tower Displayed on the open firmament of Heaven.' The mid aërial sky: others on ground And God created the great whales, and each Walk'd firm; the crested cock, whose clarion Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously sounds The waters generated by their kinds,

The silent hours, and the other whose gay train And every bird of wing after his kind; Adorns him, coloured with the florid hue And saw that it was good, and blessed them, say- Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus ing,

With fish replenished, and the air with fowl, 'Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas, Evening and morn solemnized the fifth day. And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill; “ The sixth, and of creation last, arose And let the fowl be multiplied on the earth.' With evening harps and matin, when God said, Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and Let the earth bring forth soul living in her kind, bay,

Cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals Each in their kind.' The earth obeyed, and Of fish, that with their fins and shining scales straight, Glide under the green wave, in sculls that oft Opening her fertile womb, teemed at a birth Bank the mid sea: part single, or with mate, Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms, Graze the sea weed, their pasture, and through Limbed and full grown; out of the ground up rose, groves

As from his lair, the wild beast where he wons Of coral stray, or, sporting with quick glance, In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den; Show to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold; Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked; Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend The cattle in the fields and meadows green; Moist nutriment; or under rocks their food Those rare and solitary, these in flocks


[ocr errors]

Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung. " " Let us make now man in our image, man
The grassy clods now calved; now half appeared in our similitude, and let them rule
The tawny lion, pawing to get free

Over the fish and fowl of sea and air,
His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds, Beast of the field, and over all the earth,
And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the ounce, And every creeping thing that creeps the ground.'
The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole This said, he formed thee, Adam, thee, O man,
Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed
In hillocks: the swift stag from under ground, The breath of life; in his own image he
Bore up his branching head: scarce from his mould Created thee, in the image of God
Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved Express, and thou becam’st a living soul.
His vastness : fleeced the flocks and bleating rose, Male he created thee, but thy consort
As plants: ambiguous between sea and land Female, for race; then blessed mankind, and said,
The river horse and scaly crocodile.

|· Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. At once came forth whatever creeps the ground, Subdue it, and, throughout, dominion hold Insect or worm: those waved their limber fans Over fish of the sea, and fowl of the air, For wings and smallest lineaments exact, And every living thing that moves on the earth.' In all the liveries decked of summer's pride, Wherever thus created, for no place With spots of gold and purple, azure and green: Is yet distinct by name, thence, as thou know'st, These, as a line, their long dimension drew, He brought thee into this delicious grove, Streaking the ground with sinuous trace; not all This garden, planted with the trees of God, Minims of nature; some of serpent kind, Delectable both to behold and taste : Wondrous in length and corpulence, involved And freely all their pleasant fruit for food Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept Gave thee; all sorts are here that all the earth The parsimonious emmet, provident

yields, Of future, in small room large heart enclosed, Variety without end; but of the tree, Pattern of just equality, perhaps,

Which, tasted, works knowledge of good and Hereafter, joined in her popular tribes

evil, Of commonalty: swarming next appeared Thou may'st not; in the day thou eat'st, thou The female bee, that feeds her husband drone

diest : Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells

Death is the penalty imposed; beware, With honey stored; the rest are numberless, And govern well thy appetite, lest Sin And thou their natures know'st, and gav'st them Surprise thee, and her black attendant, Death. names,

"Here finished he, and all that he had made Needless to thee repeated: nor unknown Viewed, and behold all was entirely good; The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field, So even and morn accomplished the sixth day: Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes Yet not till the Creator from his work And hairy mane terrific, though to thee

Desisted, though unwearied, up returned, Not noxious, but obedient at thy call.

