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Youth smild celestial, and to every limb
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 colour'd plume sprinkled 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, E’er he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn’d, 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 That run through all the heavens, 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 spirits that stand In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 655 The first art wont his great authentic will Interpreter through highest heaven to bring, Where all his sons thy embassy attend; And here art likeliest by supreme decree Like honour to obtain, and as his eye To visit oft this new creation round; Unspeakable desire to see, and know All these his wondrous works, but chiefly man,
many a colour'd] · Versicoloribus alis.'
Virgilii Catalecta, vi. 9. 643 succinct] Orl. Fur. c. xvii. st. 52.
• In abito succinto era Marfisa.' Todd. VOL. I.
His chief delight and favour, him for whom
So spake the false dissembler unperceiv’d;
678 that] Tickell reads, “ their loss,' and is followed by Fenton and Bentley. Todd.
Who to the fraudulent imposter foul
Fair angel, thy desire which tends to know
710 heard] ‘Jussa Dei exsequitur Tellus.'
A. Ramsæi, P. Sacr. ed. Lauder, i. p. 4. 716 this] “the’ in Fenton's and Bentley's ed. Newton.
Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move;
Thus said, he turn’d, and Satan bowing low,
Satan now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God and man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair; but at length confirms himself in evil, journeys on to paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described, overleaps the bounds, sits in the shape of a cormorant on the Tree of life, as the highest in the garden to look about him. The garden described ; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall: overhears their discourse, thence gathers that the Tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his temptation, by seducing them to transgress: then leaves them awhile to know further of their state by some other means. Mean while Uriel descending on a sunbeam warns Gabriel, who had in charg the gate of paradise, that some evil spirit had escaped the deep, and passed at noon by his sphere in the shape of a good angel down to paradise, discovered afterwards by his furious gestures in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest: their bower described; their evening worship. Gabriel drawing forth his bands of nightwatch to walk the round of paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom questioned, he scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but hindered by a sign from heaven flies out of paradise.