Page images
PDF
EPUB

Undaunted to meet there whatever power Mov'd on, with difficulty and labor he;
Or spirit of the nethermost abyss

But, he once past, soon after, when man fell,
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies Following his track, such was the will of Heaven,
Bordering on light; when straight behold the Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way
throne

Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread

Tamely endur'd a bridge of wondrous length, Wide on the wasteful deep: with him enthron'd From Hell continued reaching the utmost orb Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things, of this frail world; by which the spirits perverse The consort of his reign; and by them stood With easy intercourse pass to and fro Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name

To tempt or punish mortals, except whom Of Demogorgon! Rumor next and Chance, God, and good angels, guard by special grace. And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd,

But now at last the sacred influence And Discord with a thousand various mouths. Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven To whom Satan turning boldly, thus : “ Ye powers Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night And spirits of this nethermost abyss,

A glimmering dawn: here Nature first begins Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy,

Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire With purpose to explore or to disturb

As from her outmost works a broken foe The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint With tumult less, and with less hostile din, Wandering this darksome desert, as my way That Satan with less toil, and now with ease Lies through your spacious empire up to light, Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn; Confine with Heaven; or if some other place, Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, From your dominion won, the ethereal King Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold Possesses lately, thither to arrive

Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide I travel this profound : direct my course;

In circuit, undetermin'd square or round, Directed, no mean recompense it brings

With opal towers and battlements adorn'd To your behoof, if I that region lost,

Of living sapphire, once his native seat; All usurpation thence expellid, reduce

And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
To her original darkness, and your sway, This pendent world, in bigness as a star
(Which is my present journey) and once more Of smallest magnitude close by the Moon.
Erect the standard there of ancient Night: Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge." Accurs'd, and in a cursed hour he hies.

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltering speech and visage incompos'd,
Answer'd. “I know thee, stranger, who thou art,

BOOK III.
That mighty leading angel, who of late
Made head against Heaven's King, though over-

THE ARGUMENT.
thrown.
I saw and heard : for such a numerous host God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying to-
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep, wards this world, then newly created; shows
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,

him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates foretells the success of Satan in perverting Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands

mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here

from all imputation, having created Man free, Keep residence : if all I can will serve

and able enough to have withstood his tempter ; That little which is left so to defend,

yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first Hell, Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath ; renders praises to his father for the manifestNow lately Heaven and Earth, another world, ation of his gracious purpose towards Man : Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain but God again declares, that grace cannot be To that side Heaven from whence your legions extended towards Man without the satisfaction fell:

of divine justice: Man hath offended the maIf that way be your walk, you have not far; jesty of God by aspiring to godhead, and thereSo much the nearer danger; go, and speed ; fore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain."

die, unless some one can be found sufficient to He ceas'd; and Satan staid not to reply,

answer for his offence, and undergo his punishBut, glad that now his sea should find a shore, ment. The Son of God freely offers himself a With fresh alacrity, and force renew'd,

ransom for Man: the Father accepts him, or. Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire,

dains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation Into the wild expanse, and, through the shock above all names in Heaven and Earth ; comOf fighting elements, on all sides round

mands all the angels to adore him: They obey, Environ'd, wins his way; harder beset

and hymning to their harps in full quire, celebrate And more endanger'd, ihan when Argo pass'd the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan Through Bosporus, betwixt the justling rocks! alights upon the bare convex of this world's Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunn'd

outermost orb; where wandering, he first finds a Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steer'd. place, since called the Limbo of Vanity: what So he with difficulty and labor hard

persons and things fly up thither : thence cornes to the gate of Heaven, described ascending by About him all the sanctities of Heaven stairs, and the waters above the firmament that Stood thick as stars, and from his sight received flow about it: his passage thence to the orb of Beatitude past utterance; on his right the Sun; he finds there Uriel, the regent of that The radiant image of his glory sat, orb, but first changes himself into the shape of His only Son; on earth he first beheld a meaner angel; and, pretending a zealous desire Our two first parents, yet the only two to behold the new creation, and Man whom Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd, God had placed here, inquires of him the place Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, of his habitation, and is directed: alights first on Uninterrupted joy, unrivall’d love, mount Niphates.

In blissful solitude; he then survey'd

Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there Hall, holy Light, offspring of Heaven, first-born, Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night Or of the Eternal coeternal beam

In the dun air sublime, and ready now May I express thee unblam’d? since God is light, To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet, And never but in unapproached light

On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,

Firm land imbosom'd without firmament,
Bright eMuence of bright essence increate. Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Or hear'st thou rather, pure ethereal stream, Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Whose fountain who shall tell ? Before the Sun, Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest

“Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage The rising world of waters dark and deep, Transports our adversary? whom no bounds Wl'on from the void and formless infinite.

