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Thee only extoll’d, Son of Thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes ;
Not so on man; him thro' their malice fall'n,
Father of mercy and grace, Thou didst not doom
So strictly; but much more to pity incline.
No sooner did Thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail man
So strictly, but much more to pity inclined,
He to appease Thy wrath, and end the strife
Of mercy and justice in Thy face discern’d,
Regardless of the bliss wherein He sat
Second to Thee, offer'd himself to die
For man's offence. O unexampled love,
Love nowhere to be found less than Divine !
Hail Son of God, Saviour of men, Thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.

Thus they in heav'n, above the starry sphere,
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
Meanwhile

upon

the firm opacous globe
Of this round world, whose first convex divides
The luminous inferior orbs, inclosed
From Chaos and th' inroad of Darkness old,
Satan alighted walks: a globe far off
It seem'd, now seems a boundless continent,
Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of night
Starless exposed, and ever-threat'ning storms
Of Chaos blust'ring round, inclement sky;
Save on that side which from the wall of heav'n
Though distant far some small reflection gains
Of glimmering air, less vex'd with tempest loud
Here walk’d the fiend at large in spacious field.
As when a vulture on Imaus? bred,
Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds,
Dislodging from a region scarce of prey
To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids

1 A mountain in Asia. Its name signifies snowy, It is the eastern boundary of Western Tartary.

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On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs
Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;
But in his way lights on the barren plains
Of Sericana,' where Chineses drive
With sails and wind their cany waggons light:
So on this windy sea of land the fiend
Walk'd up and down alone bent on his prey,
Alone, for other creature in this place?
Living or lifeless to be found was none,
None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
Up hither like aërial vapours flew
Of all things transitory and vain, when sin
With vanity had fill’d the works of men:
Both all things vain, and all who in vain things
Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame,
Or happiness in this or th' other life;
All who have their reward on earth, the fruits
Of painful superstition and blind zeal,
Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find
Fit retribution, empty as their deeds :
All th' unaccomplish'd works of nature's hand,
Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd,
Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,
Till final dissolution, wander here,
Not in the neighb'ring moon, as some have dream'd ;)
Those argent fields more likely habitants,
Translated saints, or middle spirits hold
Betwixt th' angelical and human kind :
Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born 4
First from the ancient world those giants came
With many a vain exploit, though then renown'd:
The builders next of Babel on the plain
Of Sennaar, and still with vain design
New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build :
Others came single; he who to be deem'd

:

I Serica lies between China on the east and Imaus on the west.-From NEWTON.

% Limbo.
3 Ariosto, in the “Orlando Furioso.”

4 The sons of God “ill-joined" with the daughters of “men.” See Gen. vi. 4. Subject of Moore's “Loves of the Angels," and Byron's "Heaven and Earth.” LA Pythagorean philosopher. His attempt at disappearing in an extraordinary manner from the earth was defeated by the volcano

2

A God leap'd fondly into Ætna flames,
Empedocles, and he who to enjoy
Plato's Elysium leap'd into the sea,
Cleombrotus, and many more too long,
Embryoes and idiots, eremites and friars,
White, black, and grey,; with all their trumpery.
Here pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek
In Golgotha him dead, who lives in heav'n;
And they who to be sure of paradise
Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised ;4
They pass the planets seven, and pass the fix'd,
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs
The trepidation talk’d, and that first moved :
And now Saint Peter at heav'n's wicket seems
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot
Of heav'n's ascent they lift their feet, when, lo!
A violent cross wind from either coast
Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues awry
Into the devious air: then might ye see
Cowls, hoods, and habits with their wearers tost
And flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads,
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
The sport of winds: all these upwhirl'd aloft
Fly o'er the back side of the world far off,
Into a limbo large and broad, since callid
The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
Long after, now unpeopled, and untrod.
All this dark globe the fiend found as he pass'd,
And long he wander’d, till at last a gleam
Of dawning light turn'd thitherward in haste
His travelled steps; far distant he descries,
Ascending by degrees magnificent
Up to the wall of heav'n a structure high,

a

back his iron pattens. 2 An Epirot. 3 Carmelites, Dominicans, and Franciscans,

4 In the dark ages, a ridiculous superstition prevailed that a dying sinner who put on the habit of a religious order was sure of salvation.

It was frequently done.

5 Milton speaks here according to Ptolemy's astronomy.-From NEWTON.

1

At top whereof, but far more rich appear’d
The work as of a kingly palace gate,
With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Imbellish’d; thick with sparkling orient gems
The portal shone, inimitable on earth
By model or by shading pencil drawn.
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Angels ascending and descending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
To Padan-Aram in the field of Luz,
Dreaming by night under the open sky,
And waking cried, This is the gate of heav’n.
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to heav'n sometimes
Viewless, and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth sailing arrived
Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake,
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
The fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss :
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of paradise,
A passage down to th' earth, a passage wide,
Wider by far than that of after-times
Over mount Sion, and, though that were large,
Over the Promised Land to God so dear,
By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,
On high behests his angels to and fro
Pass’d frequent, and his eye with choice regard,
From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood,
To Beërsaba, where the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore:
So wide the op'ning seem’d, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hence now on the lower stair,
That scaled by steps of gold to heaven gate,

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i Gen. xxviii.-12, 13.

Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a scout
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his

eye

discovers unaware The goodly prospect of some foreign land First-seen, or some renown'd metropolis, With glistering spires and pinnacles adorn'd, Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams: Such wonder seized, though after heaven seen, The spirit malign; but much more envy seized At sight of all this world beheld so fair. Round he surveys, and well might, where he stood So high above the circling canopy Of night's extended shade, from eastern point Of Libra to the fleecy starl that bears Andromeda far off Atlantic seas Beyond th’ horizon: then from pole to pole He views in breadth, and without longer pause Down right into the world's first region throws His flight precipitant, and winds with ease Through the pure marble air his oblique way Amongst innumerable stars, that shone Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds, Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles, Like those Hesperian gardens a famed of old, Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales, Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there He stay'd not to enquire: above them all The golden sun in splendour likest heaven Allured his eye: thither his course he bends Through the calm firmament; but up or down, By centre or eccentric, hard to tell, Or longitude, where the great luminary, Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,

2 The Cape Verde Islands; the "Fortunate Islands."

1 Aries, i.e., from one half of the ecliptic to the other, from east to west. The constellation Andromeda is immediately above or over Aries. - NEWTON.

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