John Milton

Here you will find the Long Poem Paradise Lost: Book 07 of poet John Milton

Paradise Lost: Book 07

Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name 
If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine 
Following, above the Olympian hill I soar, 
Above the flight of Pegasean wing! 
The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou 
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top 
Of old Olympus dwellest; but, heavenly-born, 
Before the hills appeared, or fountain flowed, 
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse, 
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play 
In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased 
With thy celestial song. Up led by thee 
Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed, 
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air, 
Thy tempering: with like safety guided down 
Return me to my native element: 
Lest from this flying steed unreined, (as once 
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime,) 
Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall, 
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn. 
Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound 
Within the visible diurnal sphere; 
Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole, 
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged 
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days, 
On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues; 
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round, 
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou 
Visitest my slumbers nightly, or when morn 
Purples the east: still govern thou my song, 
Urania, and fit audience find, though few. 
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance 
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race 
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard 
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 
To rapture, till the savage clamour drowned 
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend 
Her son. So fail not thou, who thee implores: 
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream. 
Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphael, 
The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarned 
Adam, by dire example, to beware 
Apostasy, by what befel in Heaven 
To those apostates; lest the like befall 
In Paradise to Adam or his race, 
Charged not to touch the interdicted tree, 
If they transgress, and slight that sole command, 
So easily obeyed amid the choice 
Of all tastes else to please their appetite, 
Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve, 
The story heard attentive, and was filled 
With admiration and deep muse, to hear 
Of things so high and strange; things, to their thought 
So unimaginable, as hate in Heaven, 
And war so near the peace of God in bliss, 
With such confusion: but the evil, soon 
Driven back, redounded as a flood on those 
From whom it sprung; impossible to mix 
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repealed 
The doubts that in his heart arose: and now 
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know 
What nearer might concern him, how this world 
Of Heaven and Earth conspicuous first began; 
When, and whereof created; for what cause; 
What within Eden, or without, was done 
Before his memory; as one whose drouth 
Yet scarce allayed still eyes the current stream, 
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites, 
Proceeded thus to ask his heavenly guest. 
Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, 
Far differing from this world, thou hast revealed, 
Divine interpreter! by favour sent 
Down from the empyrean, to forewarn 
Us timely of what might else have been our loss, 
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach; 
For which to the infinitely Good we owe 
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment 
Receive, with solemn purpose to observe 
Immutably his sovran will, the end 
Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsafed 
Gently, for our instruction, to impart 
Things above earthly thought, which yet concerned 
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seemed, 
Deign to descend now lower, and relate 
What may no less perhaps avail us known, 
How first began this Heaven which we behold 
Distant so high, with moving fires adorned 
Innumerable; and this which yields or fills 
All space, the ambient air wide interfused 
Embracing round this floried Earth; what cause 
Moved the Creator, in his holy rest 
Through all eternity, so late to build 
In Chaos; and the work begun, how soon 
Absolved; if unforbid thou mayest unfold 
What we, not to explore the secrets ask 
Of his eternal empire, but the more 
To magnify his works, the more we know. 
And the great light of day yet wants to run 
Much of his race though steep; suspense in Heaven, 
Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears, 
And longer will delay to hear thee tell 
His generation, and the rising birth 
Of Nature from the unapparent Deep: 
Or if the star of evening and the moon 
Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring, 
Silence; and Sleep, listening to thee, will watch; 
Or we can bid his absence, till thy song 
End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine