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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 aught 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, to 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
Volatil 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-chimic sun so far from us remote
'Rubie, or Topaz, two o' th' twelve that shone.' How would the Doctor profess to pronounce his line? Fenton reads, or the twelve that shone.'
605 limbec] See Sylvester's Du Bartas, p. 85.
Fire that in limbec of pure thoughts divine
Doth purge our thoughts.'
592 metal] In the first editions 'medal.'
597 to] Doctor Pearce had an ingenious friend who proposed to read
Produces with terrestrial humor 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 sun-shine; 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 the 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
Circl❜d 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 wand'ring flight
To paradise the happy seat of man,
His journey's end, and our beginning woe.
But first he 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
622 ken] See Greene's "Never too late." I might see in my ken.'
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,
E'er he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn'd,
Admonish'd by his ear, and straight was known
Th' arch-angel Uriel, one of the seven
Who in God's presence nearest to his throne
Stand ready at command, and are his eyes
That run through 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, 655 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,
'In abito succinto era Marfisa.' Todd.
Virgilii Catalecta, vi. 9.
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 hath 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 in heaven:
678 that] Tickell reads, 'their loss,' and is followed by Fenton and Bentley. Todd.
Who to the fraudulent imposter 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:
But what created mind can comprehend
Their number, or the wisdom infinite
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep?
saw, when at his word the formless mass,
This world's material mould, came to a heap :
Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar
Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confin'd;
Till at his second bidding darkness fled,
Light shone, and order from disorder sprung.
Swift to their several quarters hasted then
The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire,
And this ethereal quintessence of heaven
Flew upward, spirited with various forms,
That roll'd orbicular, and turned to stars
710 heard] 'Jussa Dei exsequitur Tellus.'
A. Ramsæi, P. Sacr. ed. Lauder, i. p. 4. 716 this] 'the' in Fenton's and Bentley's ed. Newton.