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GOD sitting on his throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free, and able enough to have withstood his tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man; but God again declares, that grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore with all his progeny devoted to death must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for Man; the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in heaven and earth; commands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and, hymning to their harps in full choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean while Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place, since called the Limbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it: his passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel the regent of that orb; but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and Man whom God hath placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed; alights first on mount Niphates.
HAIL holy light, offspring of heav'n first-born, Or of th' eternal co-eternal beam!
May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
‹ Per em
3 God is light] See Wakef. Lucret. 1, p. 320. phasin Deus sæpissime Sol audit. Ov. Met. xv. 192. 'Ipse Dei clypeus, terrâ cum tollitur imâ, Mane rubet'
adeas notata nobis ad Virg. Georg. i. 6.'
8 fountain] See Lucret. 5. 282, largus item liquidi fons luminis.'
17 other notes] See Bembo Sonnetti, p. 26, con altre voce.' Dante Il Parad. c. xxv. 7, Con altra voce omai, con altra vello Ritornero Poeta.'
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
25 quench'd] drench'd. Bentl. MS.
25 orbs] Val. Flacc. iv. 235. Sanguineosque rotat orbes.' See Burman's Note.
30 flowery brooks] flowing, silver, crystal, purling. Bentl. MS.
35 Thamyris] Stat. Theb. iv. 183.
'Mutos Thamyris damnatus in annos.'
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Of nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd,
Now had the Almighty Father from above, From the pure empyrean where he sits High thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye, His own works and their works at once to view. About him all the sanctities of heaven Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd Beatitude past utterance; on his right The radiant image of his glory sat, His only Son on earth he first beheld Our two first parents, yet the only two Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd, Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, Uninterrupted joy, unrival'd love,
49 Of] Pearce proposes to read All nature's works,' and Newton agrees with him, putting a stop after blank,' but I do not understand the force of their objection to the established
In blissful solitude: he then survey'd
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage Transports our adversary, whom no bounds Prescrib'd, no bars of hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Wide interrupt, can hold, so bent he seems On desperate revenge, that shall redound Upon his own rebellious head? And now Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way Not far off heav'n, in the precincts of light, Directly towards the new created world,
And man there plac'd, with purpose to assay 90
93 glozing lies] See Beaumont's Psyche, c. v. 37. With humble lies, and oaths of glozings drest.' See also B. ix. 549, 'so glos'd the tempter.'