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Invocation to the Eternal Spirit.-The subject of the Poem announced.-A period long after the Last Judgment described.— Two youthful sons of Paradise, waiting on the battlements of Heaven, observant of the return of holy messengers, or the arrival from distant worlds of spirits made perfect-Discover one directing his flight towards Heaven.-The hills of Paradise-The Mount of God.-Welcome of the faithful servant.-The hill of the throne of God pointed out to him.-The Sons of Paradise offer to guide him into the presence of the Most High.—The Newarrived, bewildered by the strange sights beheld in his flight, begs for knowledge, and the solution of the mysteries he has seen :Describes his flight through Chaos, and arrival at the place of Everlasting Punishment:-Wall of fiery adamant:-The Worm that never dies:-Eternal Death:-Hell:-The dreadful sights beheld there. The youthful Sons of Heaven refer the new-arrived to an ancient Bard of Adam's race.-' -They fly towards his dwelling. Flight through the fields of Heaven.-The Bard of Earth described:-His bower in Paradise. He is entreated to clear up the wondering doubt of the new-arrived, who tells what he has seen and conjectured.—The Bard informs him the gracious form he beheld in hell is Virtue :-Agrees to relate the history of the human race.




ETERNAL Spirit! God of truth! to whom
All things seem as they are, Thou who of old
The prophet's eye unscaled, that nightly saw,
While heavy sleep fell down on other men,
In holy vision tranced, the future pass
Before him, and to Judah's harp attuned

Burdens which made the pagan mountains shake,
And Zion's cedars bow,-inspire my song;
My eye unscale; me what is substance teach,
And shadow what, while I of things to come,
As past, rehearsing, sing the Course of Time,
The second birth, and final doom of man.

The muse that soft and sickly wooes the ear Of love, or, chanting loud, in windy rhyme,

Of fabled hero, raves through gaudy tale,
Not overfraught with sense, I ask not: such
A strain befits not argument so high.

Me thought and phrase severely sifting out
The whole idea, grant, uttering as 'tis
The essential truth-Time gone, the righteous saved,
The wicked damned, and providence approved. →

Hold my right hand, Almighty! and me teach
To strike the lyre, but seldom struck, to notes
Harmonious with the morning stars, and pure
As those by sainted bards and angels sung,
Which wake the echoes of Eternity;

That fools may hear and tremble, and the wise,
Instructed, listen of ages yet to come.

Long was the day, so long expected, past
Of the eternal doom, that gave to each
Of all the human race his due reward.

The sun, earth's sun, and moon, and stars, had


To number seasons, days, and months, and years

To mortal man; hope was forgotten, and fear; And Time, with all its chance, and change, and smiles, And frequent tears, and deeds of villany

Or righteousness, once talked of much as things
Of great renown, was now but ill remembered;
In dim and shadowy vision of the past

Seen far remote, as country, which has left
The traveller's speedy step, retiring back

From morn till even: and long, Eternity
Had rolled his mighty years, and with his years
Men had grown old. The saints, all home returned
From pilgrimage, and war, and weeping, long
Had rested in the bowers of peace, that skirt
The stream of life; and long, alas, how long
To them it seemed! the wicked who refused
To be redeemed, had wandered in the dark
Of hell's despair, and drunk the burning cup
Their sins had filled with everlasting wo.

Thus far the years had rolled, which none but God Doth number, when two sons, two youthful sons Of Paradise, in conversation sweet—

For thus the heavenly muse instructs me, wooed
At midnight hour with offering sincere

Of all the heart, poured out in holy prayer—
High on the hills of immortality,

Whence goodliest prospect looks beyond the walls
Of heaven, walked, casting oft their eye far through

The pure serene, observant if returned

From errand duly finished any came;
Or any, first in virtue now complete,

From other worlds arrived, confirmed in good. +

Thus viewing, one they saw, on hasty wing
Directing towards heaven his course; and now,
His flight ascending near the battlements

And lofty hills on which they walked, approached.
For round and round, in spacious circuit wide,
Mountains of tallest stature circumscribe
The plains of Paradise, whose tops, arrayed
In uncreated radiance, seem so pure,

That nought but angel's foot, or saint's, elect
Of God, may venture there to walk. Here oft
The sons of bliss take morn or evening pastime,
Delighted to behold ten thousand worlds
Around their suns revolving in the vast

External space, or listen the harmonies
That each to other in its motion sings;
And hence, in middle heaven remote is seen
The mount of God in awful glory bright.
Within, no orb create of moon, or star,

Or sun, gives light: for God's own countenance,
Beaming eternally, gives light to all.

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