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And multiply a race of worshippers

630 Holy and just : thrice happy, if they know Their happiness, and persevere upright!

So sung they, and the empyréan rung With hallelujahs : thus was sabbath kept. And thy request think now fulfill’d, that ask'd 635 How 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 Aught, not surpassing human measure, say. 640

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK VIII.

Adam inquires concerning celestial motions; is doubtfuily answer',

ed, 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 ; big placing in Paradise; his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society; his first meeting and nuptials with Eve; his dis course 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 fix'd to hear;
Then, as new waked, thus gratefully replied :

What thanks sufficient, or what recompenso
Equal, have I to render thee, divine
Historian, who thus largely hast allay'd
The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed
This friendly condescension to relate
Things, else by me unsearchable ; now heard 10
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, 15
Of Heaven and earth consisting ;, and compute
Their magnitudes; this Earth, a spot, a grain,
An atom, with the firmament compared
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 her vist 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 impone
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 seem'd
Entering on studious thoughts abstruse ; which Eve
Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight, 41
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,

45 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 reserved, 50 Adam relating, she sole auditress; Her husband the relater 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 pleased 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,

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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, 70
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 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

90 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, unactive else, their vigour find. Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries Officious; but to thee, Earth's habitant.

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And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak 100
The Maker's high magnificence, who built
So spacious, and his line stretch'd out so far ;

An edifice too large for him to fill,
Lodged in a small partition; and the rest 105
Ordain'd 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 think'st not slow,
Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven 111
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 115
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.

Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight If it presume, might err in things too high, 121 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 ? 125 Their wandering course now high, now low, then hid, Progressive, retrograde, 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? 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 135 Of day and night ; which needs not thy belief, If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day

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