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Angels ascending and descending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz,
Dreaming by night under the open sky, 514
And waking cry’d, This is the gate of Heav'n.
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to Heav'n some-

Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth, sailing arriv’d, 520
Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
The Fiend by easy 'scent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss : 525
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
A passage down to th’Earth, a passage wide,
Wider by far than that of after-times

Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, Over the Promis'd Land to God so dear,

531 By which, to visit oft those happy tribes, On high behests his Angels to and fro Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard From Paneas the fount of Jordan's flood 535 To Beërsaba, where the Holy Land Borders on Egypt and th’ Arabian shore: So wide the op’ning seem'd, where bounds

were set

To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave. Satan from hence, now on the lower stair 540 That scal'd by steps of gold to Heaven gate, Looks down with wonder at the sudden view Of all this world at once. As when a scout Through dark and desart ways with peril gone All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn 545 Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill, Which to his


discovers unaware The goodly prospect of some foreign land First seen, or some renown'd metropolis With glist’ring spires and pinnacles adorn'd, 550 Which now the rising Sun gilds with his beams: Such wonder seiz'd, though after Heaven seen, The Sp'rit malign, but much more envy seiz'd At sight of all this world beheld so fair. Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood

555 So high above the circling canopy Of Night's extended shade) from eastern point Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears Andromeda far off Atlantic seas Beyond th' horizon ; then from pole to pole 560 He views in breadth, and without longer pause Down right into the world's first region throws His flight precipitant, and winds with ease Through the

marble air his oblique way Amongst innumerable stars, that shone 565 Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds; Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles, Like those Hesperian gardens fam’d of old,


Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales, Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there He stay'd not to enquire: above them all

571 The golden Sun, in splendor likest Heav'n, Allur'd his eye: thither his course he bends Through the calm firmament (but up or down, By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,

575 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'rds 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, 585 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 aught on earth, metal or stone; Not all parts like, but all alike inform’d With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire; If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear; 595 If stone, carbuncle most, or chrysolite, Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone 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 sought,
In vain though by their pow'rful art they bind
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form. 605
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, so far from us remote,
Produces with terrestrial humour mix’d, 610
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour glorious and effect so rare ?
Here matter new to gaze, the Devil met
Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands;
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade, 615
But all sunshine, 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

To objects distant far, whereby he soon
Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand,
The same whom John saw also in the Sun.
His back was turn’d, but not his brightness hid:
Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar 625
Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings
Lay waving round. On some great charge em-


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He seem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep.
Glad was the Sp’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 else might work him danger or delay:
And now a stripling Cherub he appears, 636
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
Youth smil'd celestial, and to ev'ry limb


diffus'd: so well he feign’d. Under a coronet his flowing hair

640 In curls on either cheek play'd; wings he wore Of many a colour'd plume, sprinkld with gold; His habit fit for speed succinct, and held Before his decent steps a silver wand. He drew not nigh unheard : the Angel bright, Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn’d, 646 Admonish'd by his ear, and straight was known Th’Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seven Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, Stand ready at command, and are his eyes 650 That run through all the Heav'ns, 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 sev’n Sp'rits that stand In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, The first art wont his great authentic will 656 Interpreter through highest Heav'n to bring, Where all his sons thy embassy attend;

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