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Of spirits malign a better race to bring
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse
His good to worlds and ages infinite.



So sang the Hierarchies. Mean while the Son On his great expedition now appear'd, Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd Of Majesty divine, sapience and love Immense, and all his Father in him shone. About his chariot numberless were pour'd Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones, And Virtues, winged Spirits, and Chariots wing'd, From the armoury of GOD, where stand of old 200 Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodg'd Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand, Celestial equipage; and now came forth Spontaneous, for within them spirit liv'd, Attendant on their Lord: heav'n open'd wide Her ever during gates, harmonious sound On golden hinges moving, to let forth The King of glory, in his powerful Word And spirit coming to create new worlds.



On heavenly ground they stood, and from the shore
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heav'n's highth, and with the center mix the pole.

214 And] Newton would read 'In surging waves; it seems better, says Todd, as the Doctor observes, to say of the sea, in surging waves,' than 'by.'


Silence, ye troubled waves, and, thou deep, peace, Said then th' omnific Word, your discord end. Nor staid; but, on the wings of Cherubim Uplifted, in Paternal Glory rode

Far into Chaos and the world unborn;

For Chaos heard his voice. Him all his train
Follow'd in bright procession to behold
Creation, and the wonders of his might.
Then stay'd the fervid wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepar'd
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things.
One foot he center'd, and the other turn'd
Round through the vast profundity obscure,



And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, 230 This be thy just circumference, O world.

Thus GOD the heav'n created, thus the earth, Matter unform'd and void. Darkness profound Cover'd th' Abyss; but on the wat'ry calm His brooding wings the Spirit of GOD outspread, 235 And vital virtue infus'd and vital warmth Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purg'd The black, tartareous, cold, infernal, dregs, Adverse to life: then founded, then conglob'd Like things to like; the rest to several place

[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]

Disparted, and between spun out the air,
And earth self-balanc'd on her center hung.

Let there be light, said GOD, and forthwith light Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,

Sprung from the deep, and from her native east 245 To journey through the aery gloom began,

Spher'd in a radiant cloud, for yet

the sun

Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle

Sojourn'd the while. God saw the light was good;
And light from darkness by the hemisphere
Divided light the day, and darkness night,


He nam'd. Thus was the first day ev'n and morn:
Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung

By the celestial choirs, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld,

Birth-day of heav'n and earth; with joy and shout
The hollow universal orb they fill'd,


And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning prais'd GOD and his works, creator him they sung,

Both when first evening was, and when first morn. Again GoD said, Let there be firmament

Amid the waters, and let it divide

The waters from the waters: and GOD made
The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffus'd

In circuit to the uttermost convex

Of this great round; partition firm and sure,
The waters underneath from those above
Dividing for as earth, so he the world

Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide



Crystallin ocean, and the loud misrule

Of Chaos far remov'd, lest fierce extremes
Contiguous might distemper the whole frame:
And heav'n he nam'd the firmament: so ev'n
And morning chorus sung the second day.

The earth was form'd, but, in the womb as yet
Of waters embryon immature involv❜d,
Appear'd not over all the face of earth
Main ocean flow'd, not idle, but with warm
Prolific humour soft'ning all her globe
Fermented the great mother to conceive,
Satiate with genial moisture, when God said,
Be gather'd now, ye waters under heav'n,
Into one place, and let dry land appear.
Immediately the mountains huge appear
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave
Into the clouds, their tops ascend the sky.
So high as heav'd the tumid hills, so low
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep,
Capacious bed of waters: thither they
Hasted with glad precipitance, uproll'd
As drops on dust conglobing from the dry:
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,
For haste; such flight the great command imprest
On the swift floods: as armies at the call
Of trumpet, (for of armies thou hast heard,)
Troop to their standard, so the wat'ry throng,
Wave rolling after wave, where way they found;
If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain,
Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill,
But they, or under ground, or circuit wide







With serpent error wand'ring, found their way,
And on the washy oose deep channels wore,
Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry,
All but within those banks, where rivers now
Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train.
The dry land earth, and the great receptacle
Of congregated waters he call'd seas;


And saw that it was good, and said, Let th' earth
Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, 310
And fruit tree yielding fruit after her kind;
Whose seed is in herself upon the earth.

He scarce had said, when the bare earth, till then
Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorn'd,

Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad
Her universal face with pleasant green;
Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flow'r'd
Op'ning their various colours, and made gay


Her bosom smelling sweet: and these scarce blown, Forth flourish'd thick the clust'ring vine, forth crept The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed


302 serpent] See Strabo, ix. 424. Ap. Rhod. iv. 1541. Davies ad Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 42. Solin. Polyhist. cxxiv. 4. x. Virg. Georg. i. 244. Senecæ Thyestes, 869. Peele's Works by Dyce, ii. 11, ed. 1829 and Sandys' Psalms, p. 170.

'With snake-like glide between the bordering hills.'

302 wand'ring] Winding. ii. 56. Bentl. MS.

321 swelling] See Le Api de Ruscellai, v. 460.

E dir ci come col gonfiato ventre

L'idropica cucurbita s'ingrossi.'

and Milton's Prose Works, vi. p. 388. The tumid pumpkin.'

321 corny] Virg. Æn. iii. 22.

'Quo cornea summo

Virgulta, et densis hastilibus horrida myrtus. Hume.

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