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Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries
Officious, but to thee earth's habitant.
And for the heav'n's wide circuit, let it speak
The Maker's high magnificence, who built
So spacious, and His line stretch'd out so far;
That man may know he dwells not in his own;
An edifice too large for him to fill,
Lodged in a small partition, and the rest
Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known.
The swiftness of those circles attribute,
Though numberless, to his omnipotence,
That to corporeal substances could add
Speed almost spiritual: me thou think’st not slow,
Who since the morning hour set out from heav'n
Where God resides, and ere midday arrived
In Eden, distance inexpressible
By numbers that have name.
But this I urge,
Admitting motion in the heav'ns, to show
Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved;
Not that I so affirm, though so it seem
To thee who hast thy dwelling here on earth.
God, to remove His ways from human sense,
Placed heav'n from earth so far, that earthly sight,
If it presume, might err in things too high,
And no advantage gain. What if the sun
Be centre to the world, and other stars,
By his attractive virtue and their own
Incited, dance about him various rounds ?
Their wand'ring course now high, now low, then hid,
Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,
In six thou seest;' and what if sev'nth to these
The planet earth, so steadfast though she seem,
Insensibly three different motions? move ?
Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe,
Moved contrary with thwart obliquities,
Or save the sun his labour, and that swift
Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed,
Invisible else above all stars, the wheel
Of day and night; which needs not thy belief,
If earth industrious of herself fetch day
Travelling east, and with her part averse
From the sun's beam meet night, her other part
Still lumiuous by his ray. What if that light,
Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air,
To the terrestrial moon be as a star
Enlight'ning her by day, as she by night
This earth ? reciprocal, if land be there,
Fields and inhabitants : her spots thou seest
As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce
Fruits in her soften'd soil, for some to eat
Allotted there; and othe: suns perhaps
With their attendant moons thou wilt descry,
Communicating male and female light,
Which two great sexes animate the world,
Stored in each orb perhaps with some that live
For such vast room in nature unpossess'd
By living soul, desert and desolate,
Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute
Each orb a glimpse of light, convey'd so far
Down to this habitable, which returns
Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.
But whether thus these things, or whether not
Whether the sun predominant in heav'n
Rise on the earth, or earth rise on the sun,
He from the east his flaming il d begin,
Or she from west her silent course advance
With inoffensive pace, that spinning sleeps
On her soft axle, while she paces ev'n,
And bears thee soft with the smooth air along,
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid,
Leave them to God above, Him serve and fear:
Of other creatures, as Him pleases best,
Wherever placed, let Him dispose : joy thou
In what He gives to thee, this paradise
And thy fair Eve; heav'n is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise:
Think only what concerns thee and thy being;
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there
Live, in what state, condition, or degree,
Contented that thus far hath been reveald.
Not of earth only, but of highest heav'n.
To whom thus Adam, clear’d of doubt, replied.
How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure
Intelligence of heav'n, angel serene,
And freed from intricacies, taught to live
The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts
To interrupt the sweet of life, from which
God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares,
And not molest us, unless we ourselves
Seek them with wand'ring thoughts, and notions vain.
But apt the mind or fancy is to rove
Uncheck’d, and of her roving is no end;
Till warn'd, or by experience taught, she learn,
That not to know at large of things remote
From use, obscure and subtle, but to know
That which before us lies in daily life,
Is the prime wisdom; what is more, is fume,
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence,
And renders us in things that most concern
Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek.
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand
Useful, whence haply mention may arise
Of something not unseasonable to ask
By sufferance, and thy wonted favour deign'd.
Thee I have heard relating what was done
Ere my remembrance: now hear me relate
My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard:
And day is not yet spent; till then thou seest
How subtly to detain thee I devise,
Inviting thee to hear while I relate,
Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply.
For while I sit with thee, I seem in heav'n,
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst
And hunger both, from labour, at the hour
Of sweet repast: they satiate, and soon fill,
Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divino
Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety.
To whom thus Raphael answer'd heav'nly meek.
Nor are thy lips ungraceful, sire of men,
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
Abundantly His gifts hath also pour'd
Inward and outward both, His image fair :
Speaking or mute all comeliness and grace
Attends thee, and each word, each motion forms
Nor less think we in heav'n of thee on earth,
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire
Gladly into the ways of God with man:
For God we see hath honour'd thee, and set
On man his equal love. Say therefore on;
For I that day was absent, as befell,
Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,
Far on excursion toward the gates of hell,
Squared in full legion, such command we had,
To see that none thence issued forth a spy,
Or enemy, while God was in his work,
Lest He, incensed at such eruption bold,
Destruction with creation might have mix'd.
Not that they durst without His leave attempty
But us He sends upon His high behests
For state, as Sov’reign King, and to enure
Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut
The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong;
But long ere our approaching heard within
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song,
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
Glad we return'd up to the coasts of light
Ere sabbath ev'ning : so we had in charge.
But thy relation now; for I attend,
Pleased with thy words, no less than thou with mine.
So spake the godlike Power, and thus our sire.
For man to tell how human life began
Is hard ; for who himself beginning knew ?
Desire with thee still longer to converse
Induced me. As new waked from scandest sleep
Soft on the flow'ry herb I found me laid,
In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun
Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward heav'n my wond'ring eyes I turn’d,
And gazed a while the ample sky, till raised
By quick instinėtive motion up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet. About me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these
Creatures that lived, and moved, and walk’d, or flew;
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled,
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd.
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
With supple joints, as lively vigour led :
But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
Knew not: to speak I tried, and forth with spake;
My tongue obey'd, and readily could pame
Whate'er I saw. Thou sun, said I, fair light,
And thou enlighten'd earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,
that live and move, fair creatures, tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?
Not of myself, by some great Maker then,
In goodness and in power pre-eminent:
I know Him, how adore, From whom I have that thus I move and live, And feel that I am happier than I know. . While thus I call'd, and stray'd I knew not whither, From where I first drew air, and first beheld This happy light, when answer none return'd, On a green shady bank profuse of flow'rs Pensive I sat me down; there gentle sleep First found me, and with soft oppression seized My drowsèd sense, untroubled, though I thought I then was passing to my former state Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve: When suddenly stood at my head a dream,