Home  »  Complete Poems Written in English  »  Paradise Lost: The Seventh Book

John Milton. (1608–1674). Complete Poems.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


Paradise Lost: The Seventh Book

THE ARGUMENT.—Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this World was first created:—that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of Heaven, declared his pleasure to create another World, and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory, and attendance of Angels, to perform the work of creation in six days: the Angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascension into Heaven.

DESCEND from Heaven, Urania, by that name

If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine

Following, above the Olympian hill I soar,

Above the flight of Pegasean wing!

The meaning, not the name, I call; for thou

Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top

Of old Olympus dwell’st; but, heavenly-born,

Before the hills appeared or fountain flowed,

Thou with Eternal Wisdom didst converse,

Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play

In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased

With thy celestial song. Up led by thee,

Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed,

An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,

Thy tempering. With like safety guided down,

Return me to my native element;

Lest, from this flying steed unreined (as once

Bellerophon, though from a lower clime)

Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall,

Erroneous there to wander and forlorn.

Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound

Within the visible Diurnal Sphere.

Standing on Earth, not rapt above the pole,

More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged

To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days,

On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues,

In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,

And solitude; yet not alone, while thou

Visit’st my slumbers nightly, or when Morn

Purples the East. Still govern thou my song,

Urania, and fit audience find, though few.

But drive far off the barbarous dissonance

Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race

Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian Bard

In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears

To rapture, till the savage clamour drowned

Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend

Her son. So fail not thou who thee implores;

For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.

Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphael,

The affable Archangel, had forewarned

Adam, by dire example, to beware

Apostasy, by what befell in Heaven

To those apostates, lest the like befall

In Paradise to Adam or his race,

Charged not to touch the interdicted Tree,

If they transgress, and slight that sole command,

So easily obeyed amid the choice

Of all tastes else to please their appetite,

Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve,

The story heard attentive, and was filled

With admiration and deep muse, to hear

Of things so high and strange—things to their thought

So unimaginable as hate in Heaven,

And was so near the peace of God in bliss,

With such confusion; but the evil, soon

Driven back, redounded as a flood on those

From whom it sprung, impossible to mix

With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repealed

The doubts that in his heart arose; and, now

Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know

What nearer might concern him—how this World

Of heaven and earth conspicuous first began;

When, and whereof, created; for what cause;

What within Eden, or without, was done

Before his memory—as one whose drouth,

Yet scarce allayed, still eyes the current stream,

Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,

Proceeded thus to ask his Heavenly Guest:—

“Great things, and full of wonder in our ears,

Far differing from this World, thou hast revealed,

Divine Interpreter! by favour sent

Down from the Empyrean to forewarn

Us timely of what might else have been our loss,

Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach;

For which to the infinitely Good we owe

Immortal thanks, and his admonishment

Receive with solemn purpose to observe

Immutably his sovran will, the end

Of what we are. But, since thou hast voutsafed

Gently, for our instruction, to impart

Things above Earthly thought, which yet concerned

Our knowing, as to highest Wisdom seemed,

Deign to descend now lower, and relate

What may no less perhaps avail us known—

How first began this Heaven which we behold

Distant so high, with moving fires adorned

Innumerable; and this which yields or fills

All space, the ambient Air, wide interfused,

Imbracing round this florid Earth; what cause

Moved the Creator, in his holy rest

Through all eternity, so late to build

In Chaos; and, the work begun, how soon

Absolved: if unforbid thou may’st unfold

What we not to explore the secrets ask

Of his eternal empire, but the more

To magnify his works the more we know.

And the great Light of Day yet wants to run

Much of his race, though steep. Suspense in heaven

Held by thy voice, thy potent voice he hears

And longer will delay, to hear thee tell

His generation, and the rising birth

Of Nature from the unapparent Deep:

Or, if the Star of Evening and the Moon

Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring

Silence, and Sleep listening to thee will watch;

Or we can bid his absence till thy song

End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.”

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought;

And thus the godlike Angel answered mild:—

“This also thy request, with caution asked,

Obtain; though to recount Almighty works

What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,

Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?

Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve

To glorify the Maker, and infer

Thee also happier, shall not be withheld

Thy hearing. Such commission from above

I have received, to answer thy desire

Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain

To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope

Things not revealed, which the invisible King,

Only Omniscient, hath suppressed in night,

To none communicable in Earth or Heaven,

Enough is left besides to search and know;

But Knowledge is as food, and needs no less

Her temperance over appetite, to know

In measure what the mind may well contain;

Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns

Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.

“Know then that, after Lucifer from Heaven

(So call him, brighter once amidst the host

Of Angels then that star the stars among)

Fell with his flaming Legions through the Deep

Into his place, and the great Son returned

Victorious with his Saints, the Omnipotent

Eternal Father from his Throne beheld

Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake:—

“‘At least our envious foe hath failed, who thought

All like himself rebellious; by whose aid

This inaccessible high strength, the seat

Of Deity supreme, us dispossessed,

He trusted to have seized, and into fraud

Drew many whom their place knows here no more.

Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,

Their station; Heaven, yet populous, retains

Number sufficient to possess her realms,

Though wide, and this high temple to frequent

With ministeries due and solemn rites.

But, lest his heart exalt him in the harm

Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven—

My damage fondly deemed—I can repair

That detriment, if such it be to lose

Self-lost, and in a moment will create

Another world; out of one man a race

Of men innumerable, there to dwell,

Not here, till, by degrees of merit raised,

They open to themselves at length the way

Up hither, under long obedience tried,

And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth,

One kingdom, joy and union without end.

Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven;

And thou, my Word, begotten Son, by thee

This I perform; speak thou, and be it done!

My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee

I send along; ride forth, and bid the Deep

Within appointed bounds be heaven and earth.

Boundless the Deep, because I am who fill

Infinitude; nor vacuous the space,

Though I, uncircumscribed, myself retire,

And put not forth my goodness, which is free

To act or not. Necessity and Chance

Approach not me, and what I will is Fate.’

“So spake the Almighty; and to what he spake

His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect.

Immediate are the acts of God, more swift

Than time or motion, but to human ears

Cannot without process’ of speech be told,

So told as earthly notion can receive.

Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven

When such was heard declared the Almighty’s will.

Glory they sung to the Most High, goodwill

To future men, and in their dwellings peace—

Glory to Him whose just avenging ire

Had driven out the ungodly from his sight

And the habitations of the just; to Him

Glory and praise whose wisdom had ordained

Good out of evil to create—instead

Of Spirits malign, a better Race to bring

Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse

His good to worlds and ages infinite.

“So sang the Hierarchies. Meanwhile the Son

On his great expedition now appeared,

Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crowned

Of majesty divine, sapience and love

Immense; and all his Father in him shon.

About his chariot numberless were poured

Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones,

And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged

From the armoury of God, where stand of old

Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged

Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand,

Celestial equipage; and now came forth

Spontaneous, for within them Spirit lived,

Attendant on their Lord. Heaven opened wide

Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound

On golden hinges moving, to let forth

The King of Glory, in his powerful Word

And Spirit coming to create new worlds.

On Heavenly ground they stood, and from the shore

They viewed the vast immeasurable Abyss,

Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,

Up from the bottom turned by furious winds

And surging waves, as mountains to assault

Heaven’s highth, and with the centre mix the pole.

“‘Silence, ye troubled waves, and, thou Deep, peace!’

Said then the omnific Word: ‘your discord end!’

Nor stayed; but, on the wings of Cherubim

Uplifted, in paternal glory rode

Far into Chaos and the World unborn;

For Chaos heard his voice. Him all his train

Followed in bright procession, to behold

Creation, and the wonders of his might.

Then stayed the fervid wheels, and in his hand

He took the golden compasses, prepared

In God’s eternal store, to circumscribe

This Universe, and all created things.

One foot he centred, and the other turned

Round through the vast profundity obscure,

And said, ‘Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds;

This be thy just circumference, O World!

Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth,

Matter unformed and void. Darkness profound

Covered the Abyss; but on the watery calm

His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread,

And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth,

Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purged

The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs,

Adverse to life; then founded, then conglobed,

Like things to like, the rest to several place

Disparted, and between spun out the Air,

And Earth, self-balanced, on her centre hung.

