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Thy thunders magnified ; but to create
Is greater than created to destroy.
Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound
Thy empire ? Easily the proud attempt
Of Spirits apostate, and their counsels vain, 610
Thou hast repelled, while impiously they thought
Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw
The number of thy worshipers. Who seeks
To lessen thee, against his purpose, serves
To manifest the more thy might; his evil
Thou usest, and from thence creat’st more good.
Witness this new-made World, another Heaven
From Heaven-gate not far, founded in view
On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea ;
Of amplitude almost immense, with stars

620
Numerous, and every star perhaps a world
Of destined habitation-but thou know'st
Their seasons; among these the seat of men,
Earth, with her nether ocean circumfused,
Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy men,
And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanced,
Created in his image, there to dwell
And worship him, and in reward to rule
Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air,
And multiply a race of worshipers

630 Holy and just ! thrice happy, if they know Their happiness, and persevere upright !'

So sung they, and the Empyrean rung With halleluiahs. Thus was Sabbath kept. And thy request think now fulfilled, that asked How first this World and face of things began, And what before thy memory was done From the beginning, that posterity, Informed by thee, might know. If else thou seek'st Aught, not surpassing human measure, say.” 640

THE END OF THE SEVENTH BOOK.

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK VIII.

THE ARGUMENT.

Adam inquires concerning celestial motions; is doubtfully answered, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge. Adam assents, and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remembered since his own creation--his placing in Paradise ; his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society; his first meeting and nuptials with Eve. His discourse with the Angel thereupon; who, after admonitions repeated, departs.

THE

IO

*HE Angel ended, and in Adam's ear

So charming left his voice that he a while Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear ; Then, as new-waked, thus gratefully replied :

“What thanks sufficient, or what recompense
Equal, have I to render thee, divine
Historian, who thus largely hast allayed
The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsafed
This friendly condescension to relate
Things else by me unsearchable—now heard
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
With glory attributed to the high
Creator? Something yet of doubt remains,
Which only thy solution can resolve.
When I behold this goodly frame, this World,
Of Heaven and Earth consisting, and compute
Their magnitudes—this Earth, a spot, a grain,
An atom, with the Firmament compared
And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll
Spaces incomprehensible (for such
Their distance argues, and their swift return
Diurnal) merely to officiate light

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Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot,
One day and night, in all their vast survey
Useless besides-reasoning, I oft admire
How Nature, wise and frugal, could commit
Such disproportions, with superfluous hand
So many nobler bodies to create,
Greater so manifold, to this one use,
For aught appears, and on their Orbs impose 30
Such restless revolution day by day,
Repeated, while the sedentary Earth,
That better might with far less compass move,
Served by more noble than herself, attains
Her end without least motion, and receives,
As tribute, such a sumless journey brought
Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light :
Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails."

So spake our Sire, and by his countenance seemed Entering on studious thoughts abstruse ; which Eve Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight,

41 With lowliness majestic from her seat, And grace that won who saw to wish her stay, Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom, Her nursery ; they at her coming sprung, And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. Yet went she not as not with such discourse Delighted, or not capable her ear Of what was high. Such pleasure she reserved,

50 Adam relating, she sole auditress ; Her husband the relater she preferred Before the Angel, and of him to ask Chose rather ; he, she knew, would intermix Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute With conjugal caresses : from his lip Not words alone pleased her. Oh, when meet now Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined ? With goddess-like demeanour forth she went, Not unattended ; for on her as Queen

60 A pomp of winning Graces waited still,

And from about her shot darts of desire
Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight.
And Raphael now to Adam's doubt proposed
Benevolent and facile thus replied :-

“ To ask or search I blame thee not; for Heaven
Is as the Book of God before thee set,
Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years.
This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth 70
Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest
From Man or Angel the great Architect
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge
His secrets, to be scanned by them who ought
Rather admire. Or, if they list to try
Conjecture, he his fabric of the Heavens
Hath left to their disputes-perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
Hereafter, when they come to model Heaven,
And calculate the stars ; how they will wield 80
The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive
To save appearances; how gird the Sphere
With Centric and Eccentric scribbled o'er,
Cycle and Epicycle, Orb in Orb.
Already by thy reasoning this I guess,
Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest
That bodies bright and greater should not serve
The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run,
Earth sitting still, when she alone receives
The benefit. Consider, first, that great

90 Or bright infers not excellence. The Earth, Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small, Nor glistering, may of solid good contain More plenty than the Sun that barren shines, Whose virtue on itself works no effect, But in the fruitful Earth; there first received, His beams, unactive else, their vigour find. Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries Officious, but to thee, Earth’s habitant. And, for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak

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The Maker's high magnificence, who built
So spacious, and his line stretched out so far,
That Man may know he dwells not in his own-
An edifice too large for him to fill,
Lodged in a small partition, and the rest
Ordained for uses to his Lord best known.
The swiftness of those Circles attribute,
Though numberless, to his omnipotence,
That to corporeal substances could add
Speed almost spiritual. Me thou think'st not slow,
Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven in
Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived
In Eden-distance inexpressible
By numbers that have name.

But this I urge,
Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show
Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved;
Not that I so affirm, though so it seem
To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth.
God, to remove his ways from human sense,
Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight,
If it presume, might err in things too high,
And no advantage gain. What if the Sun
Be centre to the World, and other Stars,
By his attractive virtue and their own
Incited, dance about him various rounds ?
Their wandering course, now high, now low, then hid,
Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,
In six thou seest; and what if, seventh to these,
The planet Earth, so steadfast though she seem,
Insensibly three different motions move?

I 30 Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe, Moved contrary with thwart obliquities, Or save the Sun his labour, and that swift Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed, Invisible else above all stars, the wheel Of Day and Night; which needs not thy belief, If Earth, industrious of herself, fetch Day, Travelling east, and with her part averse From the Sun's beam meet Night, her other part

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