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Yawning received them whole, and on them closed;
Hell their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.
Disburden'd heav'n rejoiced, and soon repair'd
Her mural breach, returning whence it roll’d.

Sole victor from th' expulsion of his foes
Messiah His triumphal chariot turn’d:
To meet Him all His saints, who silent stood
Eye-witnesses of His almighty acts,
With jubilee advanced; and as they went,
Shaded with branching palm, each order bright
Sung triumph, and Him sung victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord, to Him dominion given,
Worthiest to reign: He celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid heav'n, into the courts
And temple of His mighty Father throned
On high; who into glory Him received,"
Where now He sits at the right hand of bliss.

Thus measuring things in heav'n by things on earth,
At thy request, and that thou may’st beware
By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd
What might have else to human race been hid :
The discord which befell, and war in heav'n
Among th' angelic powers, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring, who rebell’d
With Satan, he who envies now thy state,
Who now is plotting how he may seduce
Thee also from obedience, that with him
Bereaved of happiness thou may'st partake
His punishment, eternal misery,
Which would be all his solace and

revenge,
As a despite done against the Most Higli,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations, warn
Thy weaker, let it profit thee to have heard
By terrible example the reward
Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,
Yet fell: remember, and fear to transgress.

1 1 Tim, iii. 16. Heb. i. 3.

8

BOOK VI I.

THE ARGUMENT.

Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how, and wherefore, this world was first created ; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his angels out of heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world, and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory and attendance of angels to perform the work of creation in six days: the angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascension into heaven.

2

DESCEND from heav'n, Urania,' by that name
If rightly thou art call’d, whose voice divine
Following, above th’ Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegasean wing.
The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwell'st, but heav'nly born,
Before the hills appear'd, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
In presence of th' almighty Father, pleased
With thy celestial song. Up led by thee
Into the heav'n of heav'ns I have presunied,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air
Thy temp'ring; with like safety guided down
Return me to

my

native element:
Least from this flying steed unrein’d, as once
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime,
Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall
Erroneous, there to wander and forlorn.

1 The word “Urania” signifies heavenly. Here the Poet means Heavenly Muse.

2 The winged horse, Pegasus, said to belong to the Muses, was emblematical of flights of imagination.

3 Urania, amongst the Muses, was the patroness of Astronomy.

4 Bellerophon, the son of Glaucus, was a beautiful youth, who was falsely accused by Sthenobea, Queen of Argos, to her hus.

band. Proetus, King of Argos, sent him, in consequence, into Lycia with letters commanding that he should be exposed to destruction, He escaped from many perilous enterprises forced on him ; but when he attempted to mount to heaven

the winged horse, Pegas (incited to the trial by vain-glory), he was thrown off, and wandered on the Aleian plains for the remainder of his life. The Aleian plains were in Cilicia.

Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound,
Within the visible diurnal sphere;
Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged
To hoarse or mute, though fall’n on evil days,
On evil days though fall’n and evil tongues ;
In darkness, and with dangers compast round,
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou
Visit’st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east. Still govern thou my song,
Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
But drive far off the barbarous 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
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
Her son. So fail not thou, who thee implores :
For thou art heav'nly, she an empty dream.
Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphael,
The affable arch-angel, had forewarn’d
Adam by dire example to beware
Apostasy, by what befell in heav'n
To those apostates, lest the like befall
In Paradise to Adam or his race,
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
The story heard attentive, and was fillid
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
With such confusion : but the evil soon

1 Orpheus was torn to pieces by the Bacchanalian women of Rhodope, a mountain of Thrace ; nor could his

mother, the Muse Calliope, save him. Newton thinks that Milton here alludes to the dissolute Court of Charles II.

Driven back redounded as a flood on those
From whom it sprung, impossible to mix
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeald
The doubts that in his heart arose : and now
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him, how this world
Of heav'n and earth conspicuous first began,
When, and whereof, created, for what cause,
What within Eden, or without, was done
Before his memory, as one whose drouth
Yct scarce allay'd still eyes the current stream,
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
Proceeded thus to ask his heav'nly guest.

Great things, and full of wonder in our ears,
Far differing from this world, thou hast reveal'd,
Divine interpreter, by favour sent
Down from the empyrean to forewarn
Us timely of what might else have been our loss,
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach :
For which to the infinitely Good we owe
Immortal thanks, and His admonishment
Receive with solemn purpose to observe
Immutably His sovereign will, the end
Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsafed
Gently for our instruction to impart
Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem'd,
Deign to descend now lower, and relate
What may no less perhaps avail us known;
How first began this heav'n which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd
Innumerable, and this which yields or fills
All space, the ambient air wide interfused
Embracing round this florid earth; what cause
Moved the Creator in his holy rest
Through all eternity so late to build
In Chaos; and the work begun, how soon
Absolved ; if unforbid thou may'st unfold
What we, not to explore, the secrets, ask
Of His eternal empire, but the more

To magnify His works, the more we know.
And the great light of day yet wants to run
Much of his race though steep ; suspense in heav'n
Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears,
And longer will delay to hear thee tell
His generation, and the rising birth
Of nature from the unapparent deep :
Or if the star of ev’ning and the moon
Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring
Silence, and sleep list’ning to thee will watch ;
Or we can bid his absence, till thy song
End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought;
And thus the Godlike Angel answer'd mild.

This also thy request with caution ask'd
Obtain: though to recount almighty works
What words or tongue of seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend ?
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve
To glorify the Maker, and infer
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
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not reveal’d, which th' invisible King,
Only omniscient, hath supprest in night,
To none communicable in earth or heav'n:
Enough is left besides to search and know.
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temperance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind niay well contain,
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.

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

1

11 Tim. i. 17.

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