« AnteriorContinuar »
Cur Maker, and obey him whose command
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
Upon her centre pois'd : when on a day
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
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,
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
Melodious hymns about the sov’reign throne
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.
Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
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.