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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 appear'd,
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of majesty divine: sapience and love
Immense, and all his Father in him shone.
About his chariot numberless were pour'd
Cherub and seraph, potentates and thrones,
And virtues, winged spirits, and chariots wing'd
From the armoury of God; where stand of old
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged
Against a solemn day, harness'd at hand,
Celestial equipage; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them spirit lived,
Attendant on their Lord: heaven open'd 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 view'd the vast immeasurable abyss
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heaven's highth, and with the center mix the
pole.

"Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep,

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Said then the omnific word; "your discord end!" Nor staid; 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
Follow'd in bright procession, to behold
Creation, and the wonders of his might.

Then staid the fervid wheels, and in his hand

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He took the golden compasses, prepared In God's eternal store, to circumscribe This universe, and all created things: One foot he center'd, and the other turn'd Round through the vast profundity obscuré; 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 unform'd and void: darkness profound Cover'd the abyss; but on the watry 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 center 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

Sojourn'd 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 past 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 fill'd,

And touch'd 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

I

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 cireumfluous waters calm, in-wide
Crystalline 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 form'd, but in the womb as yet
Of waters, embryon immature involved,
Appear'd not: over all the face of earth
Main ocean flow'd, 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 gather'd 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, uproll'd,
As drops on dust conglobing from the dry:
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,

For haste; such flight the great command impress'd
On the swift floods; as armies at the call
Of trumpets (for of armies thou hast heard)
Troop to their standard; so the watry throng,
Wave rolling 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 under ground, 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 call'd 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, unadorn'd,

Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad
Her universal face with pleasant green;

Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flower'd
Opening their various colours, and made gay
Her bosom, smelling sweet: and, these scarce blown,
Forth flourish'd thick the clustering vine, forth crept
The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed
Embattled in her field, and 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 gemm'd
Their blossoms: with high woods the fields were
crown'd,

With tufts the valleys, and each fountain-side;
With borders long the rivers: that earth now
Seem'd 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 rain'd
Upon the earth, and man to till the ground
None was; but from the earth a dewy mist
Went up, and water'd 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, altern; 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.
Surveying his great work, that it was good:
For of celestial bodies first the sun

God saw,

A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first,
Though of ethereal mould: then form'd the moon
Globose, and every magnitude of stars,

And sow'd 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 gather'd 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, jocund to run

His longitude through heaven's high road; the gray
Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced,
Shedding sweet influence: less bright the moon,
But opposite in levell'd 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

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