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Dismounted, on th' Aleian field I fall
30 Urania, and fit audience find, though few; But drive far off the barb'rous dissonance Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 35 To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd Both harp and voice ; nor could the Muse defend
So fail not thou, who thee implores ; For thou art heav'nly, she an empty dream.
Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphaël, 40 The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarn'd Adam, by dire example, to beware Apostasy, by what befel in Heav'n To those apostates, lest the like befal In Paradise to Adam or his race,
45 Charged not to touch the interdicted tree, If they transgress. and slight that sole command, So easily obey'd amid the choice Of all tastes else to please their appetite, Though wand'ring. He with his consorted Eve 50 The story heard attentive, and was fill'd With admiration and deep muse, to hear Of things so high and strange, things to their thought So unimaginable as hate in Heav'n, And war so near the peace of God in bliss 56
21. Half of the Episode, or Raphael's account. 25. An allusion to the condition of himself in the profligate and irreligious times of Charles the Second, during which blind and neglected, he lived in an obscure retreat, but probably in danger of persecution for his principles. 33. Orpheus, the Thracian
bard was torn to pieces by the vo taries of Bacchus, in Rhodope, a mountain of Thrace.
With such confusion : but the evil soon
Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, 70 Far diff'ring from this world, thou hast reveal'd, Divine interpreter, by favour sent Down from the empyréan, to forewarn Us timely' of what might else have been our loss, Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach: For which to th' infinitely Good we owe
76 Immortal thanks, and his admonishment Receive with solemn purpose, to observe Immutably his sov'rcign will, the end Of what we are.
But since thou hast vouchsafed 80
space, the aimbient air wide interfused
92. A question often since asked, but well answered by the consideration, that whenever the world had been created there would have been an eternity before its existence.
Of his eternal empire, but the more
Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought;
116 Thee also happier, shall not be withheld Thy hearing ; such commission from above I have received, to answer thy desire Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain 120 To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope Things not reveal’d, which th' invisible King, Only omniscient, hath suppress'd in nisht; To none communicable in Earth or Heav'n : Enough is left besides to search and know: 125 But knowledge is as food, and needs no less Her temp'rance over appetite, to know In measure what the mind may well contain ; Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns Wisdom to folly', as nourishment to wind. 130
Know then, that after Lucifer from Heav'n (So call him, brighter once amidst the host Of Angels than that star the stars among) Fell with his flaming legions through the deep Into his place, and the great Son return'd 136 Victorious with his saints, th' Omnipotent Eternal Father from his throne beheld
103. Gen. i. 2. 122. Invisible, so in Scripture.
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake:
At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought All like himself rebellious: by whose aid
140 This inaccessible high strength, the seat Of Deity supreme, us dispossess'd, He trusted to have seized, and into fraud Drew many, whom their place knows here no more; Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,
145 Their station; Heav'n yet populous retains Number sufficient to possess her realms Though wide, and this high temple to frequent With ministeries due and solemn rites : But lest his heart exalt him in the harm
150 Already done, to have dispeopled Heav'n, My damage fondly deem’d, I can repair That detriment, if such it be to lose Self-lost, and in a moment will create Another world ; out of one man a race
155 Of men innumerable, there to dwell, Not here, till by degrees of merit raised, They open to themselves at length the way Up hither, under long obedience try'd, And Earth be changed to Heav'n, and Heav'n to Earth, One kingdom, joy and union without end. 161 Mean while inhabit lax, ye Pow'rs of Heav'n; And thou, my Word, begotten Son, by thee This I perform ; speak thou and be it done. My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee 165 I send along; ride forth, and bid the deep Within appointed bounds be Hear'n and Earth, Boundless the deep, because I am who fill Infinitude, nor vacuous the space. Though I uncircumscribed myself retire
170 And put not forth my goodness which is free To act or not, necessity and chance Approach not me; and what I will is fate. 139. At last, instead of at least, is proposed.
144. Job vii. 10. 160. In allusion probably to the new heaven and new earth before mentioned, and not, as is supposed, to any mere improvement in man.
162. Lar, free to follow their former angelic pleasures and wccupations. It has no relation, as Newton supposes, to space
165. Luket 33.
So spake th' Almighty, and to what he spake,
So sang the Hierarchies : Mean while the Son
192. Zech. vi,i,