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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 40
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark 43
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of Knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works to me expungd and ras'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. 50
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.

Now had th' almighty Father from above,
From the pure empyréan where he sits
High thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye,
His own works and their works at once to view :
About bim all the sanctities of Heav'n

Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd
Beatitude past utt’rance; 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 65


Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there 70
Coasting the wall of Heav'n 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 inbosom’d, without firmament, 75
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 80
Transports our adversary? whom no bounds
Prescrib’d, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains
Hcap'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 Heav'n, in the precincts of light,
Directly tow’ards the new created world,
And man there plac’d, with purpose to assay

90 If him by force he can destroy, or worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert, For Man will hearken to his glozing lies, And easily transgress the sole command, Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall, 95

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,
Suficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th' ethereal powers

100 And spi'rits, 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 giv’n 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 reWhat pleasure I from such obedience paid, (ceive ? When will and reason (reason also' is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, Made passive both, had serv'd Necessity, 110 Not me? They therefore as to right belong'd, So were created, nor can justly' accuse Their Maker, or their making, or their fate, As if predestination over-ruld Their will, dispos’d 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 prov'd certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow' of fate, 120 Or aught by me immutably foreseen, They trespass, authors to themselves in all Both what they judge and what they chuse; for se I form’d them free, and free they must remain

Till they inthral themselves; I else must change
Their nature, and revoke the high decree 126
Unchangeable, 'eternal, which ordain’d
Their freedom, they themselves ordain'd their fall,
The first sort by their own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls, deceiv'd 139
By th’ other first: Man therefore shall find grace,
The other none : in mercy' and justice both,
Through Heav'n and Earth, so shall my glory'excel,
But mercy first and last shall brightest shine.

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fillid
All Heav'n, and in the blessed spi'rits elect 136
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus’d:
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious ; in him all his Father shone
Substantially express’d; and in his face 140
Divine compassion visibly appear’d,
Love without end, and without measure grace,
Which utt'ring thus he to his Father spake.

O Father ! gracious was that word which clos'd Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace;145 For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extol Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne Incompass'd shall resound thee ever blest. For should Man finally be lost ? Should Man, 150 Thy creature late so lov’d, thy youngest son, Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd With his own folly! that be from thee far, That far be from thee ! Father, who art judge

Of all things made, and judgest only right. 155
Or shall the Adversary thus obtain
His end, and frustrate thine! shall he fulfil
His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught,
Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,
Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to Hell 160
Draw after him the whole race of Mankind,
By him corrupted! or wilt thou thyself
Abolish thy creation, and unmake
For him, what for thy glory thou hast made !
-So should thy goodness and thy greatness both
Be question’d and blasphem’d without defence.

To whom the great Creator thus reply'd :
O Son! in whom my soul hath chief delight,
Son of my bosom, Son who art alone
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might, 170
All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all
As my eternal purpose

hath decreed : Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will, Yet not of will in him, but grace in me Freely vouchsafd; once more I will renew 175 His lapsed powers, though forfeit and inthralla By sin to foul exorbitant desires; Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand On even ground against his mortal foe, By me upheld, that he may know how frail 180 His fall’n condition is, and to me owe All his deliverance, and to none but me. Some I have chosen of peculiar grace Elect above the rest ; so is



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