“‘Let there be Light!” said God; and forthwith Light

Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,

Sprung from the Deep, and from her native East

To journey through the aery gloom began,

Sphered in a radiant cloud—for yet the Sun

Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle

Sojourned the while. God saw the Light was good;

And light from darkness by the hemisphere

Divided: Light the Day, and Darkness Night,

He named. Thus was the first Day even and morn;

Nor passed uncelebrated, nor unsung

By the celestial quires, when orient light

Exhaling first from darkness they beheld,

Birth-day of Heaven and Earth. With joy and shout

The hollow universal orb they filled,

And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised

God and his works; Creator him they sung,

Both when first evening was, and when first morn.

“Again God said, ‘Let there be firmament

Amid the waters, and let it divide

The waters from the waters!’ And God made

The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,

Transparent, elemental air, diffused

In circuit to the uttermost convex

Of this great round—partition firm and sure,

The waters underneath from those above

Dividing; for as Earth, so he the World

Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide

Crystallin ocean, and the loud misrule

Of Chaos far removed, lest fierce extremes

Contiguous might distemper the whole frame:

And Heaven he named the Firmament. So even

And morning chorus sung the second Day.

“The Earth was formed, but, in the womb as yet

Of waters, embryon immature, involved,

Appeared not; over all the face of Earth

Main ocean flowed, not idle, but, with warm

Prolific humour softening all her globe,

Fermented the great Mother to conceive,

Satiate with genial moisture; when God said,

‘Be gathered now, ye waters under heaven,

Into one place, and let dry land appear!’

Immediately the mountains huge appear

Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave

Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky.

So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low

Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep,

Capacious bed of waters. Thither they

Hasted with glad precipitance, uprowled,

As drops on dust conglobing, from the dry:

Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,

For haste; such flight the great command impressed

On the swift floods. As armies at the call

Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard)

Troop to their standard, so the watery throng,

Wave rowling after wave, where way they found—

If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain,

Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill;

But they, or underground, or circuit wide

With serpent error wandering, found their way,

And on the washy ooze deep channels wore:

Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry,

All but within those banks where rivers now

Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train.

The dry land Earth, and the great receptacle

Of congregated waters he called Seas;

And saw that it was good, and said, ‘Let the Earth

Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed,

And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind,

Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth!’

He scarce had said when the bare Earth, till then

Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned,

Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad

Her universal face with pleasant green;

Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered,

Opening their various colours, and made gay

Her bosom, smelling sweet; and, these scarce blown,

Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept

The smelling gourd, up stood the corny reed

Imbattled in her field: add the humble shrub,

And bush with frizzled hair implicit: last

Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread

Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed

Their blossoms. With high woods the hills were crowned,

With tufts the valleys and each fountain-side,

With borders long the rivers, that Earth now

Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where gods might dwell,

Or wander with delight, and love to haunt

Her sacred shades; though God had yet not rained

Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground

None was, but from the Earth a dewy mist

Went up and watered all the ground, and each

Plant of the field, which ere it was in the Earth

God made, and every herb before it grew

On the green stem. God saw that it was good;

So even and morn recorded the third Day.

“Again the Almighty spake, ‘Let there be Lights

High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide

The Day from Night; and let them be for signs,

For seasons, and for days, and circling years;

And let them be for lights, as I ordain

Their office in the firmament of heaven,

To give light on the Earth!’ and it was so.

And God made two great Lights, great for their use

To Man, the greater to have rule by day,

The less by night, alterne; and made the Stars,

And set them in the firmament of heaven

To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day

In their vicissitude, and rule the night,

And light from darkness to divide. God saw,

Surveying his great work, that it was good:

For, of celestial bodies, first the Sun

A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first,

Though of ethereal mould; then formed the Moon

Globose, and every magnitude of Stars,

And sowed with stars the heaven thick as a field.

Of light by far the greater part he took,

Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed

In the Sun’s orb, made porous to receive

And drink the liquid light, firm to retain

Her gathered beams, great palace now of Light.

Hither, as to their fountain, other stars

Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,

And hence the morning planet gilds her horns;

By tincture or reflection they augment

Their small peculiar, though, from human sight

So far remote, with diminution seen.

