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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 tell'st
Hath pass'd in heaven, 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 beard;

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."
Thus Adam made request; and Raphael,

After short pause assenting thus began:


High matter thou enjoin'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 corporeal forms,
As may express them best; though what if earth
Be but the shadow' of heaven, 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 heavens now roll, where earth

now rests

Upon her centre pois'd; when, on a day,
(For time, though in eternity, applied
To motion, measures all things durable
By present past, and future) on such day

As heaven'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 beaven 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 hierarchies, of orders, and degrees;
Or in their glittering tissues bear emblaz'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 made invisible, thus spake :
"Hear, all ye angels, progeny of light,
Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers!
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 heaven, 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
Ordain'd, 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 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 pil'd
With angels' food, and rubied nectar flows
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,

Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of heaven.
On flowers repos'd, and with fresh flowerets 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 heaven had chang'd
To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there
In darker veil) and roseate dews dispos'd
All but the 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

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 heaven;) he of the first,
If not the first archangel, great in power,
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 impair'd.
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,

Contemptuous, and his next subordinate
Awak'ning thus to him in secret spake :

66 6


'Sleep'st thou, companion dear! what sleep can Thy eye-lids? and remember'st what decree Of yesterday so late hath pass'd the lips

Of heaven's Almighty. Thou to me thy thoughts
Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont t' impart :
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,
The great Messiah, and his new commands,
Who speedily through all the hierarchies
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.'
"So spake the false archangel, and infus'd
Bad influence into th' unwary breast
Of his associate: he together calls,
Or several one by one, the regent powers,
Under him regent; tells, as he was taught,
That, the Most High commanding, now ere night,
Now ere dim night had disencumber'd heaven,
The great hierarchal standard was to move;
Tells the suggested cause, and casts between
Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound
Or taint integrity. But all obey'd
The wonted signal, and superior voice
Of their great potentate; for great indeed
His name, and high was his degree in heaven:
His count'nance, as the morning star that guides
The starry flock, allur'd them, and with lies
Drew after him the third part of heaven's host.
Meanwhile th' eternal eye, whose sight discerns

Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount,
And from within the golden lamps that burn
Nightly before him, saw, without their light,
Rebellion rising; saw, in whom, how spread
Among the sons of morn, what multitudes
Were banded to oppose his high decree;
And, smiling, to his only Son thus said:
"Son! thou in whom my glory I behold
In full resplendence, Heir of all my might!
Nearly it now concerns us to be sure
Of our omnipotence, and with what arms
We mean to hold what anciently we claim
Of deity or empire; such a foe

Is rising, who intends to' erect his throne
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north;
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try,
In battle, what our power is, or our right.
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw
With speed what force is left, and all employ
In our defence, lest unawares we lose
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.'

"To whom the Son, with calm aspect and clear, Lightning divine, ineffable, serene!

Made answer: Mighty Father! thou thy foes
Justly hast in derision, and, secure

Laugh'st at their vain designs and tumults vain;
Matter to me of glory, whom their hate
Illustrates, when they see all regal power
Given me to quell their pride, and in event
Know whether I be dex'trous to subdue

Thy rebels, or be found the worst in heaven.'
"So spake the Son; but Satan with his power
Far was advanc'd on winged speed, an host
Innumerable as the stars of night,

Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun
Impearls on every leaf, and every flower.
Regions they pass'd the mighty regencies
Of seraphim, and potentates, and thrones,
In their triple degrees; regions to which
All thy dominion, Adam, is no more
That what this garden is to all the earth,

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