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And on her ample square, from side to side,
All autumn pil'd, tho' spring and autumn here
Danc'd hand in hand. A while discourse they
hold;

395
No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began
Our author: Heav'nly stranger, please to taste
These bounties which our Nourisher, from whom
All perfect good, unmeasur’d out, descends
To us for food, and for delight hath caus’d 400
The earth to yield; unsav'ry food perhaps
To spiritual natures: only this I know,
That one celestial Father gives to all.

To whom the Angel: Therefore, what he gives (Whose praise be ever sung) to Man in part 405 Spiritual, may

of purest Sp’rits be found No' ingrateful food : and food alike those

pure Intelligential substances require, As doth

your

rational; and both contain Within them ev'ry lower faculty

410 Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch,

taste,
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,
And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
For know, whatever was created, needs
To be sustain'd and fed : of elements

415 The

grosser feeds the purer; earth the sea, Earth and the sea feed air; the air those fires Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon; Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurg'd Vapours not yet into her substance turn’d, 420

VOL. I.

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Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
From her moist continent to higher orbs.
The Sun, that light imparts to all, receives
From all his alimental recompense
In humid exhalations, and at ev'n

425
Sups with the ocean. Tho' in Heav'n the trees
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines
Yield nectar; tho’ from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
Cover'd with pearly grain, yet God hath here
Vary'd his bounty so with new delights, 431
As may compare with Heav'n; and to taste
Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
And to their viands fell; nor seemingly
The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss 435
Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch
Of real hunger and concoctive heat
To transubstantiate: what redounds, transpires
Thro' Sp’rits with ease; nor wonder, if by fire
Of sooty coal th’ empyric alchemist

440 Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold, As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups With pleasant liquors crown'd. O innocence 445 Deserving Paradise ! if ever, then, Then had the sons of God excuse to have been Enamour'd at that sight; but in those hearts Love unlibidinous reign'd, nor jealousy Was understood, the injur'd lover's Hell. 450

460

Thus, when with meats and drinks they had

suffic'd, Not burden'd nature, sudden mind arose In Adam, not to let th' occasion pass Giv'n him by this great conference, to know Of things above his world, and of their being 455 Who dwell in Heav'n, whose excellence he saw Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms Divine effulgence, whose high pow'r so far Exceeded human; and his wary speech Thus to th' empyreal minister he fram'd :

Inhabitant with God, now know I well Thy favour in this honour done to Man, Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsaf 'd To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, Food not of Angels, yet accepted so, 465 As that more willingly thou couldst not seem At Heav'n's high feasts to' have fed: yet what

compare? To whom the winged Hierarch reply'd: O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to him return, 470 If not deprav'd from good, created all Such to perfection, one first matter all, Endu'd with various forms, various degrees Of substance, and in things that live, of life; But more refin'd, more spiritous, and pure, 475 As nearer to him plac'd, or nearer tending Each in their sev’ral active spheres assign'd, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds

Proportion’d to each kind. So from the root
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the
leaves

480
More airy, last the bright consummate flow'r
Spirits odorous breathes : flow'rs and their fruit,
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublim'd,
To vital sp’rits aspire, to animal,
To intellectual ; give both life and sense,

485
Fancy and understanding ; whence the soul
Reason receives, and reason is her being,
Discursive or intuitive: discourse
Is oftest yours; the latter most is ours,
Difforing but in degree; of kind the same. 490
Wonder not then, what God for you saw good,
If I refuse not, but convert, as you,
Το proper substance: time may come, when Men
With Angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare ; 495
And from these corp'ral nutriments, perhaps
Your bodies may at last turn all to sp'rit,
Improv’d by tract of time, and wing'd ascend
Ethereal, as we, or may at choice
Here or in heav'nly Paradises dwell'; 500
If ye be found obedient, and retain
Unalterably firm his love entire,
Whose progeny you are.

Mean while enjoy
Your fill what happiness this happy state
Can comprehend, incapable of more. 505

To whom the patriarch of mankind reply'd ::
O favourable Sp'rit, propitious guest,

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Well hast thou taught the way that might direct
Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set
From centre to circumference, whereon
In contemplation of created things,
By steps we may ascend to God. But say,
What meant that caution join’d, If ye be found
Obedient ? Can we want obedience then
To him, or possibly his love desert, 515
Who form'd us from the dust, and plac'd us here
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss
Human desires can seek or apprehend?

To whom the Angel: Son of Heav'n and Earth,
Attend. That thou art happy, owe to God; 520
That thou continues such, owe to thyself;
That is, to thy obedience: therein stand.
This was that caution giv'n thee; be advis'd.
God made thee perfect, not immutable;
And good he made thee; but to persevere 525
He left it in thy pow'r; ordain'd thy will
By nature free, not over-rul’d by fate
Inextricable, or strict necessity.
Our voluntary service he requires,
Not our necessitated : such with him

530 Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how Can hearts, not free, be try'd whether they serve Willing or no, who will but what they mustia By destiny, and can no other choose?. Myself and all th' angelic host, that stand 535 In sight of God enthron'd, our happy state : 192 Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds:

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