Prescrib'd, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,

Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd Wide interrupt, can hold ; so bent he seems In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight On desperate revenge, that shall redound Through utter and through middle darkness borne, Upon his own rebellious head. And now, With other notes than to the Orphéan lyre, Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;

Not far off Heaven, in the precincts of light, Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down Directly towards the new-created world, The dark descent, and up to reascend,

And Man there plac'd, with purpose to essay "Though hard and rare : thee I revisit safe, If him by force he can destroy, or, worse, And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou

By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert; Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain For Man will hearken to his glozing lies To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; And easily transgress the sole coinmand, So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs, Sole pledge of his obedience : 80 will fall Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault? Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, All he could have; I made him just and right, Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, Such I created all the ethereal powers That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow, And spirits, both them who stood, and them who Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget

fail'd; 'Those other two equallid with me in fate, Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. So were I equall'd with them in renown,

Not free, what proof could they have given sincere Blind Thamyris, and blind Maonides,

or true allegiance, constant faith, or love, And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old :

Where only what they needs must do appeard Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move Not what they would ? what praise could they re Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird

ceive? Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid What pleasure I from such obedience paid, Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year When will and reason (reason also is choice) Seasons return; but not to me returns

Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, Made passive both, had sery'd necessity,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, Not me? They therefore, as to right belong'd,
Or focks, or herds, or human face divine ; So were created, nor can justly accuse
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark

Their maker, or their making, or their fate,
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men As if predestination over-rul'd
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree
Presented with a universal blank

Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed
Of Nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd, Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,

Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown. Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers So without least impúlse or shadow of fale, Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence Or aught by me immutably foreseen, Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell They trespass, authors to themselves in all Of things invisible to morial sight.

Both what they judge, and what they choose , Now had the Almighty Father from above, From the pure empyrean where he sits

I form’d them free: and free they must remain. High thron’d above all height, bent down his eye Till they enthral themselves ; I else must change Ilis own works and their works at once to view: Their nature, and revoke the high decree

for so

Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd

My umpire, Conscience; whom if they will he Their freedom; they themselves ordaind their fall. Light after light, well us’d they shall attain, The first sort by their own suggestion fell, And to the end, persisting, safe arrive. Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls, deceiv'd This my long sufferance, and my day of grace, By the other first : Man therefore shall find grace, They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste The other none: in mercy and justice both, But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more, Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory That they may stumble on, and deeper fall; excel :

And none but such from mercy I exclude. But mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine." But yet all is not done ; Man disobeying, Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins fill'd

Against the high supremacy of Heaven, All Heaven, and in the blessed spirits elect Affecting godhead, and, so losing all, Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd.

To expiate his treason hath nought left, Beyond compare the Son of God was seen But to destruction sacred and devote, Most glorious : in him all his Father shone He, with his whole posterity, must die, Substantially express'd ; and in his face

Die he, or justice must; uniess for him Divine compassion visibly appear’d,

Some other able, and as willing, pay Love without end, and without measure grace, The rigid satisfaction, death for death. Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake : Say, heavenly powers, where shall we finds O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd

love? Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace; Which of ye will be mortal, to redeem For which both Heaven and Earth shall high extol Man's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save Thy praises, with the innumerable sound

Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear ?" Or hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne He ask'd, but all the heavenly quire stood m Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest. And silence was in Heaven: on Man's behalf For should Man finally be lost, should Man, Patron or intercessor none appear'd, Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest son, Much less that durst upon his own head draw Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set. With his own folly? That be from thee far, And now without redemption all mankind That far be from thee, Father, who art judge Must have been lost, adjudg'd to Death and H Of all things made, and judgest only right. By doom severe, had not the Son of God, Or shall the adversary thus obtain

In whom the fulness dwells of love divine, His end, and frustrate thine! shall he fulfil His dearest mediation thus renew'd. Ilis malice, and thy goodness bring to nought, “ Father, thy word is past, Man shall find gra Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, And shall grace not find means, that finds her v Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to Hell The speediest of thy winged messengers, Draw after him the whole race of mankind, To visit all thy creatures, and to all By him corrupted ? or wilt thou thyself Comes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought? Abolish thy creation, and unmake

Happy for Man, so coming; he her aid For him, what for thy glory thou hast made ? Can never seek, once dead in sins, and lost; So should thy goodness and thy greatness both Atonement for himself, or offering meet, Be question'd and blasphem'd without defence.” Indebted and undone, hath none to bring :

To whom the great Creator thus replied. Behold me then; me for him, life for life “O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, I offer; on me let thine anger fall; Son of my bosom, Son who art alone

