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Of all tastes else to please their appetite,
Though wand'ring. He with his consorted Eve
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
With such confusion: but the evil soon


Driv'n back, redounded as a flood on those
From whom it sprung, impossible to mix
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repeal'd
The doubts that in his heart arose and now 60
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 drought
Yet 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, 70 Far diff'ring 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 th' infinitely Good we owe
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment


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Receive with solemn purpose, to observe
Immutably his sov'reign will, the end


Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsaf'd
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: 85
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 interfus'd
Embracing round this florid earth; what cause 90
Mov'd the Creator in his holy rest
Through all eternity so late to build
In Chaos, and the work begun, how soon
Absolv'd, 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


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; 106

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 God-like Angel answer'd mild: 110
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 can'st 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 receiv'd, to answer thy desire


Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope 121
Things not reveal'd, which th' invisible King,
Only omniscient, hath suppress'd in night;
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
Victorious with his saints, th' Omnipotent


Eternal Father from his throne beheld


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
This innaccessible high strength, the seat
Of Deity supreme, us dispossess'd,
He trusted to have seiz'd, and into fraud
whom their place knows here no

Drew many,


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
Already done, to have dispeopl'd 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
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
Not here, till by degrees of merit rais'd,
They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience try'd,


And earth be chang'd to Heav'n, and Heav'n to



One kingdom, joy and union without end. 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 Sp'rit and might with thee
I send along; ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be Heav'n and Earth,
Boundless the deep, because I am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.
Though I uncircumscrib'd myself retire,
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.
So spake th' Almighty, and to what he spake,
His Word, the filial Godhead, gave effect.
Immediate are the acts of God, more swift
Than time or motion; but to human ears
Cannot without process of speech be told;
So told as earthly notion can receive.
Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heav'n, 180
When such was heard declar'd th' Almighty's will.
Glory they sung to the Most High, good-will
To future men, and in their dwellings peace:
Glory to him, whose just avenging ire
Had driven out th' ungodly from his sight 185
And th' habitations of the just: to him
Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordain'd
Good out of evil to create, instead

Of Sp'rits malign, a better race to bring

Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse 190 His good to worlds and ages infinite.

So sang the Hierarchies: Mean while the Son On his great expedition now appear'd,

Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd

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