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Cur Maker, and obey him whose command
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts
Assur'd me', and still assure : though what thou

tell’st
Hath parin Heav'n, some doubt within me move,
But more desire to hear, if thou consent,
The full relation, which must 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 Heaven. 560

Thus Adam made request ; and Raphaël After short pause assenting, thus began.

High matter thou injoins't 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 goud This is dispens’d; and what surmounts the reach Of human sense, I shall delineate so, By likening spiritual to corporal forms, As may express them best ; though whiat if Earth Be but the w fHeav'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

570

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Upon her centre pois'd : when on a day
(For time, though in eternity, apply'd 580
To motion, measures all things durable
By present, past, and future) on such day
As Heav'n's great year brings forth, th' impyreal

host
Of Angels by imperial summons call*d,
Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne
Forthwith from all the ends of Heav'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 590
Of Hierarchies, of orders, and degrees :
Or in their glittering tissues bear imblaz'd
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 inade invisible, thus spake.

Hear all ye Angels, progeny of light, 600 Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues,

Powers, Hear my decree, which unrevok'd shall stand. This day I have begot whom I deciare 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 vice-gerent reign abide
United as one individual soul

610
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
Ordain'd without redemption, without end.

So spake th’ Omnipotent, and with his words All seem'd well pleas'd; all seeni’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 620 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 smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear Listens delighted. Evening now approach'd (For we have also' our evening and our morn, We ours for 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 pild With Angels food, and rubied nectar flows In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold, Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven. On flow'rs repos d and with fresh flow'rets crown'd,

631

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 show'r'd With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. 641 Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhald From that high mount of God, whence light and shade Spring both, the face of brightest Heav'n had 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, 650 Dispers’d in bands and files, their camp extend By living streams among the trees of life, Pavillions 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 sov’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
power,

660 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 Through pride that sight, and thought himself impair'd.

Bb

VOL. I.

Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolv'd
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshipp'd, unobey'd the throne supreme 670
Contemptuous, and his next subordinate
Awak’ning, thus to him in secret spake.
Sleep'st thou, Companion dear, what sleep can

close
Thy eye-lids ? and remember'st what decree
Of yesterday, so late liath pass’d the lips,
Of Heav'n's Almighty. Thou to me thy thouglits
Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to' impait,
Both waking we were one; how then can now
Thy sleep dissent ? New laws thou seest impos d;
New laws from him who reigns, new minds may

raise In us who serve, new counsels, to debate What doubtful may ensue: more in this place To utter is not safe. Assemble thou Of all those myriads which we lead the chief; Tell them that by command, ere yet dim night Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste, And all who under me their banners wave, Homeward with flying march where we possess The quarters of the north; there to prepare Fit entertainment to receive our king 690 The great Messiah, and his new commands, Who speedily through all the hierarchies Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.

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