Account me Man; I for his sake will leave My word, my wisdom, and effectual might, Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all Freely put off, and for him lastly die As my eternal purpose hath decreed :

Well pleas'd; on me let Death wreak all his ra Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will ; Under his gloomy power I shall not long Yet not of will in him, but grace in me

Lie vanquish'd ; thou hast given me to possess Freely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renew Life in myself for ever; by thee I live, His lapsed powers, though forfeit, and enthrall'd | Though now to Death I yield, and am his due By sin to foul exorbitant desires ;

All that of me can die : yet, that debt paid, Upheld by me. yet once more he shall stand Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grav On even ground against his mortal foe; His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul By me upheld, that he may know how frail For ever with corruption there to dwell; His fallin condition is, and to me owe

But I shall rise victorious, and subdue All his deliverance, and to none but me. My vanquisher, spoild of his vaunted spoil; Some I have chosen of peculiar grace,

Death his death's wound shall then receive, Elect above the rest ; so is my will :

stoop
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarm'd.
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes I through the ample air in triumph high
The incensed Deity, while offer'd grace

Shall lead Hell captive, maugre Hell, and shovInvites; for I will clear their senses dark, The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at What may suffice, and soften stony hearts

sight To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. Pleas'd, out of Heaven shalt look down and sm To prayer, repentance, and obedience due, While, by thee rais'd, I ruin all my foes, Though but endeavor'd with sincere intent, Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. Then, with the multitude of my redeem'd. And I will place within thein as a guide,

Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,

Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud

Bad men and angels; they, arraign'd, shall sink Of anger shall remain, but peace assur'd

Beneath thy sentence ; Hell, her numbers full, And reconcilement; wrath shall be no more Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Meanwhile Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire." The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring

His words here ended, but his meek aspect New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall Silent yet spake, and breath'd immortal love

dwell, To mortal men, above which only shone

And after all their tribulations long, Filial obedience : as a sacrifice

See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds, Glad to be offer'd, he attends the will

With joy and love triumphing, and fair truth. Of his great Father. Admiration seiz'd

Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by, All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither For regal sceptre then no more shall need, tend,

God shall be all in all. But, all ye gods, Wondering ; but soon the Almighty thus replied. Adore him, who to compass all this dies :

"Othou in Heaven and Earth the only peace Adore the Son, and honor him as me." Found out for mankind under wrath! O thou No sooner had the Almighty ceas’d, but all My sole complacence! well thou know'st how dear The multitude of angels, with a shout To me are all my works, nor Man the least, Loud as from numbers without number, sweet 'Though last created ; that for him I spare As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, With jubilee, and loud Hosannas fillid By losing thee awhile, the whole race lost. The eternal regions: lowly reverent Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem, Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground Their nature also to thy nature join;

With solemn adoration down they cast And be thyself man among men on Earth, Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold; Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed, Immortal amarant, a flower which once By wonderous birth : be thou in Adam's room In Paradise, fast by the tree of life, The head of all mankind, though Adam's son. Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence As in him perish all men, so in thee,

To Heaven remov'd where first it grew, there grous As from a second root, shall be restor'd

And flowers aloft shading the fount of life, As many as are restor’d, without thee none. And where the river of bliss through midst of His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit,

Heaven Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream: Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, with these that never fade the spirits elect And live in thee transplanted, and from thee Bind their resplendent locks inwreath'd with beams Receive new light. So man, as is most just, Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the brignt Shall satisfy for man, be judg'd and die,

Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone, And dying rise, and rising with him raise Impurpled with celestial roses smil'd. His brethren, ransom'd with his own dear life. Then, crown'd again, their golden harps they took. So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate, Harps ever tun'd, that glittering by their side Giving to death, and dying to redeem,

Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet So dearly to redeem what bellish hate

Of charming symphony they introduce So easily destroy'd, and still destroys

Their sacred song, and waken raptures high ; In those who, when they may, accept not grace. No voice exempt, no voice but well could join Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume

Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.
Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own.

Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent,
Because thou hast, though thron’d in highest bliss Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Equal to God, and equally enjoying

Eternal King; thee Author of all being,
Godlike fruition, quitted all, to save

Fountain of light, thyself invisible A world from utter loss, and hast been found Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st By merit more than birthright Son of God, Thron'd inaccessible, but when thou shad'st Found worthiest to be so by being good, The full blaze of thy beams, and, through a cloud Far more than great or high; because in thee Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine, Love hath abounded more than glory abounds, Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear, Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt

Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest seraphim With thee thy manhood also to this throne; Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes Flere shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign Thee next they sang of all creation first, Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man, Begotten Son, Divine Similitude, Anointed universal King: all power

In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud I give thee; reign for ever, and assume

Made visible, the Almighty Father shines, Thy merits ; under thee, as head supreme, Whom else no creature can behold; on thee Thrones, princedoms, powers, dominions, I reduce: Impress'd the effulgence of his glory abides, All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide Transfus'd on thee his ample Spirit rests. In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell. He Heaven of Heavens and all the powers therein When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven, By thee created ; and by thee threw down Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send The aspiring dominations : thou that day Thy summoning arch-angels to proclaim Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare, Thy dread tribunal: forth with from all winds Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook The living, and forth with the cited dead Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks Of all past ages, to the general doom

Thou drov'st of warring angels disarray’d. Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep. Back from pursuit thy powers with loud acclaim Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge Thee only extollid, Son of thy Father's might,

1

To execute fierce vengeance on his foes, or Sennaar, and still with vain design
Not so on man: him, through their malice fall'n, New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build
Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom Others came single; he, who to be deem'd
So strictly, but much more to pity incline: A god, leap'd fondly into Ætna flames,
No sooner did thy dear and only Son

Empedocles; and he, who to enjoy
Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail Man Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the sea,
So strictly, but much more to pity inclin'd, Cleombrotus ; and many more too long,
He to appease thy wrath, and end the strise Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars
Of mercy and justice in thy face discern'd, White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery.
Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat

Here pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek Second to thee, offer'd himself to die

In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven; For Man's offence. O unexampled love,

And they, who to be sure of Paradise, Love nowhere to be found less than divine! Dying, put on the weeds of Dominic, Hail, Son of God, Savior of Men! Thy name Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd ; Shall be the copious matter of my song

They pass the planets seven, and pass the fix'd, Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin. The trepidation talk'd, and that first mov’d:

Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere, And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.

To wait them with his keys, and now at foot Meanwhile upon the firm opacous globe

Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when lo Of this round world, whose first convex divides

A violent cross wind from either coast The luminous inferior orbs, inclos'd

Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry From Chaos, and the inroad of Darkness old, Into the devious air: then might ye see Satan alighted walks: a globe far off

Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost It seem'd, now seems a boundless continent And flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads, Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, Starless expos'd, and ever-threatening storms The sport of winds: all these, upwhirl'd aloft, Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky; Fly o'er the backside of the world far off, Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, Into a Limbo large and broad, since callid Though distant far, some small reflection gains The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown Of glimmering air, less ver’d with tempest loud: Long after, now unpeopled and untrod. Here walk'd the fiend at large in spacious field. All this dark globe the fiend found as he passid, As when a vulture on Imaus bred,

And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, Of dawning light turn'd thitherward in haste Dislodging from a region scarce of prey,

His travellid steps : far distant he descries
To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids, Ascending by degrees magnificent
On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the Up to the wall of Heaven a structure high;
springs

At top whereof, but far more rich appear'd
Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams; The work as of a kingly palace-gate,
But in his way lights on the barren plains With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive

Embellish'd; thick with sparkling orient gems
With sails and wind their cany wagons light: The portal shone, inimitable on Earth
So, on this windy sea of land, the fiend By model, or by shading pencil, drawn.
Walk'd up and down alone, bent on his prey ; The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Alone, for other creature in this place,

Angels ascending and descending, bands Living or lifeless, to be found was none, of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled None yet, but store hereafter from the Earth To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz Up hither like aëreal vapors flew

Dreaming by night under the open sky, Of all things transitory and vain, when sin And waking cried, “This is the gate of Heaven With vanity had fill'd the works of men; Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood Both all things vain, and all who in vain things There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame, Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd Or happiness in this or the other life ;

Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon All who have their reward on Earth, the fruits Who after came from Earth, sailing arriv'd, or painful superstition and blind zeal,

Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. Fit retribution, empty as their deeds ;

The stairs were then let down, whether to dare All the unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand, The fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd,

His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss : Dissolv'd on Earth, feet hither, and in vain, Direct against which open'd from beneath, Till final dissolution, wander here;

Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise, Not in the neighboring Moon, as some have A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide, dream'd;

Wider by far than that of after-times Those argent fields more likely habitants, Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, Translated saints, or middle spirits hold

Over the Promis'd Land, to God so dear; Betwixt the angelical and human kind.

By which, to visit oft those happy tribes Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born On high behests his angels to and fro First from the ancient world those giants came Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard With many a vain exploit, though then renown'd: From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood, The builders next of Babel on the plain

To Beërsaba, where the Holy Land

« PreviousContinue »