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Can comprehend, incapable of more.

505 To whom the patriarch of mankind reply'd : O favorable Spirit, propitious guest, Well húst thou taught the way that might direct Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set From centre to circumference, whereon

510 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,

515 Who form'd us from the dust, and placed us here Full to the utmost measure of what bliss Human desire can seek or apprehend?

To whom the Angel: Son of Heav'n and Earth, Attend. That thou art happy, owe to God; 520 That thou continuest such, owe to thyself; That is, to thy obedience: therein stand. This was that caution giv'n thee; be advised. God made thee perfect, not immutable; And good he made thee; but to persevere

525 He left it in thy pow'r; ordain'd thy will By nature free, not over-ruled by fate Inextricable, or strict necessity, Our voluntary service he requires, Not our necessitated : such with him

530 Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how Can hearts, not free, be try'd whether they serve Willing or no, who will but what they must By destiny, and can no other choose ? Myself and all th' angelic host, that stand 535 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 :

540 And some are fall'n, to disobedience fall'n,

512. Every part of the vast system of the universe, is not only connected with the rest by a kind of natural necessity, but the connexion is apparent to the contemplative eye of reason, and hence having become acquainted with the lowest circumstance in it, the mind is carried gradually and easily on till it looks down from the highest point on the whole grand creation of the Almighty God.



And so from Heav'n to deepest Hell. O falls
From what high state of bliss into what woe!

To whom our great progenitor: Thy words
Attentive, and with more delighted ear,

345 Divine Instructor, I have heard, than when Cherubic songs by night from neighb'ring hills Aëreal music send : nor knew I not To be both will and deed created free ; Yet that we never shall forget to love

550 Our Maker, and obey bim whose command Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts Assured me', and still assure: tho' what thou tell'st Hath pass'd in Heav'n, some doubt within me move, But more desire to hear, if thou consent,

555 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 Heav'n. 560

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

565 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

570 This is dispensed ; and what surmounts the reach Of human sense, I shall delineate so, By lik’ning spiritual to corp'ral forms, As may express them best : though what if Earth Be but the shadow of Heav'n, and things therein 575 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 ber centre poised; when on a day (For time, though in eternity, apply'd

580 To motion, measures all things durable

551. In allusion to the command not to eat of the tree of know. ledge.

By present, past, and future) on such day
As Heav'n's great year brings forth, th’empyreal host
Of angels by imperial sunimons call’d,
Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne 585
Forth with from all the ends of Heav'n appear'd
Under their Hierarchs in order bright :
Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced,
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 glitt'ring tissues bear emblazed
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 faming mount, whose top
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake :
Hear, all ye Angels, progeny of light,

600 Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Pow'rs, 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 605 At my right hand; your Head I him appoint; And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow A]I knees in Heav'n, and shall confess him Lord : Under his great vicegerent 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 ingulph’d, his place Ordain'd without redemption, without end. 615

So spake th' 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

583. Milton is believed to have had Plato's idea in this expres sion, the latter making the great year to be the revolution of all the spheres, See also Job i. 6. i Kings xxii. 19.

589. A gonfalon, a streamer or banner, 598. Exodus xix.

600. This, as the former speech, is mostly derived from Scripture. See Ps. ii. 6,7. Gen. xxii.' 16. Phil. ii. 10, 11.

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 Dearest, mazes intricate,
Eccentric, intervolved, yet régular
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. Ev'ning now approach'd
(For we have also' our ev'ning and our morn,
We ours for change delectable, not need)
Forth with from dance to sweet repast they turn 630
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 Heav'n. 035
On flow'rs reposed, 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’A11-bounteous King, who show'rd
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. 641
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled
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 645
In darker veil) and roseate dews disposed
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
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
Fann'd with cool winds; save those who in their course
Melodious hymns about the sov'reign throne 658

625. It was the opinion of the Pythagorean philosophers, that a most exquisite music was produced by the motion of the spheres, some allusion to it is made in Job xxxviji. 37.

633. Rubied nectar; borrowed from Horoer.

637. And with refection streel, in the first edition. 842. Ambrosial, an Homeric epithet. 847. Ps. cxxi. 4.


Alternate all night long: but not so waked
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 'gainst 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 im-

Deep malice tbence 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 670
Contemptuous, and his next subordinate
Awak’ning, thus to him in secret spake: (close

Sleep'st thou, companion dear? What sleep can Thy eye-lids ? and remember'st what decree Of yesterday, so late bath pass'd the lips 67.5 Of Heav'n's Almighty! Thou to me thy thoughts Wast 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 685
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 thé hierarchies
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.
So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infused

657. Alternate is a verb.
671. Beelzebub is here meant, who is always represented

next in rank to Satan. 689. Sannazarius, de partu Virginis, iii.

40. Isaiah xiy, 12, 13. Jer. i. 14. ví. 1.


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