Up to the Heaven of heavens, his high abode, “Now Heaven in all her glory shone, and rolled Thence to behold this new created world, Her motions, as the great first Mover's hand The addition of his empire, how it showed First wheeled their course: earth in her rich attire in prospect from his throne, how good, how fair, Consummate lovely smiled; air, water, earth, Answering his great idea. Up he rode, By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was Followed with acclamation, and the sound walked

Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned Frequent; and of the sixth day yet remained : Angelic harmonies: the earth, the air There wanted yet the master work, the end Resounded, (thou remember'st, for thou heard'st,) Of all yet done; a creature, who, not prone

The Heavens and all the constellations rung, And brute as other creatures, but endued The planets in their stations listening stood, With sanctity of reason, might erect

While the bright pomp ascended jubilant. His stature, and, upright, with front screne, Open, ye everlasting gates! they sung. Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence Open, ye Heavens! your living doors; let in Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven, The great Creator from his work returned But grateful to acknowledge whence his good Magnificent, his six days' work, a world; Descends, thither with heart, and voice, and eyes, Open and henceforth oft; for God will deign Directed in devotion, to adore

To visit oft the dwellings of just men, And worship God supreme, who made him chief Delighted; and with frequent intercourse Of all his works: therefore th’Omnipotent,

Thither will send his winged messengers Eternal Father, (for where is not he

On errands of supernal grace. So sung Present ?) thus to his Son audibly spake. The glorious train ascending; he through Heaven:


T'hat opened wide her blazing portals, led And multiply a race of worshippers
To God's eternal house direct the way;

Holy and just : thrice happy, if they know
A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold Their happiness, and persevere upright !
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear, “So sung they, and the empyrean rung
Seen in the galaxy, that milky way,

With hallelujahs: thus was sabbath kept. Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest And thy request think now fulfilled, that asked Powdered with stars. And now on earth the How first this world and face of things began, seventh

And what before thy memory was done Evening arose in Eden, for the sun

From the beginning; that posterity, Was set, and twilight from the east came on, Informed by thee, might know: if else thou Forerunning night; when at the holy mount

Of Heaven's high seated top, th’ imperial throne Aught, not surpassing human measure, say.”
Of Godhead fixed for ever firm and sure,
The filial power arrived, and sat himn down

With his great Father: for he also went
Invisible, yet stayed (such privilege

Hath omnipresence,) and the work ordained,
Author and end of all things; and, from work

Adam inquires concerning celestial motions; is doubtfully

answered, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy Now resting, blessed and hallowed the seventh of knowledge ; Adam assents; and, still desirous to detain day,

Raphael, relates to him what he remembered since his own As resting on that day from all his work, creation; his placing in Paradise ; his talk with God concern. But not in silence holy kept : the harp

ing solitude and fit society; his first meeting and nuptials with Had work, and rested not; the solemn pipe

Eve; his discourse with the angel thereupon; who, after at

monitions repeated, departs,
And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop,
All sounds on fret by string or golden wire,

Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
Choral or unison : of incense clouds,

So charming left his voice, that he a while
Fuming from golden censers, hid the mount. Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to
Creation and the six days' acts they sung:
Great are thy works, Jehovah, infinite

Then, as new waked, thus gratefully replied. Thy power! what thought can measure thee or “What thanks sufficient, or what recompense tongue

Equal have I to render thee, divine Relate thee! greater now in thy return

Historian, who thus largely hast allayed Than from the giant angels: thee that day The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed Thy thunders magnified; but to create

This friendly condescension to relate Is greater than created to destroy.

Things, else by me unsearchable, now heard Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound With wonder, but delight, and, as is due, Thy empire ? easily the proud attempt

With glory attributed to the high Of spirits apostate, and their counsels vain, Creator ? something yet of doubt remains, Thou hast repelled, while impiously they thought Which only thy solution can resolve. Thee diminish, and from thee withdraw When I behold this goodly frame, this The number of thy worshippers. Who seeks Of Heaven and earth consisting, and compute To lessen thee, against his purpose serves Their magnitudes; this earth, a spot, a grain, To manifest the more thy might: his evil An atom, with the firmament compared Thou usest, and from thence createst more good. And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll Witness this new made world, another Heaven Spaces incomprehensible (for such From Heaven gate not far, founded in view Their distance argues, and their swift return On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea ;

