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Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
Improved by tract of time, and wing'd ascend
Ethereal, as we, or may at choice
Here or in heavenly 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 replied :
O favourable spirit, 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
Obedient ? Can we want obedience then
To him, or possibly his love desert,
Who form'd us from the dust and placed us here
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss
Human desires can seek or apprehend ?

To whom the angel : Son of heaven and earth Attend : that thou art happy, owe to God; That thou continuest such, owe to thyself, That is, to thy obedience ; therein stand. This was that caution given thee; be advised. God made thee perfect, not immutable ; And good he made thee ; but to persevere He left it in thy power, ordain'd thy will By nature free, not overruled 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 tried whether they serve Willing or no, who will but what they must By destiny, and can no other choose? Myself and all the angelic host, that stand In sight of God enthroned, our happy state Hold, 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 fallen, to disobedience fallen, And so from heaven to deepest hell : 0 fall From what high state of bliss into what woe !

To whom our great progenitor : Thy words Attentive, and with more delighted ear, Divine instructor, I have heard, than when Cherubic songs by night from neighbouring hills Aëreal 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
Assured me, and still assure ; though 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 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.

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

High matter thou enjoinest me, O prime of men,
Sad task and hard ; for how shall I relate
To human sense the 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 dispensed ; and what surmounts the reach
Of human sense I shall delineate so,
By likening spiritual to corporal 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 row

rests Upon her centre poised; 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, the empyreal host Of angels, by imperial summons callid, Innumerable before the Almighty's throne Forthwith from all the ends of heaven appear'd; Under their hierarchs in orders bright Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced, 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 imblazed 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 embosom'd sat the Son, Amidst, as from a fiaming 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 unrevoked 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 Lor).
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 the Omnipotent, and with his words
All seem'd well pleased ; 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, intervolved, yet regular
Then most, when most irregular they seem ;
And in their motions harmony divine
So smoothes 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 piled
With angels' food, and rubied nectar flows,
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of heaven.
On flowers reposed and with fresh flowerets crowald,
They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joy, secure
Of surfeit where full measure only bounds
Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who shower'd
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled
From that high mount of God, whence light and shade
Spring both, the face of brightest heaven had changed
To grateful twilight, for night comes not there
In darker veil, and roseate dews disposed
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, the angelic throng,
Dispersed 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
Fannd with cool winds, save those who in their course
Melodious hymns about the sovereign throne
Alternate all night long. But not so waked
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
Through 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 resolved
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshipp’d, unobey'd, the throne supreme,
Contemptuous, and his next subordinate
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake :

Sleep'st thou, companion dear? What sleep can close
Thy eyelids ? and rememberest what decree
Of yesterday so late hath pass'd the lips
Of heaven's Almighty ? Thou to me thy thoughts
Was wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart;
Both waking we were one ; how then can now
Thy sleep dissent ? New laws thou seest imposed;
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 clouds 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 infused
Bad influence into the 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 als obey'd
The wonted signal aad sparios voice
Of their great potentate; bor great indeed
His name, and high was his degree in bearen ;
His countenance, as the morning-star that guides
The starry flock, aliured them, and with lies
Drew after him the third part of heaven's host.

Meanwhile the Eternal Eye, whose sight discerns
Abstrasest 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
Light'ning 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 dextrous to subdue
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in heaven.

So spake the Son : but Satan, with his powers, Far was advanced on winged speed ; a 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
Than what this garden is to all the carth,
And all the sea, from one entire globose
Stretch'd into longitude ; which having pass'd,
At length into the limits of the north

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