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Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways;
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour, to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring; and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth :
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;
Meanwhile, as Nature wills, night bids us rest.”
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned :
My author and disposer, what thou biddist Unargued I obey ; so God ordains ; God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise. With thee conversing I forget all time; All seasons and their change, all please alike. Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet, With charm of earliest birds ; pleasant the sun When first on this delightful land he spreads His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth After soft showers; and sweet the coming on Of grateful evening mild ; then silent night, With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon, And these the gems of heaven, her starry train : But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds, nor rising sun
On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
Nor grateful evening mild, nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes ?”
To whom our general ancestor replied:
“ Daughter of God and man, accomplished Eve,
These have their course to finish round the earth
By morrow evening, and from land to land
In order, though to nations yet unborn,
Ministering light prepared, they set and rise;
Lest total darkness should by night regain
Her old possession, and extinguish life
In nature and all things, which these soft fires
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
Of various influence, foment and warm,
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earth, made hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
These, then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none,
That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise.
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise His works behold
Both day and night. How often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator! oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number joined, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven.”
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed
On to their blissful bower.
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works, yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels! for ye behold Him, and with songs,
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle His throne rejoicing; ye in heaven:
On earth join all ye creatures, to extol
Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end !
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise Him in thy sphere
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou sun! of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge Him thy greater; sound His praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall’st.
Moon! that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly’st
With the fixed stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering fires! that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
Air and ye elements! the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix,
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our Great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations that now rise
From hill, or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise:
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising, or falling, still advance His praise.
His praise, ye winds ! that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft, or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines !
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune His praise.
Join voices all, ye living souls; ye birds,
That singing up to heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes His praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep,
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught His praise.
Hail, universal Lord! be bounteous still
To give us only good; and, if the night
Have gathered aught of evil or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.”
Or, unexpected stroke! worse than of death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise ? thus leave
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of gods ? where I had hope to spend,
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day,
That must be mortal to us both: oh, flowers!
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
which I bred
with tender hand From the first opening bud, and gave ye names; Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount? Thee lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorned With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee How shall I part, and whither wander down Into a lower world, to this obscure And wild ? how shall we breathe in other air Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits ?