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More airy, last the bright consuminate 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,
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,
Diff'ring but in degree, of kind the same.
Wonder not then, what God for you saw good
If I refuse not, but convert, as you,
To proper substance. Time may come, when men
With angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare;
And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
Your bodies inay at last turn all to spirit,
Improv'd by tract of time, and wing'd ascend
Ethereal, as we, or may at choice
Here or in heav'nly Paradises dwell;
If ye be found obedient, and retain
Unalterably firm his love entire,
Whose progeny you are. Meanwhile enjoy
Your fill what happiness this happy 'state
Can comprehend, incapable of more.

To whom the patriarch of mankind reply'd :
O favourable sp’rit, propitious guest,
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
Qbedient? Can we want obedience then
To him, or possibly his love desert,
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 wliam the angel: Son of heav'n and earth, Attend. That thou art happy, owe to God;

That thou continu'st 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 inade thee, but to persevere
IIc left it in thy pow'r; ordain'd thy will
By nature free, not over-ruld by fate
Inextricable, or strict necessity :
Our voluntary service he requires,
Not our necessitated; such with him
Finds no acceptance, nor can find, for how
Can hearts, not free, be try'd whether they serve
Willing or no, wiio will but what they must
By destiny, and can no other chuse?
Myself, and all th' angelic host, that stand
In sight of God enthron'dy our happy state
Ilold, as you yours, while our obedience holds;
On other surety none; freely we serve,
Because we freely love, as in our will
To love or not; in this we stand or fall:
And some are fali'n, to disobedience fall’n,
And so from lieav'n to deepest hell; O fall
From what high state of bliss into what woe!

To whom our great progenitor: Thy words
Attentive, and with more delighted ear,
Divinc instructor, I have heard, than when
Cherubic songs by night from neighb'ring hills
Aerial music send: nor knew I not
To be both will and deed created free:
Yet that we never shall forget to love
Our Maker, and obey him whose command
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts
Assur'd me, and still assure: tho' what thou tellst
Ifath pass'd in heav'n, some doubt within me move,
But morc desire to hear, if thou consent,
The full relation; which inust needs be strange,
Worthy of sacred silence to be heard :
And we have yet large day; for scarce the sun
Hath finish'd half his journey, and scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of heav'n.

Thus Adam made request; and Raphael, After short pause assenting, thus began:

High matter thou injoin'st me, o prime of men, Sad task, and hard : for how shall I relate To human sense th' invisible exploits Of warring spirits? how without remorse The ruin of so many glorious once And perfect while they stood? how last unfold The secrets of another world, perhaps Not lawful to reveal? Yet for thy good This is dispens'd; and what surmounts the reach of human sense, I shall delineate so, By likening spiritual to corp'ral forms, As may express them best; though what if earth Be but the shadow of heav'n; and things therein Each to other like, more than on earth is thought ?

As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild. Reign'd where these heav'ns now roll, where earth

now rests Upon her centre pois’d; when on a day (For time, though in eternity, apply'd To motion, measures all things durable By present, past, and future) on such day As heav'n's great year brings forth, th’empyreal host Of angels, by imperial summons call'd, Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne Forthwith, from all the ends of heay'n, appear'd Under their hierarchs in orders bright: Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanc'd, Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear Stream in the air, and for distinction serve Of hierarcbies, of orders, and degrees; Or in their glittring tissues bear imblazd Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs Of circuit inexpressible they stood, Orb within orb, the Father infinite, By whom in bliss imbosom'd sat the Son.

Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake:

Hear, all ye angels, progeny of light,
Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, pow'rs, .
Hear my decree, which unrevok'd shall stand:
This day I have begot whom I declare
My only Son, and on this holy hill
Him have anointed, whom ye now behold
At my right hand: your head I him appoint;
And by myself have sworn to him shall bow
All knees in heav'n, and shall confess him Lord: ,
Under his great Vicegerent reign abide
United as one individual soul
For ever happy: him who disobeys,
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day
Cast out from God and blessed vision falls
Into utter darkness, deep ingulf'd, his place
Ordaind without redemption, without end.

So spake th’ Omnipotent, and with his words All seem'd well pleas'd; all seem'd, but were not all. That day, as other solemn days, they spent In song and dance about the sacred hill; Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere of planets and of fix'd, in all her wheels Resembles nearest, mazes intricate, Eccentric, intervolv'd, yet regular Then most, when most irregular they seem ;) And in their motions harmony divine So smooth her charming tones, that God's own ear Listens delighted. Ev'ning now approach'd (For we have also our ev'ning, and our morn, We ours for our change delectable, not need); Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn Desirous; all in circles as they stood, Tables are set, and on a sudden pil'd With angels' food, and rubied nectar flows In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold; Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of heav'n.

On flow'rs repos'd, and with fresh flow'rets crown'd,
They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joy, secure
Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds
Excess, before th' all-bounteous King, who shower'd
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhal'd
From that high mount of God, whence light and shade
Spring both, the face of brightest heav'n and chang'd
To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there
In darker veil), and roseate dews dispos'd
All but th'unsleeping eyes of God to rest;
Wide over all the plain, and wider far
Than all this globous earth in plain outspread,
(Such are the courts of God), th' angelic throng
Dispers'd in bands and files, their camp extend
By living streams among the trees of life,
Pavilions numberless, and sudden rear'd
Celestial tabernacles, where they slept
Fann'd with cool winds; save those who in their course
Melodious hymns about the soy'reign throne
Alternate all night long. But not so wak'd
Satan; so call him now, his former name
Is heard no more in heav'n; he of the first,
If not the first Arch-angel, great in pow'r,
In favour and pre-eminence, yet fraught
With envy against the Son of God, that day
Honour'd by his great Father, and proclaim'd
Messiah King anointed, could not bear
Thro' pride that sight, and thought himself impaird.
Deep malice thence conceiving, and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour,
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolvid
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshipp'd, unobey'd, the throne supreme,
Contemptuous; and his next subordinate
Awak’ning, thus to him in secret spake:

Sleep'st thou, companion dear, what sleep can close Thy eyelids! and remember'st what decree ,

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