First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,

Regent of day, and all the horizon round

Invested with bright rays, jocond to run

His longitude through heaven’s high-road; the grey

Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced,

Shedding sweet influence. Less bright the Moon,

But opposite in levelled west, was set,

His mirror, with full face borrowing her light

From him; for other light she needed none

In that aspect, and still that distance keeps

Till night; then in the east her turn she shines,

Revolved on heaven’s great axle, and her reign

With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,

With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared

Spangling the hemisphere. Then first adorned

With her bright luminaries, that set and rose,

Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth Day.

“And God said, ‘Let the waters generate

Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul;

And let Fowl fly above the earth, with wings

Displayed on the open firmament of Heaven!’

And God created the great Whales, and each

Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously

The waters generated by their kinds,

And every bird of wing after his kind,

And saw that it was good, and blessed them, saying,

‘Be fruitful, multiply, and, in the seas,

And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill;

And let the fowl be multiplied on the earth!’

Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay,

With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals

Of fish that, with their fins and shining scales,

Glide under the green wave in sculls that oft

Bank the mid-sea. Part, single or with mate,

Graze the sea-weed, their pasture, and through groves

Of coral stray, or, sporting with quick glance,

Shew to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold,

Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend

Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food

In jointed armour watch; on smooth the seal

And bended dolphins play; part, huge of bulk,

Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait,

Tempest the ocean. There Leviathan,

Hugest of living creatures, on the deep

Stretched like a promontory, sleeps or swims,

And seems a moving land, and at his gills

Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea.

Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores,

Their brood as numerous hatch from the egg, that soon,

Bursting with kindly rupture, forth disclosed

Their callow young; but feathered soon and fledge

They summed their pens, and, soaring the air sublime,

With clang despised the ground, under a cloud

In prospect. There the eagle and the stork

On cliffs and cedar-tops their eyries build.

Part loosely wing the Region; part, more wise,

In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way,

Intelligent of seasons, and set forth

Their aerie caravan, high over seas

Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing

Easing their flight: so steers the prudent crane

Her annual voyage, borne on winds: the air

Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumbered plumes.

From branch to branch the smaller birds with song

Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings,

Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale

Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays.

Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed

Their downy breast; the swan, with arched neck

Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows

Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit

The dank, and, rising on stiff pennons, tower

The mid aerial sky. Others on ground

Walked firm—the crested cock, whose clarion sounds

The silent hours, and the other, whose gay train

Adorns him, coloured with the florid hue

Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus

With Fish replenished, and the air with Fowl,

Evening and morn solemnized the fifth Day.

“The sixth, and of Creation last, arose

With evening harps and matin; when God said,

‘Let the Earth bring forth soul living in her kind,

Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth,

Each in their kind!’ The Earth obeyed, and, straight

Opening her fertile womb, teemed at a birth

Innumerous living creatures, perfet forms,

Limbed and full-grown. Out of the ground up rose,

As from his lair, the wild beast, where he wons

In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den—

Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked;

The cattle in the fields and meadows green:

Those rare and solitary, these in flocks

Pasturing at once and in broad herds, upsprung.

The grassy clods now calved; now half appeared

The tawny Lion, pawing to get free

His hinder parts—then springs, as broke from bonds,

And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the Ounce,

The Libbard, and the Tiger, as the Mole

Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw

In hillocks; the swift Stag from underground

Bore up his branching head; scarce from his mould

Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved

His vastness; fleeced the flocks and bleating rose,

As plants; ambiguous between sea and land,

The River-horse and scaly Crocodile.

At once came forth whatever creeps the ground,

Insect or worm. Those waved their limber fans

For wings, and smallest lineaments exact

In all the liveries decked of summer’s pride,

With spots of gold and purple, azure and green;

These as a line their long dimension drew,

Streaking the ground with sinuous trace: not all

Minims of nature; some of serpent kind,

Wondrous in length and corpulence, involved

Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept

The parsimonious Emmet, provident

Of future, in small room large heart enclosed—

Pattern of just equality perhaps

Hereafter—joined in her popular tribes

Of commonalty. Swarming next appeared

The female Bee, that feeds her husband drone

Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells

With honey stored. The rest are numberless,

And thou their natures know’st, and gav’st them names

Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown

The Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field,

Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes

And hairy mane terrific, though to thee

Not noxious, but obedient at thy call.

