網頁圖片
PDF

While the bright pomp ascended jubilant.
Open, ye everlasting gates, they sung,
Open, ye heav'ns, your living doors; let in
The great Creator from his work return'd
Magnificent, his six days' work, a world;
Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign
To visit oft the dwellings of just men
Delighted, and with frequent intercourse
Thither will send his winged messengers
On errands of supernal grace. So sung
The glorious train ascending. He through heav'ng
That open'd wide her blazing portals, led
To God's eternal house direct the way;
A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear,
Seen in the galaxy, that milky way;
Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest
Powder'd with stars. And now on earth the sev'nth
Ev'ning arose in Eden; for the sun
Was set, and twilight from the east caine on,
Fore-running night; when at the holy mount
Of heav'n's high-seated top, th’Imperial throne
Of Godhead, fix'd for ever firm and sure,
The Filial Pow'r arriv'd, and sat him down
With his great Father; for he also went.
Invisible, yet stay'd (such privilege
Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordaind,
Author and end of all things, and from work
Now resting, bless'd and hallow'd the sev’nth day,
As resting on that day from all his work:
But not in silence holy kept; the harp
Had work, and rested not; the solemn pipe.
And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop,
All sounds on fret by string or golden wire
Temper'd soft tunings, intermix'd with voice
Choral or unison; of incense clouds
Fuming from golden censers hid the mount,
Creation and the six days' acts they sung,
Great are thy works, Jehovah, infinite

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Thy pow'r; what thoughtcan measure thee, or tongue
Relate thee? greater now in thy return
Than from the giant angels: thee that day
Thy thunders magnify'd; but to create
Is greater, than created, to destroy.
Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound
Thy empire? Easily the proud attempt
Of sp'rits apostate and their counsels vain
Thou hast repell’d, while impiously they thought
Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw
The number of thy worshippers. Who seeks
To lessen thee, against his purpose serves
To manifest the more thy might: his evil
Thou usest, and from thence creat'st more good.
Witness this new-made world, another heav'n,
From heaven-gate not far, founded in view
On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea;
Of amplitude almost immense, with stars
Numerous, and every star perhaps a world
Of destin'd habitation; but thou know'st
Their seasons: among these the seat of men,
Earth, with her nether ocean circumfus'd,
Their pleasant dwelling place. Thrice happy men,
And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanc'd, -
Created in his image, there to dwell,
And worship him; and in reward to rule
Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air;
And multiply a race of worshippers,
Holy and just: thrice happy, if they know
Their happiness, and persevere upright.

So sung they, and the empyrean rung
With Hallelujahs: Thus was sabbath kept.
And thy request think now fulfil'd, that ask'd
llow first this world and face of things began,
And what before thy memory was done
From the beginning, that posterity,
Inform’d by thee, might know: if else thou seek'st
Ought, not surpassing human measure, say.

sreated in his imanom God hath the happy men.

Book the Lighth.

THE ARGUMENT. Adam enquires concerning celestial motions; is doubt

fully answered, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge: Adam 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 nup. tials with Eve; his discourse with the Angel thereupon: who, after admonitions repeated, departs.

THE Angel ended, and in Adam's ear

1 So charming left his voice, that he awhile Thought him still speaking, still stood fix'd to hear: Then, as new wak'd, thus gratefully reply'd :

What thanks sufficient, or what recompense
Equal have I to render thee, divine
Historian, who thus largely hast allay'd
The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsaf'd
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 Heav'n and Earth consisting, and compute
Their magnitudes, this earth a spot, a grain,
An atom, with the firmament compar'd,
And all her number'd stars, that seem to roll
Spaces incomprehensible (for such
Their distance argues, and their swift return

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 ought appears, and on their orbs impose
Such restless revolution day by day
Repeated, while the sedentary earth,
That better might with far less compass move,
Serv'd by more noble than herself, attains
Her end without least motion, and receives
As tribute, such a suinless journey brought
Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light;
Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails.

So spake our sire, and by his count'nance seem'd
Ent'ring on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve
Perceiving, where she sat retir'd 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 flow'rs,
To visit how they prosper'd, bud and bloom,
Her nursery; they at her coming sprung,
And touch'd 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 reservd,
Adam relating, she sole auditress;
Her husband the relator she preferr'd
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 pleas'd her. O when meet now
Such pairs, in love and mutual honour join'd?
With goddess-like demeanour forth she went,
Not unattended; for on her, as queen,

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 propos'd,
Benevolent and facile, thus reply'd :

To ask or search I blame thee not; for Heav'n
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 Heav?n 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 scann'd by them who ought
Rather admire; or if they list to try
Conjecture, he his fabric of the heav'ns
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
Hereafter, when they come to model heav'n
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 epycicle, 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 heav'n such journies 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 heav'n, so small,
Nor glist'ring, 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 receiv'd
His beams unactive else, their vigour find.
Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries
Officious, but to thee, earth's habitant.

« 上一頁繼續 »