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Eighth Book.


ADAM inquires concerning celestial motions; is doubtfully answered, and

exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge; Adarn assents; and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remembered since his own creation ; his placing in Paradise; his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society; his first meeting and nuptials with Eve; his discourse with the angel thereupon; who, after admonitions repeated, departs.


The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
So charming left his voice, that he awhile
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear;
Then, as new-waked, thus gratefully replied ;

What thanks sufficient, or what recompense
“ Equal, have I to render thee, divine
“ Historian! who thus largely hast allayed
“ The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed
“ This friendly condescension to relate

Things else by me unsearchable ; now heard “ With wonder, but delight, and, as is due, “ With glory attributed to the high Creator? Something yet of doubt remains, “ Which only thy solution can resolve.

“ When I behold this goodly frame, this world, “ Of Heaven and Earth consisting, and compute “ Their magnitudes; this Earth, a spot, a grain, “ An atom, with the firmament compared “And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll

Spaces incomprehensible, (for such " Their distance argues, and their swift return



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“ Diurnal,) merely to officiate light
“ Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot,
“One day and night; in all their vast survey
“ Useless besides : reasoning I oft admire,
“How Nature, wise and frugal, could commit
“ Such disproportions, with superfluous hand
“ So many nobler bodies to create,
“ Greater so manifold, to this one use,
“ For aught appears, and on their orbs impose

30 “ Such restless revolution day by day “Repeated; while the sedentary earth, “ That better might with far less compass move, “ Served by more noble than herself, attains “ Her end without least motion, and receives, “ As tribute,-such a sumless journey brought Of incorporeal speed—her warmth and light ; “ Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails.”

So spake our sire, and by his countenance seemed Entering on studious thoughts abstruse ; which Eve


40 Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight; With lowliness majestic from her seat, And grace, that won who saw to wish her stay, Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom, Her nursery ; they at her coming sprung, And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. Yet went she not as not with such discourse Delighted, or not capable her ear Of what was high : such pleasure she reserved,

50 Adam relating, she sole auditress : Her husband the relater she preferred Before the angel, and of him to ask Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute With conjugal caresses; from his lip Not words alone pleased her. -0! when meet now Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined ?With goddess-like demeanour forth she went, Not unattended ; for her, as queen,

60 A pomp of winning Graces waited still,



And from about her shot darts of desire
Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight.
And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt proposed,
Benevolent and facile thus replied:

“ To ask or search, I blame thee not; for Heaven
“ Is as the book of God before thee set,
" Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn
“ His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years :
“ This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth,

Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest “From man or angel the great Architect “ Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge “ His secrets to be scanned by them who ought “ Rather admire; or, if they list to try

Conjecture, he his fabric of the heavens “ Hath left to their disputes; perhaps to move “ His laughter at their quaint opinions wide

Hereafter, when they come to model Heaven “And calculate the stars; how they will wield “ The mighty frame;-how build, unbuild, contrive, To save appearances ;-how gird the sphere “ With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er,

Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb:

Already by thy reasoning this I guess, “ Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest “ That bodies bright and greater should not serve “ The less not bright; nor Heaven such journeys run, “ Earth sitting still, when she alone receives “ The benefit. Consider first, that great, “ Or bright, infers not excellence: the Earth, “ Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small, “Nor glistering, may of solid good contain “More plenty than the Sun that barren shines; " Whose virtue on itself works no effect, “ But in the fruitful earth; there first received, “ His beams, inactive else, their vigour find. “ Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries “ Officious; but to thee, Earth's habitant. “ And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak “ The Maker's high magnificence, who built

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“ So spacious, and his line stretched 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
“ Ordained 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 thinkest not slow, “ Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven, " Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived “ In Eden; distance inexpressible

By numbers that have name! But this I urge,

Admitting motion in the Heavens, 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 Heaven 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 wandering course, now high, now low, then hid,

Progressive, retrogade, or standing still, “ In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these “ The planet Earth, so steadfast though she seem, Insensibly three different motions move?

130 " 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 luminous by his ray. What if that light, 140 “ Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air,




" To the terrestrial Moon be as a star,

Enlightening 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 softened soil, for some to eat “ Allotted there; and other 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 unpossessed By living soul, desert and desolate,

Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute “ Each orb a glimpse of light, conveyed 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 Heaven, “ Rise on the Earth, or Earth rise on the Sun; “ He from the East his flaming road begin, " Or she from West her silent course advance “ With inoffensive pace, that spinning sleeps “ On her soft axle, while she paces even, “ 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 : Heaven 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 decree : “ Contented that thus far hath been revealed, “ Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven.”

To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied : “ How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure “ Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene !



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