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Acknowledge him thy greater ; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon has gain'd, and when thou fallist.
Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fliest, 175
With the fix'd Stars, fix'd in their orb that flies ;
And, ye five other wandering Fires, that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and, ye Elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things ; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise

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From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncolour'd sky,
Or whet the thirsty earth with falling showers, 190
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow, 195
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living Souls: Ye Birds,
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk

200 T'he earth, and stately tread or lowly creep:. Witness if I be silent, morn or even, To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade, Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. Hail, universal Lord ! be bounteous still

205 To give us only good; and if the night Have gather'd aught of evil, or conceal’d, Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark ! So pray'd they innocent, and to their thoughts

Firm peace recover'd soon, and wonted calm. 210
On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row ,
Of fruit trees over-woody reach'd too far
Their pamper'd boughs, and needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine 215
To wed her elm ; she, spoused, about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employ'd beheld
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him call'd 220
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that doign'd
To travel with Tobias, and secured
His marriage with the seven-times wedded maid.

Raphael, said he, thou hear'st what stir on Earth
Satan, from Hell scaped through the darksome gulf,
Hath raised in Paradise ; and how disturbid 226
This night the human pair ; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.
Go, therefore, half this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade 230
Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retired,
To respite his day-labour with repast,
Or with repose ; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state,
Happiness in his power left free to will,

235 Left to his own free will, his will though free, Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware He swerve not, too secure : Tell him withal His danger, and from whom ; what enemy, Late fillen himself from Ileaven, is plotting now 240 The fall of others from like state of bliss; By violence ? no, for that shall be withstood ; But by deceit and lies : This let him know, Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend Surprisal, unadmonish d, unforewarn'd.

So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfill'd All justice : Nor delay'd the winged Saint

After his charge received ; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood
Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, upspringing light, 250
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelic choirs,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-open'd wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work

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Divine the sov'reign Architect had framed.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interposed, however small, he sees,
Not unconform’d to other shining globes,
Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crown'd
Above all hills. As when by night the glass . 261
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the moon :
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens

265 A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan Winnows the buxom air ; till, within soar ' 270 Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems. A phenix, gazed by all as that sole bird, When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun's Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies. At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise

275 He lights, and to his proper shape returns, A seraph wing'd: Six wings he wore to shade His lineaments divine ; the patir that clad Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast With regal ornament! the middle pair

280 Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold And colours dipp'd in Heaven; the third his feet Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail, Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood." 285

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And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance fill'd
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of Angels under watch; and to his state
And to his message high, in honour rise ;
For on some message high they guess'd him bound.
Their glittering tents he pass'd, and now is come 291
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm ;
A wilderness of sweets : for Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will 295
Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discern'd, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun 300
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs :
And Eve within, due at her hour, prepared
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst i 305
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape: To whom thus Adam callid:

Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold
Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving ; seems another morn 310
Risen on midnoon; some great behest from Heaven
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour
Abundance, fit to honour and receive

315 Our heavenly stranger : Well may we afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow From large bestow'd, where nature multiplies Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare. 320

To whom thus Eve : Adam, earth's hallow'd mould, Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store, All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;

Save what by fragal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes: 325
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice
To entertain our Angel guest, as he

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God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.

So saying, with despatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent; What choice to choose for delicacy best,

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Tastes not well join'd, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change ;
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever Earth, all bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where

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Alcinous reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
She gathers tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths 345
From many a herry, and from sweet kernels press'd
She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure ; then strows the ground
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.

Meanwhile our primitive great sire, to meet 350 His Godlike guest, walks forth, without more train Accompanied than with his own complete Perfections; in himself was all his state, More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retinue long . Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold, Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed, Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, As to a superior nature bowing low,

360 Thus said : Native of Heaven, for other place

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