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In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorn'd
Of living sapphire, 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,
Accursed, and in a cursed hour, he hies.

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BOOK III.

God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this world,

then newly created, shows him to the Son, who eat at his right hand; foretels 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. Tho Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man: Bui 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. Meanwhile 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, descri'd ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it: His passage thenco to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel, the regent of thai 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 had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habi tation, and is directed : Alights first on mount Niphates.

Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born,
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam,
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light,
And never but in unayproached 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,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight

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Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphéan 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 sov’reign vital lamp; but thou
Revisitst 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 1 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, 30
That wash'd 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 10
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 everduring dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of natures works, to me expunged and rased,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.

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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.

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Now had the Almighty Father from above,
From the pure empyrean where he sits
High throned above all height, bent down his eye
His own works and their works at once to view:
About him all the Sanctities of Heaven

60 Stood thick as stars, and from his sight received 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 placed, 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 Heaven on this side Night In the dun air sublime, and ready now To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet, On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd Firm land imbosom’d, without firmament, Uncertain which, in ocean or in air. Him God beholding from his prospect high, Wherein past, present, future he beholds, Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake :

Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage Transports our Adversary? whom no bounds Prescribed, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss, Wide interrupt, can hold ; so bent he seems On desperate revenge, that shall redound 85 Upon his own rebellious head. And now, Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way Not far off Heaven, in the precincts of light,

Directly towards the new created world,
And man there placed, with purpose to essay
If him by force he can destroy, or, worse,
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert;

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And easily transgress the sole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience : So will fall
He and his faithless progeny : Whose fault?
Whose but his own ? Ingrate, he had of me
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all the ethereal Powers

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And Spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd;
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love,
Where only what they needs must do appear'd, 105
Not what they would? what praise could they receive?
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,

Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
Made passive both, had served necessity,

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Not me? They therefore, as to right belong'd,
So were ereated, nor can justly accuse
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate,
As if predestination overruled .
Their will disposed by absolute decree

115 Or high foreknowledge ; they themselves decreed Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less proved certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow of fate, Or aught by me immutably foreseen, They trespass, authors to themselves in all Both what they judge and what they choose ; for so I form'd them free; and free they must remain, Till they enthral themselves; I else must change 125

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