“Now Heaven in all her glory shon, and rowled

Her motions, as the great First Mover’s hand

First wheeled their course; Earth, in her rich attire

Consummate, lovely smiled; Air, Water, Earth,

By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walked

Frequent; and of the sixth Day yet remained.

There wanted yet the master-work, the end

Of all yet done—a creature who, not prone

And brute as other creatures, but endued

With sanctity of reason, might erect

His stature, and, upright with front serene

Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence

Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven,

But grateful to acknowledge whence his good

Descends; thither with heart, and voice, and eyes

Directed in devotion, to adore

And worship God Supreme, who made him chief

Of all his works. Therefore the Omnipotent

Eternal Father (for where is not He

Present?) thus to his Son audibly spake:—

‘Let us make now Man in our image, Man

In our similitude, and let them rule

Over the fish and fowl of sea and air,

Beast of the field, and over all the earth,

And every creeping thing that creeps the ground!’

This said, he formed thee, Adam, thee, O Man,

Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed

The breath of life; in his own image he

Created thee, in the image of God

Express, and thou becam’st a living Soul.

Male he created thee, but thy consort’

Female, for race; then blessed mankind, and said,

‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth;

Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold

Over fish of the sea and fowl of the air,

And every living thing that moves on the Earth!

Wherever thus created—for no place

Is yet distinct by name—thence, as thou know’st,

He brought thee into this delicious grove,

This Garden, planted with the tress of God,

Delectable both to behold and taste,

And freely all their pleasant fruit for food

Gave thee. All sorts are here that all the earth yields,

Variety without end; but of the tree

Which tasted works knowledge of good and evil

Thou may’st not; in the day thou eat’st, thou diest.

Death is the penalty imposed; beware,

And govern well thy appetite, least Sin

Surprise thee, and her black attendant, Death.

“Here finished He, and all that he had made

Viewed, and behold! all was entirely good.

So even and morn accomplished the sixth Day;

Yet not till the Creator, from his work

Desisting, though unwearied, up returned,

Up to the Heaven of Heavens, his high abode,

Thence to behold this new-created World,

The addition of his empire, how it shewed

In prospect from his Throne, how good, how fair,

Answering his great Idea. Up he rode,

Followed with acclamation, and the sound

Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned

Angelic harmonies. The Earth, the Air

Resounded (thou remember’st, for thou heard’st),

The heavens and all the constellations rung,

The planets in their stations listening stood,

While the bright pomp ascended jubilant.

‘Open, ye everlasting gates!’ they sung;

‘Open, ye Heavens, your living doors! let in

The great Creator, from his work returned

Magnificent, his six days’ work, a World!

Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign

To visit oft the dwellings of just men

Delighted, and with frequent intercourse

Thither will send his winged messengers

On errands of supernal grace.’ So sung

The glorious train ascending. He through Heaven,

That opened wide her blazing portals, led

To God’s eternal house direct the way—

A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold,

And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear

Seen in the Galaxy, that milky way

Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest

Powdered with stars. And now on Earth the seventh

Evening arose in Eden—for the sun

Was set, and twilight from the east came on,

Forerunning night—when at the holy mount

Of Heaven’s high-seated top, the imperial throne

Of Godhead, fixed for ever firm and sure,

The Filial Power arrived, and sat him down

With his great Father; for He also went

Invisible, yet stayed (such privilege

Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordained,

Author and end of all things, and from work

Now resting. Blessed and hallowed the seventh Day,

As resting on that day from all his work;

But not in silence holy kept: the harp

Had work, and rested not; the solemn pipe

And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop,

All sounds on fret by string or golden wire,

Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice

Choral or unison; of incense clouds,

Fuming from golden censers, hid the Mount.

Creation and the Six Days’ acts they sung:—

‘Great are thy works, Jehovah! infinite

Thy power! what thought can measure thee, or tongue

Relate thee—greater now in thy return

Than from the Giant-angels? Thee that day

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,

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 hyalin, the glassy sea;

Of amplitude almost immense, with stars

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

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.”