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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


Hath pass'd in heaven, some doubt within me
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 Raphaël,
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 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

now 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
Of angels by imperial summons call'd,

[host 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 imbosom'd sat the Son,
Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake :

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Hear, all ye Angels! progeny of light!

Thrones! Dominations! Princedoms! Virtues !


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 Lord.
Under his great vice-gerent 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
That day, as other solemn days, they spent [all.
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 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 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

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 show-
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.

[er'd Now when ambrosial night, with clouds exhaled

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From that high mount of God whence light and

shade [changed Spring both, the face of brightest heaven had 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


Fanned with cool winds: save those, who, in their
Melodious hymns about the sovran 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 arch-angel, great in power,
In favor and pre-eminence, yet fraught
With envy' against the Son of God, that day
Honor'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 mid night 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: [close
'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 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
In us who serve, new counsels, to debate [raise
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 arch-angel, 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 disincumber'd heaven,
The great hierarchial 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 countenance, as the morning-star that guides

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