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"So saying, they, linked hand in hand, spread out Their golden wings, by living breezes fanned, And over heaven's broad champaign sailed serene."

And over heaven's broad champaign sailed serene.
O'er hill and valley, clothed with verdure green
That never fades; and tree, and herb, and flower,
That never fade; and many a river, rich
With nectar, winding pleasantly, they passed;
And mansion of celestial mould, and work
Divine. And oft delicious music, sung

Their ear

By saint and angel bands that walked the vales,
Or mountain-tops, and harped upon their harps,
inclined, and held by sweet constraint
Their wing; not long, for strong desire, awaked,
Of knowledge that to holy use might turn,
Still pressed them on to leave what rather seemed
Pleasure, due only when all duty's done.

And now beneath them lay the wished-for spot, The sacred bower of that renowned bard; That ancient bard, ancient in days and song; But in immortal vigour young, and young rosy health; to pensive solitude


Retiring oft, as was his wont on earth.

Fit was the place, most fit for holy musing. Upon a little mount that gently rose,

He sat, clothed in white robes; and o'er his head
A laurel-tree, of lustiest, eldest growth,

Stately and tall, and shadowing far and wide-
Not fruitless, as on earth, but bloomed and rich
With frequent clusters, ripe to heavenly taste-
Spread its eternal boughs, and in its arms
A myrtle of unfading leaf embraced.
The rose and lily, fresh with fragrant dew,
And every flower of fairest cheek, around
Him smiling flocked: beneath his feet, fast by

And round his sacred hill, a streamlet walked,
Warbling the holy melodies of heaven.

The hallowed zephyrs brought him incense sweet ;
And out before him opened, in prospect long,
The River of Life, in many a winding maze
Descending from the lofty throne of God,
That with excessive glory closed the scene.

Of Adam's race he was, and lonely sat,
By chance that day, in meditation deep,
Reflecting much of Time, and Earth, and Man.
And now to pensive, now to cheerful notes,
He touched a harp of wondrous melody;
A golden harp it was, a precious gift,

Which, at the Day of Judgment, with the crown
Of life, he had received from God's own hand,
Reward due to his service done on earth.

He sees their coming, and with greeting kind, And welcome, not of hollow forged smiles, And ceremonious compliment of phrase, But of the heart sincere, into his bower Invites: like greeting they returned. Not bent In low obeisancy, from creature most Unfit to creature, but with manly form Upright they entered in; though high his rank, His wisdom high, and mighty his renown. And thus, deferring all apology, The two their new companion introduced :

Ancient in knowledge, bard of Adam's race!
We bring thee one, of us inquiring what
We need to learn, and with him wish to learn.
His asking will direct thy answer best.

Most ancient bard! began the new-arrived, Few words will set my wonder forth, and guide Thy wisdom's light to what in me is dark.

Equipped for heaven, I left my native place :
But first beyond the realms of light I bent
My course; and there, in utter darkness, far
Remote, I beings saw forlorn in woe,
Burning continually, yet unconsumed.

And there were groans that ended not, and sighs
That always sighed, and tears that ever wept
And ever fell, but not in Mercy's sight.
And still I heard these wretched beings curse
Almighty God, and curse the Lamb, and curse
The earth, the resurrection morn, and seek,
And ever vainly seek, for utter death.
And from above the thunders answered still,
"Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not."
And everywhere throughout that horrid den
I saw a form of excellence, a form

Of beauty without spot, that nought could see
And not admire, admire and not adore.
And from its own essential beams it gave
Light to itself, that made the gloom more dark.
And every eye in that infernal pit

Beheld it still; and from its face, how fair!
Oh, how exceeding fair! for ever sought,
But ever vainly sought, to turn away.

That image, as I guess, was Virtue, for
Nought else hath God given countenance so fair!
But why in such a place it should abide ?
What place it is? what beings there lament?
Whence came they? and for what their endless groan
Why curse they God? why seek they utter death?


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