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Amongst innumerable stars, that Ihone 565
Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds;
Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy iles,
Like those Hesperian gardens fam'd of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow’ry vales,
Thrice happy iles, but who dwelt happy there 570
He stay'd not to inquire : above them all
The golden sun in fplendor likest Heav'n
Allur'd his eye : thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament, (but up or down,
By center, or eccentric, hard to tell,

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Or longitude,) where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far ; they as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute, 580
Days months and years, tow’ards his all-cheering lamp
Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetration, though unseen, $85
Shoots invisible virtue ev'n to the deep;
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps
Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb
Through his glaz’d optic tube yet never saw. 590
The place he found beyond expression bright,
Compar'd with ought on earth, metal or stone;

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Not all parts like, bat all alike inform'd
With radiant light, as glowing ir'on with fire;
If metal, part seem'd gold, part filver clear; 595
If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that lone
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,
That stone, or like to that which here below 600
Philosophers in vain so long have fought,
In vain, though by their powerful art they bind
Volatil Hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form.
What wonder then if fields and regions here
Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
Th’arch-chemic Sun, fo far from us remote,
Produces, with terreftrial humour mix'd, 610
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of color glorious, and effect fo rare?
Here matter new to gaze the devil met
Undazled; far and wide his eye commands;
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,
But all sun-line, 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

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To objects distant far, whereby he soon
Saw within ken a glorious angel stand,
The fame whom John faw also in the sun :
His back was turn'd; but not his brightness hid;
Of beaming funny rays a golden tiar
Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
Illuftrious on his shoulders Aedge 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 elfe might work him danger or delay : 635
And now a stripling cherub he appears,
Not of the prime, yet such as his face
Youth smil'd celestial, and to every limb
Suitable grace diffus’d, so well he feign'd:
Under a coronet his flowing hair
in curls on either cheek play'd; wings he wore
Of many a color'd plume sprinkled with gold,
His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
Before his decent steps a Glver wand.
He drew not nigh unheard; the angel bright,

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Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn'd,
Admonish'd by his ear, and strait was known
Th' arch-angel Uriel, one of the seven

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Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne,
Stand ready at command, and are his eyes

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That run through all the Heaven's 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 seven spi'rits that stand In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 655 The first art wont his great authentic will Interpreter through highest Heav'n to bring, Where all his fons thy embassy attend; And here art likeliest by fupreme decree Like honor to obtain, and as his eye

660 To visit oft this new creation round; Unspeakable desire to see, and know All these his wondrous works, but chiefly Man, His chief delight and favor, him for whom All these his works so wondrous he ordain'd, 665 Hath brought me from the quires of cherubim Alone thus wandring. 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, 675 The universal Maker we may praise;

Who justly hath driv'n out his rebel foes
To deepest Hell, and to repair that lofs
Created this new happy race of men
To serve him better : wise are all his ways.

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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 Neeps 686
At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity
Resigns her charge, while Goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill feems: which now for once beguild
Uriel, though regent of the Sun, and held

690 The Marpest sighted spi'rit of all in Heav'n; Who to the fradulent impostor foul lo his uprightness answer thus return'd.

Fair angel, thy desire which tends to know 'The works of God, thereby to glorify 695 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 manfion thus alone, To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps 700 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;

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