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"To ask or search I blame thee not; for
Is as the Book of God before thee set,
Wherein to read his wondrous works, and lea
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or ye
This to attain, whether Heaven move or Ear
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 ough
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
The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, cont
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 ser
The less not bright, nor Heaven such journey
Earth sitting still, when she alone receives
The benefit. Consider, first, that great
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.

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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
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, 110
Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven
Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived

In Eden-distance inexpressible

But this I urge,

By numbers that have name.
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?
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
Still luminous by his ray. What if that ligh
Sent from her through the wide transpicuous
To the terrestrial Moon be as a star,
Enlightening her by day, as she by night
This Earth-reciprocal, if land be there,
Fields and inhabitants? Her spots thou see
As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain pro
Fruits in her softened soil, for some to eat
Allotted there; and other Suns, perhaps,
With their attendant Moons, thou wilt descr
Communicating male and female light-
Which two great sexes animate the World,
Stored in each Orb perhaps with some that li
For such vast room in Nature unpossessed
By living soul, desert and desolate,
Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute
Each Orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so fa
Down to this habitable, which returns
Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.
But whether thus these things, or whether n
Whether the Sun, predominant in heaven,
Rise on the Earth, or Earth rise on the Sun
He from the east his flaming road begin,
Or she from west her silent course advance
With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps
On her soft axle, while she paces even,
And bears thee soft with the smooth air alo
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid:
Leave them to God above; him serve and f
Of other creatures as him pleases best,
Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve; Heaven is for thee too h
To know what passes there. Be lowly wise
Think only what concerns thee and thy bein
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures t

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Live, in what state, condition, or degree-
Contented that thus far hath been revealed
Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven."

To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied:-
"How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure
Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene,
And, freed from intricacies, taught to live
The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts
To interrupt the sweet of life, from which
God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares,

And not molest us, unless we ourselves


Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions

But apt the mind or fancy is to rove
Unchecked; and of her roving is no end,

Till, warned, or by experience taught, she learn
That not to know at large of things remote
From use, obscure and subtle, but to know
That which before us lies in daily life,
Is the prime wisdom: what is more is fume,
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence,
And renders us in things that most concern
Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek.
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand
Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise
Of something not unseasonable to ask,
By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deigned.
Thee I have heard relating what was done
Ere my remembrance; now hear me relate
My story, which, perhaps, thou hast not heard.
And day is yet not spent; till then thou seest
How subtly to detain thee I devise,
Inviting thee to hear while I relate-
Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply.
For, while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven;
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
Than fruits of palm-tree, pleasantest to thirst
And hunger both, from labour, at the hour

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Of sweet repast. They satiate, and soon fill,
Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace
Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety."

To whom thus Raphael answered, heavenly
"Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of Men,
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
Abundantly his gifts hath also poured,
Inward and outward both, his image fair:
Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace
Attends thee, and each word, each motion, fo
Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Eart
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire
Gladly into the ways of God with Man;
For God, we see, hath honoured thee, and set
On Man his equal love. Say therefore on;
For I that day was absent, as befell,
Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,
Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell,
Squared in full legion (such command we had
To see that none thence issued forth a spy
Or enemy, while God was in his work,
Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold,
Destruction with Creation might have mixed.
Not that they durst without his leave attemp
But us he sends upon his high behests
For state, as sovran King, and to inure
Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast
The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong,
But, long ere our approaching, heard within
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
Glad we returned up to the coasts of Light
Ere Sabbath-evening; so we had in charge.
But thy relation now; for I attend,
Pleased with thy words no less than thou wit

So spake the Godlike Power, and thus our
"For Man to tell how human life began
Is hard; for who himself beginning knew?
Desire with thee still longer to converse

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