Page images

Round he surveys, and well might, where he stood
So high above the circling canopie
Of Night's extended thade; from eastern point
Of Libra to the fleecie star that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantic seas
Beyond th'horizon; then from pole to pole
He views in breadth, and without longer pause
Down right into the world's first region throws
His flight precipitant, 'and windes with ease
Through the pure marble air his oblique way
Amongst innumerable stars, that shone
Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds,
Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy ines,
Like those Hesperian gardens fam'd of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves and fourie vales,
Thrice happy isles, but who dwelt happy there
He stay'd not to enquire; above them all
The golden sun in splendor likest heav'n
Allur'd his eye : thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament ; but up or down
By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,
Or longitude, "where the great luminarie
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far; they as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute
Days, months, and years, towards his all-chearing lanp
Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetrazion, though unseen,

Scoots invisible virtue even to the deep :
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps
Aftronomer in the sun's lucent orb
Through his glaz'd optic tube yet never saw.
The place he found beyond expression bright,
Compar'd with aught on earth, metal or stone;
Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire ;
If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear ;
I ftone carbuncle most or chrysolite,
Rubie, or topaz, to the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breaft-plate, and a stone besides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,
That stone, or like to that which here below
Philosophers in vain so long have fought,
In vain, though by their powerful art they bind
Volatil Hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form.
What wonder then if fields and regions here
Breathe forth Elixir pure, and rivers run.
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
Th’arch-chimic sun fo far from us remote -
Produces with terrestrial humour mixt
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour glorious and effect fo rare ?
Here matter new to gaze the devil met
Undazi'd, far and wide his eye commands,

For fight no obstacle found here, nor shades ! But all fun-fhine, as when his beams at noon


[ocr errors]

Culminate from th'Æquator, as they now
Shoot upward still dire t, whence no way round
Shadow from body opaque can fall, and th'air,
No where so clear, sharp'n'd his visual ray
To objects diftant far, whereby he soon
Saw within kenn a glorious angel stand,
The same whom John saw also in the fun :
His back was turn'd, but not his brightness hid ;
Of beaming sunnie raies, a golden tiar
Circl'd his head, nor less his locks behind
Illustrious on his shoulders Aedg'd with wings
Lay waving round; on some great charge imploy'd
He seem'd, or fixt in cogitation deep.
Glad was the spirit impure, as now in hope
To find who might direct his wandring fight
To Paradise the happie seat of man,
His journey's end and our beginning woe.
But first he casts to change his proper Tape,
Which else might work him danger or delay :
And now a stripling cherub he appears,
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
Youth smil'd celestial, 'and to every limb
Suitable grace diffus'd, so well he feign’d;
Under a coronet his flowing hair
In curles on either. cheek plaid, wings he wore
Of many a colour'd plume sprinkl’d with gold,
His habit fit for speed fuccinct, and held
Before his decent steps a silver wand.
He drew not nigh unheard, the angel bright,
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant vifage turn'd,
Admonisht by his ear, and strait was known

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Th' arch-angel Uriel, one of the seven
Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne
Stand ready at command, and are his eyes
That run through all the heav'ns, or down to th'eartli
Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
O're sea and land : him Satan thus accosts.

Uriel, for thou of those seven spirits that stand
In fight of God's high throne, gloriously bright,
The first art wont his great authentic will
Interpreter through highest heav'n to bring,
Where all his fons thy emballie attend ;
And here art likeliest by supream decree
Like honour to obtain, and as his eye
To visit oft this new creation round;
Unspeakable desire to fee, and know
All these his wondrous works, but chiefly man,
His chief delight and favour : him for whom
All these his works fo wondrous he ordain'd,
Hath brought me from the quires of cherubim
Alone thus wandring. Brightest seraph tell
In which of all these shining orbs hath man
His fix'd seat, or fixed feat hath none,
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell ;
That I may find him, and with fecret gaze,
Or open admiration him behold
On whom the great Creator hath bestow'd
Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces pour'd :
That both in him and all things, as is meet,
The universal Maker we may praise ;
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes
To deepest hell, and to repair that lofs

[ocr errors]

Created this new happie race of men
To serve him better : wise are all his wayes.
So spake the falle dissembler unperceiv'd ;
For neither man nor angel can discern
Hypocrisie, the only evil that walks
Invisible, except to God alone,
By his permissive will, through heav'n and earth :
And oft though wisdom wake, suspicion fleeps
At wisdom's gate, and to simplicitie
Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill seems : which now, for once beguild
Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held
The Tharpest-fighted fpirit of all in heav'n ;
Who to the fraudulent impostor foule
In his uprightness answer thus return'd..
Fair angel, thy desire which tends to know
The works of God, thereby to glorifie
The great work-maister, leads to no excess
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
The more it seems excess, that led thee hither
From thy empyreal manfion thus alone,
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps.
Contented with report hear only in heav'n :
For wonderful indeed are all his works,
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
Had in remembrance alwayes with delight;
But what created mind can comprehend
Their number, or the wisdom infinite
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep.
I saw when at his word the formless mass,
This world's material mould, came to a heap :

« PreviousContinue »