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Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
Impurpl’d with celestial roses smil'd. 364
Then crown'd again, their golden harps they took,
Harps ever tun'd, that glitt'ring by their side
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high ;
No voice, exempt, no voice but well could join
Melodious part, such concord is in Heav'n. 371

Thee, Father, first they sung, Omnipotent,
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Eternal King; thee, Author of all being,
Fountain of Light, thyself invisible 375
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st
Thron'd inaccessible, but when thou shad'st
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud
Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine,
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear, 380
Yet dazzle Heav'n, that brightest Seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.
Thee, next they sang, of all creation first,
Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,
In whose conspicuous count'nance, without cloud
Made visible, th’ Almighty Father shines, 386
Whom else no creature can behold : on thee
Impress'd th' effulgence of his glory 'bides,
Transfus'd on thee his ample Spirit rests.
He Heav'n of Heav'ns and all the Pow'rs therein
By thee created, and by thee threw down

391 Th' aspiring Dominations: thou that day

Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,
Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook
Heav'n's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks
Thou drov’st of warring Angels disarray’d.
Back from pursuit thy Pow’rs with loud acclaim
Thee only' extoll’d, Son of thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes, 399
Not so on Man: Him thro' their malice fall'n,
Father of mercy' and grace, thou didst not doom
So strictly, but much more to pity incline.
No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail Man
So strictly, but much more to pity' incline, 405
He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife
Of mercy' and justice in thy face discern’d,
Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
Second to thee, offer'd himself to die
For Man's offence. O unexampl'd love! 410
Love no where to be found less than Divine!
Hail Son of God, Saviour of Men, thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin. 415

Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry sphere, Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent. Mean while

upon

the firm opacous globe Of this round world, whose first convex divides The luminous inferior orbs inclos'd From Chaos and th' inroad of Darkness old, Satan alighted walks: a globe far off

420

It seem'd, now seems a boundless continent
Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night
Starless expos’d, and ever-threat’ning storms 425
Of Chaos blust'ring round inclement sky;
Save on that side which from the wall of Heav'n,
Though distant far, some small reflection gains
Of glimm’ring air less vex'd with tempest loud:
Here walk’d the Fiend at large in spacious field,
As when a vulture on Imaus bred,

431 Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, Dislodging from a region scarce of prey To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids On hills where flocks are fed, flies tow'rd the springs

435 Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams; But in his way lights on the barren plains Of Sericana, where Chineses drive With sails and wind their cany waggons light: So on this windy sea of land, the Fiend

440 Walk'd

up

and down alone, bent on his prey:
Alone; for other creature in this place,
Living or lifeless, to be found was none;
None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
Up hither like aëreal vapours flew

445
Of all things transit’ry and vain, when sin
With vanity had fill’d the works of men ;
Both all things vain, and all who in vain things
Built their fond hopes of glory,' or lasting fame,
Or happiness, in this or th’other life;

450 All who have their reward on earth, the fruits

Of painful superstition and blind zeal,
Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find
Fit retribution, empty as their deeds :
All th' unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand,
Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix’d,

456
Dissoly'd on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,
Till final dissolution, wander here,
Not in the neighb'ring moon, as some have

dream’d; Those argent fields more likely habitants, 460 Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold Betwixt th' angelical and human kind. Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born First from the ancient world those giants came, With many a vain exploit, though then renown'd:

465 The builders next of Babel on the plain Of Sennaar, and still with vain design New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build : Others came single; he who to be deem'd A God, leap'd fondly into Ætna flames, 470 Empedocles; and he who to enjoy Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the sea, Cleombrotus; and many more too long, Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars

474 White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery. Here pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heav'n; And they who, to be sure of Paradise, Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,

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Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis’d; 480
They pass the planets sev'n, and

pass

the fix'd,
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs
The trepidation talk’d, and that first mov’d;
And now Saint Peter at Heav’n’s wicket seems
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot
Of Heav'n's ascent they lift their feet, when lo
A violent cross wind from either coast 487
Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues awry
Into the devious air ; then might ye see
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost
And flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads, 491
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
The sport of winds: all these upwhirl'd aloft
Fly o’er the backside of the world far off
Into a Limbo large and broad, since callid 495
The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
Long after, now unpeopled, and untrod.
All this dark globe the Fiend found as he pass’d,
And long he wander’d, till at last a gleam
Of dawning light turn'd thitherward in haste
His travel'd steps : far distant he descries 501
Ascending by degrees magnificent
Up to the wall of Heav'n a structure high ;
At top whereof, but far more rich, appear’d
The work as of a kingly palace gate, 505
With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Embellish'd : thick with sparkling orient gems
The portal shone, inimitable on earth
By model, or by shading pencil drawn.
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw 510

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