Diurnal) merely to officiate light Of amplitude almost immense, with stars Round this opacous earth, this punctual spot, Numerous, and every star perhaps a world One day and night, in all their vast survey Of destined habitation; but thou knowest Useless besides ; reasoning, I oft admire Their seasons: among these the seat of men, How nature, wise and frugal, could commit Earth, with her nether ocean circumfused, Such disproportions, with superfluous hand Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy So many noble bodies to create, men,

Greater so manifold, to this one use, And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanced! For aught appears, and on their orbs impose Created in his image, there to dwell

Such restless revolution, day by day And worship him, and in reward to rule Repeated; while the sedentary earth, Over his works, on carth, in sea, or air, That better might with far less compass move,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Served by more noble than herself, attains Or bright infers not excellence: the earth,
Her end without least motion, and receives, Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small,
As tribute, such a sumless journey brought Nor glistering, may of solid good contain
Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light; More plenty than the sun that barren shines,
Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails.” | Whose virtue on itself works no effect,

So spake our sire, and by his countenance seemed | But in the fruitful earth; there first received, Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which His beams, unactive else, their vigour find. Eve

Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight, Officious, but to thee, earth's habitant. With lowliness majestic from her seat,

And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak And grace that won who saw to wish her stay, The Maker's high magnificence, who built Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, So spacious, and his line stretched out so far; To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom, That man may know he dwells not in his own; Her nursery, they at her coming sprung, An edifice too large for him to fill, And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. Lodged in a small partition, and the rest Yet went she not, as not with such discourse Ordained for uses to his Lord best known. Delighted, or not capable her ear

The swiftness of those circles attribute, Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved, Though numberless, to his omnipotence, Adam relating, she sole auditress;

That to corporeal substances could add Her husband the relator she preferred

Speed almost spiritual: me thou thinkest not slow, Before the angel, and of him to ask

Who since the morning hour set out from Heaven Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute In Eden, distance inexpressible With conjugal caresses; from his lip

By numbers that have name.

But this I urge, Not words alone pleased her. O who meet now Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined ? Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved: With goudess-like demeanour forth she went, Not that I so affirm, though so it seem Not unattended, for on her, as queen,

To thee who hast thy dwelling here on earth. A pomp of winning graces waited still,

God, to remove his ways from human sense, And from about her shot darts of desire

Placed Heaven from earth so far, that earthly sight, Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight.

If it presume, might err in things too high, And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt proposed, And no advantage gain. What if the sur. Benevolent and facile thus replied.

Be centre to the world, and other stars, " To ask or search I blame thee not; for Heaven By his attractive virtue and their own Is as the book of God before thee set,

Incited, dance about him various rounds? Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn Their wandering course now high, now low, then His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years: hid, This to attain, whether Heaven move or earth, Progressive, retrograde, or standing still, Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these From man or angel the great Architect

The planet earth, so steadfast though she seem, Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge

Insensibly three different motions move? His secrets to be scanned by them who ought Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe, Rather admire; or, if they list to try

Moved contrary with thwart obliquities; Conjecture, he his fabric of the Heavens Or save the sun his labour, and that swift Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move

Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed, His laughter at their quaint opinions wide Invisible else above all stars, the wheel Hereafter, when they come to model Heaven Of day and night; which needs not thy belief, And calculate the stars, how they will wield If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day The mighty frame, how build, unbuild, contrive Travelling east, and with her part averse To save appearances, how gird the sphere From the sun's beam meet night, her other part With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er, Still luminous by his ray. What if that light, Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb:

Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air. Already by thy reasoning this I guess,

To the terrestrial moon be as a star, Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest Enliglitening her by day, as she by night That bodies bright and greater should not serve This earth? reciprocal, if land be there, The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys Fields and inhabitants: her spots thou seest run,

As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce Earth sitting still, when she alone receives Fruits in her softened soil, for some to eat The benefit: consider first, that great

Allotted there; and other suns perhaps,

« PreviousContinue »