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O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred More justly more
Satan here is wearing only a cloth around his waist: his chest, arms, legs, feet are all bare; his wings are spread but he sits on a rock at the edge of a forest bathed in a pool of sunlight; in the background in the shadows we see the dim forms of the naked Adam and Eve. Satan’s curly hair may perhaps be suggestive of the snake or serpent.
I have not been able to discover anything about the engraver, E. Goebel, except that the name might be associated with Stuttgart.
O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferr’d
More justly; seat worthier of Gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
For what God after better worse would build?
Terrestrial Heav’n, danced round by other Heav’ns
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems,
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence. As God in Heav’n
Is center, yet extends to all, so thou
Centring receiv’st from all those orbs: in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ’d up in man.
With what delight could I have walk’d thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown’d,
Rocks, dens, and caves! but I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me, as from the hateful siege
Of contraries; all good to me becomes
Bane, and in heav’n much worse would be my state.
But neither here seek I, no nor in Heav’n
To dwell, unless by mastering Heav’n’s Supreme;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease
Book IX, 679-2, p. 80