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The moon's bright orb, and stars of Titan birth
Are nourished by one Life; one primal Mind,
Immingled with the vast and general frame,
Fills every part and stirs the mighty whole.
Thence man and beast, thence creatures of the air,
And all the swarming monsters that be found
Beneath the level of the marbled sea;
A fiery virtue, a celestial power,
Their native seeds retain; but bodies vile,
With limbs of clay and members born to die,
Encumber and o'ercloud; whence also spring
Terrors and passions, suffering and joy;
For from deep darkness and captivity
All gaze but blindly on the radiant world.
Nor when to life's last beam they bid farewell
May sufferers cease from pain, nor quite be freed
From all their fleshly plagues; but by fixed law,
The strange, inveterate taint works deeply in.
For this, the chastisement of evils past
Is suffered here, and full requital paid.
Some hang on high, outstretched to viewless winds;
For some their sin's contagion must be purged
In vast ablution of deep-rolling seas,
Or burned away in fire. Each man receives
His ghostly portion in the world of dark;
But thence to realms Elysian we go free,
Where for a few these seats of bliss abide,
Till time's long lapse a perfect orb fulfils,
And takes all taint away, restoring so
The pure, ethereal soul's first virgin fire.
At last, when the millennial aeon strikes,
God calls them forth to yon Lethaean stream,
In numerous host, that thence, oblivious all,
They may behold once more the vaulted sky,
And willingly to shapes of flesh return.”
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