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Hail holy light! offspring of heav'n first-born; Or of th’ Eternal, co-eternal beam May I express thee unblam'd ? since God is light, And never but in unapproached light Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee, Bright effluence of bright essence increate. Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal stream, Whose fountain who shall tell ? before the sun, Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest The rising world of waters dark and deep, Won from the void and formless infinite. Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight Through utter and through middle darkness borne, With other notes, than to th’ Orphean lyre, I sung of Chaos and eternal Night, Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down The dark descent, and up to reascend, Though hard and rare : thee I revisit safe,
3 God is light] See Wakef. Lucret. 1, p. 320. “Per emphasin Deus sæpissime Sol audit. Ov. Met. xv. 192.
• Ipse Dei clypeus, terrâ cum tollitur imâ,
Mane rubetadeas notata nobis ad Virg. Georg. i. 6.'
8 fountain] see Lucret. 5. 282, largus item liquidi fons luminis.'
17 other notes] See Bembo Sonnetti, p. 26, “con altre voce.' Dante Il Parad. c. xxv. 7, “Con altra voce omai, con altra vello Ritornero Poeta.'
And feel thy sov’reign vital lamp; but thou
25 quench'd] drench'd. Bent!. MS.
25 orbs] Val. Flacc. iv. 235. “Sanguineosque rotat orbes.' See Burman's Note.
30 flowery brooks] flowing, silver, crystal, purling. Bentl. MS. 35 Thamyris] Stat. Theb. iv. 183. Mutos 'Thamyris damnatus in annos.
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Now had the Almighty Father from above,
Of] Pearce proposes to read “ All nature's works,' and Newton agrees with him, putting a stop after blank,' but I do not understand the force of their objection to the established text.
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage
glozing lies] See Beaumont's Psyche, c. v. 37.
“With humble lies, and oaths of glozings drest.' See also B. ix. 549, “so gloz'd the tempter.'
Such I created all th' ethereal Powers
ceive ? What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When will and reason, (reason also is choice,) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild, Made passive both, had serv'd necessity, Not me? They therefore, as to right belong’d, So were created, nor can justly accuse Their Maker, or their making, or their fate ; As if predestination over-ruld Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree Or high foreknowledge : they themselves decreed Their own revolt, not I: if I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow of fate, Or aught by me immutably foreseen, They trespass, authors to themselves in all, Both what they judge and what they choose ; for so I form’d them free, and free they must remain, Till they enthrall themselves ; I else must change
108 “When God gave him reason he gave him freedom to choose ; for reason is bul choosing' Milton's Areopagitica.