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Breathe forth Elixir pare, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
Th’arch-chemic sun, so far from us remote,
Produces, with terrestrial humour mix’d, 616
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour glorious and effect so rare?
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
Undazzled; far and wide his

eye

commands; For sight no obstacle found liere, nor shade, But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon Culminate from th' equator, as they now Shot upward still direct, whence no way round Shadow from body' opaque can fall; and th' air No where so clear, sharpen’d his visual ray

620 To objects distant far, whereby he soon Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand, The same whom John saw also in the sun : His back was turn'd, but not his brightness hid; Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar Circled his head, nor less his locks behind Illustrious on his shoulders Medge with wings Lay waving round; on some great charge employ'd He seem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep. „Glad was the Spi'rit impure, as now in hope 630 To find who might direct his wand'ring flight To Paradise, the happy seat of Man, His journey's end, and our beginning woe. But first he casts to change his proper shape, Which else might work him danger or delay: And now a stripling Cherub he aprears,

640

650

Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
Youth smil'd celestial, and to overy limb
Suitable gr. ce diffus'd, so weil he reign’d:
Under a coronet his fiowing hair
In curls on either cheek play'd; wings he wore
Of many a colour'd plume sprinkled with gold,
His habit fit for speed succinct, and heid
Before his decent stops a silver wand.
He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright,
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn’d,
Admonish'd by his ear, and straight was known
Th’ Arch-Angel Uriël, 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 Ileav'ns, or down to th'

Earth
Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
O'er sea and land : him Satan thus accosts.

Uriel, for thou of those sev’n Spi’rits that stand
In sight 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 sons thy embassy attend;
And here art likeliest by supreme decree
Like honour to obtain, and as his eye

660 To visit oft this new creation round; Unspeakable desire to see, and know All these his wond'rous works, but chiefly Man, His chief delight and favour, him for whom All these his works so wond'rous he ordain'd,

680

Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim
Alone thus wand'ring. Brightest Seraph, tell
In which of all these shining orbs hath Man
His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; 670
That I may find him, and with secret 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 driv'n out his rebel foes
To deepest Hell, and to repair that loss
Created this new happy race of Men
To serve him better: wise are all his

ways. So spake the false dissembler unperceiv'd; For neither Man nor Angel can discern Hypocrisy, 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 sleeps At 'wisdom's gate, and to simplicity 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 690 The sharpest sighted Spi'rit of all in Heaven; Who to the fraudulent impostor foul In his uprightness answer thus return'd.

Fair Angel, thy desire which tends to know The works of God, thereby to glorify

The great Work-Master, leads to no excess
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
The more it seems excess, that led thee hither
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone,
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps 709
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 always 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, cime to a heap:
Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar 710
Stood rul'd, stood vast infinitude confin’d;
Till at his second bidding darkness fled,
Light shone, and order from disorder

sprung:
Swift to their several quarters hasted then
The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire;
And this ethereai quintessence of Heaven
Flew upward, spirited with various forms,
That roll'd orbicular, and turn'd to stars
Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move;
Each had his place appointed, each his course; 720
The rest in circuit walls this universe.
Look downward on that globe, whose hither side
With light from hence, though but reflected, shines;
That place is Earth the seat of Man, that liglit
His day, which else as th' other hemisphere

1

VOL. I.

Night would invade; but there the neighb'ring moon
(50 call that opposite fuir star) her aid
Timely' interposes, and her monthly round
Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven,
With borrow'd light her countenance triform 736
Hence filis and empties to enlighten th' Earth,
And in her pale dominion checks the night.
That spot to which I point is Paradise,
Adam's abode, those lofty shades his bower.
Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.

Thus said, he turn'd; and Satan bowing low,
As to superior Spi'rits is wont in Heaven,
Where honour due and reverence none neglects,
Took leave, and tow'ard the coast of earth beneath,
Down from th' ecliptic, sped with hop'd success, 740
Throws his steep fight in many an airy wheel,
Nor stay’d, till on Niphates' top he lights.

THE END OF THE THIRD BOOK.

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