Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the Earth, Each in their kind !—The earth obeyed, and straight Opening her fertile womb, teemed at her birth Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms, Limbed and full grown. Out of the ground up-rose, As from his lair, the wild beast, where he wons In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den : Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked; The cattle in the fields and meadows green : Those rare and solitary, these in flocks Pasturing at once, and in broad herds up-sprung. The grassy clods now calved; now half appeared The tawny lion, pawing to get free His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds, And rampant shakes his brinded mane : the ounce, The libbard, and the tiger, (as the mole Rising) the crumbled earth above them threw In hillocks: the swift stag from under ground Bore up his branching head: scarce from his mould Behemoth (biggest born of earth) upheaved His vastness : fleeced the flocks, and bleating, rose, As plants : ambiguous between sea and land, The river-horse, and scaly crocodile. At once came forth whatever creeps the ground, Insect or worm : those waved their limber fans For wings, and smallest lineaments exact In all the liveries decked of summer's pride, With spots of gold and purple, azure and green : These, as a line, their long dimension drew, . Streaking the ground with sinuous trace: not all Minims of nature; some of serpent-kind,

Wonderous in length and corpulence, involved
Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept
The parsimonious emmet, provident
Of future; in small room large heart enclosed;
Pattern of just equality perhaps
Hereafter, joined in her popular tribes
Of commonalty. Swarming next, appeared
The female bee, that feeds her husband drone
Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells
With honey stored. The rest are numberless,
And thou their natures know'st, and gav'st them

names,
Needless to thee repeated : nor unknown
The serpent (subtlest beast of all the field)
Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes
And hairy mane terrifick, though to thee
Not noxious, but obedient at thy call.

Now Heaven in all her glory shone, and rolled
Her motions, as the great First Mover's hand
First wheeled their course : Earth in her rich attire
Consummate lovely smiled; air, water, earth,
By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was

walked,
Frequent; and of the Sixth Day yet remained :
There wanted yet the Master-Work, the end
Of all yet done; a creature, who, not prone
And brute as other creatures, but endued
With sanctity of reason, might erect
His stature, and upright with front serene
Govern the rest, self-knowing; and from thence,
Magnanimous, to correspond with Heaven;

But grateful to acknowledge whence his good
Descends, thither with heart, and voice, and eyes,
Directed in devotion, to adore
And worship God supreme, who made him chief
Of all his works : therefore the Omnipotent
Eternal Father (for where is not He
Present ?) thus to his Son audibly spake.

Let us make now Man in our image, Man
In our similitude, and let them rule
Over the fish and fowl of sea and air,
Beast of the field, and over all the earth,
And every creeping thing that creeps the ground !

This said, he formed thee, Adam, thee, O man ! Dust of the ground; and in thy nostrils breathed The breath of life : in his own image he Created thee, in the image of God Express; and thou becam’st a living soul. Male he created thee; but thy consórt Female, for race; then blessed mankind, and said, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth; Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold Over fish of the sea, and fowl of the air, And every living thing that moves on the earth, Wherever thus created, for no place Is yet distinct by name. Thence (as thou know'st) He brought thee into this delicious grove, This garden, planted with the trees of God, Delectable both to behold and taste ; And freely all their pleasant fruit for food Gave thee (all sorts are here that all the earth yields, Variety without end !) but of the tree,

Which, tasted, works knowledge of good and evil,
Thou mayst not : in the day thou eat’st, thou dy'st ;
Death is the penalty imposed : beware,
And govern well thy appetite ; lest Sin
Surprise thee, and her black attendant, Death.

Here finished he, and all that he had made
Viewed, and behold, all was entirely good;
So even and morn accomplished the Sixth Day :
Yet not till the Creator from his work
Desisting, though unwearied, up returned,
Up to the Heaven of Heavens, his high abode ;
Thence to behold this new-created world,
The addition of his empire, how it showed
In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair,
Answering his great idea. Up he rode,
Followed with acclamation, and the sound
Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned
Angelic harmonies: the earth, the air
Resounded, (thou remember'st, for thou heard'st)
The Heavens and all the constellations rung:
The planets in their station listening stood,
While the bright pomp ascended jubilant.
Open, ye everlasting gates ! they sung,
Open, ye Heavens ! your living doors ; let in
The great Creator, from his work returned
Magnificent, his six days work, a World :
Open, and henceforth oft ; for God will deign
To visit oft the dwellings of just men,
Delighted ; and with frequent intercourse
Thither will send his winged messengers,
On errands of supernal grace. So sung

The glorious train ascending : He through Heaven,
That opened wide her blazing portals, led
To God's eternal house direct the way;
A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear
Seen in the galaxy, that milky way
Which nightly, as a circling zone, thou seest
Powdered with stars. And now on Earth the Seventh
Evening arose in Eden, for the sun
Was set, and twilight from the east came on,
Forerunning night; when at the holy mount
Of Heaven's high-seated top, the imperial throne
Of Godhead, fixed for ever firm and sure,
The Filial Power arrived, and sat him down
With his great Father; for he also went
Invisible, yet staid, (such privilege
Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordained,
Author and End of all things; and, from work
Now resting, blessed and hallowed the Seventh Day,
As resting on that day from all his work :
But not in silence holy kept; the harp
Had work, and rested not; the solemn pipe
And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop,
All sounds on fret by string or golden wire,
Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice
Choral or unison : of incense clouds,
Fuming from golden censers, hid the mount.
Creation, and the Six Days' acts, they sung :

Great are thy works, Jehovah ! infinite
Thy power! what thought can measure thee, or

tongue

« PreviousContinue »