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Shepherd, I take thy word,
And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,
Hail, holy Light! offspring of heaven first-born,
Or of the Eternal co-eternal beam,
May I express thee unblamed?2 since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal stream >
Whose fountain who shall tell 1 * Before the sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long cletain'd
In that obscure sojourn; while in my flight,
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre,
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,5
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renown,
1 "This celebrated complaint, with which Milton opens the third book, deserves all Uie praises which have been given 1L"—Addison. s That Is, may I, without blame, call thee the co-etern<u beam of the Eternal God. i Or rather dost thou hear this address, dost thou rather to be called,pmre etktrtai ttreamT l As In Job xxxvlli. 19, "Where Is the way where light dweUeth r"
b Kedron and Slloa. "He sUll was pleased to study the bcauUes of the ancient poets, but his highest ueltvut was In the Son?* of Sion, In the holy Scriptures, and In these be meditated day and night. Thu '« the *en*r of the passage stripped of Its pottlcal ornaments."—Xcu to/t.
INVOCATION TO LIGHT.1
Blind Thamyris, and blind Moeonides,'
And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine j
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works, to me expunged and rased,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and Jhe mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of tilings invisible to mortal sight
fanJbt hat, in. i.
Eve's Account Of Her Creation.
That day I oft remember, when frcm sleep
I yfreontdes Is Homer. Thamyris was a Thraclnn, and Invented the Doric mood or measure Tiiv»lat and Phineus, the former a Thcban, the latter a king of Arcadia, were famous blind bards of Biiti'jtiity. Milton nses the word "prophet" in the sense of the Latin valet, which unites the character of prophet and poet. Indeed, throughout Milton's poetry there are words and phrases perpetu sliy occurring that are used In their pure LaUn sense, the beauUcs of which none but a classical scholar can fully appreciate. This, of itself, is a sufficient answer, if there were not a dozen others, to the senseless question so often asked, "What is the use of a girl's studying LaUn I"
Inseparably tliinc; to him slialt benr
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call'd
Motlier of human race." What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed, and tall,
Under a platane; yet, methought, less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image: back I turn'd;
Thou, following, criedst aloud, "Return, fair Eve;
Whom fliest thou 1 whom thou fliest, of him thou art,
His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear.
Part of my sotil, I seek thee, and thee claim,
My other half." With that, thy gentle hand
Seized mine: I yielded; and from that time see
How beauty is exeell'd by manly grace,
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
PtyraOtt tort, TT. 449
EVENING IN PARADISE.
Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
When Adam thus to Eve: "Fair consort, the hout
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd:
To whom our general ancestor replied: 1 Daughter of God and man, accomplished Eve, Those havo Uieir course to finish round the earth By morrow evening; and from land to land In order, though to nations yet unborn, Ministering light propared, they set and rise; Lest total darkness should by night regain Her old possession, and extinguish life In naturo and all things; which these soft fires Not only enlighten, but, with kindly heat Of various influence, foment and warm, Temper or nourish, or in part shed down Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow On earth, made hereby aptor to receive Perfection from the sun's more potent ray. These, then, though unbeheld in deep of night, Shine not in vain. Nor think, though men were none, That heaven would want spectators, God want praise: Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep: All these with ceaseless praise his works behold Both day and night How often, from die steep Of echoing hill or thicket, have we heard Celestial voices to the midnight air, Sole, or responsive each to other's note, Singing their Great Creator! oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly round ing walk,
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass'd
Rear'd high their fiourish'd heads between, and wrought
Mosaic; under-foot the violet,
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
Broider'd the ground, more color'd than with stone
Of costliest emblem: other creature here,
Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none,
Such was their awe of man! In shadier bower
More sacred and serjuester'd, though but feign'd,
Pan or Sylvanus never slept; nor nymph
Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs,
Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed j
And heavenly quires the hymenean sung,
What day the genial angel to our sire
Brought her, in naked beauty more adora'd,
More lovely than Pandora; whom the gods
Endow'd with all their gifts; and, O! too like
In sad event, when to the unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.
Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
Paradiu Lott, [V. Svf.