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With easy intercourse pass to and fro
To tempt and punish mortals, except whom
God and good angels guard by special grace.
But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of heav'n 1035
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night
A glimmering dawn: here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire
As from her outmost works, a broken foe,
With tumult less and with less hostile din,
That Satan with less toil and now with ease
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,
And like a weather-beaten vessel holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off th' empyreal heaven, extended wide
In circuit, undetermin’d square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorn'd
Of living saphir, once his native seat;
And fast by, hanging in a golden chain
This pendent world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Thither full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Accurs’d, and in a cursed hour, he hies.

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1052 This pendent world] Verbatim from Shakespeare's Meas. for Meas. act. iii. scene i. 1054 mischievous]

• Thither full fraught, with hope of wished success.' Bentl. MS..

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK III.

THE ARGUMENT.

God sitting on his throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free, and able enough to have withstood his tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man; but God again declares, that grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore with all his progeny devoted to death must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for Man; the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in heaven and earth ; commands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and, hymning to their harps in full choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean while Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place, since called the Limbo of Vanity ; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it: his passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel the regent of that orb; but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and Man whom God hath placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed ; alights first on mount Niphates.

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Hail holy light! offspring of heav'n first-born; Or of th' eternal co-eternal beam May I express thee unblam'd ? 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 ? 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,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes, than to th’ 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,

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3 God is light] See Wakef. Lucret. 1, p. 320. “Per emphasin Deus sæpissime Sol audit. Ov. Met. xv. 192.

* Ipse Dei clypeus, terrà cum tollitur imà,

Mane rubetadeas notata nobis ad Virg. Georg. i. 6.'

8 fountain) see Lucret. 5. 282, - largus item liquidi fons luminis.'

17 other notes) See Bembo Sonnetti, p. 26, con altre voce.' Dante Il Parad. c. xxv. 7, Con altra voce omai, con altra vello Ritornero Poeta.'

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And feel thy sov'reign 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, 25
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,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit ; nor sometimes forget
Those other two equal'd with me in fate,
So were I equal'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
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 ;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark

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25 quench'd] drench'd. Bentl. MS.

25 orbs] Val. Flacc. iv. 235. Sanguineosque rotat orbes.' See Burman's Note.

30 flowery brooks) flowing, silver, crystal, purling. Bentl. MS. 35 Thamyris] Stat. Theb. iv. 183.

• Mutos Thamyris damnatus in annos.' VOL. ).

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Surrounds me, from the cheerful

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 expung'd and ras'd, And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. So much the rather thou celestial light Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell Of things invisible to mortal sight.

Now had the Almighty Father from above, From the pure empyrean where he sits High thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye, His own works and their works at once to view. About him all the sanctities of heaven Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd Beatitude past utterance; on his right The radiant image of his glory sat, His only Son : on earth he first beheld Our two first parents, yet the only two Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd, Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, Uninterrupted joy, unrival'd love, In blissful solitude: he then survey'd Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there Coasting the wall of heav'n on this side night In the dun air sublime, and ready now

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49 Of ] Pearce proposes to read · All nature's works,' and Newton agrees with him, putting a stop after blank,' but I do not understand the force of their objection to the established text.

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