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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

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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 her centre poised; when on a day (For time, though in eternity, apply'd

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To motion, measures all things durable

By present, past, and future) on such day

As Heav'n's great year brings forth, th' empyreal host

Of angels by imperial summons call'd,

Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne

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Forthwith 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
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,

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Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top

Brightness had made invisible, thus spake:

Hear, all ye Angels, progeny of light,

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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

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At my right hand; your Head I him appoint;

And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow

All knees in Heav'n, 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 ingulph'd, his place
Ordain'd without redemption, without end.

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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

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

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Then most, when most irregular they seem;

And in their motions harmony divine

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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)

Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn
Desirous; all in circles as they stood,
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled

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With angels' food, and rubied nectar flows

In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,

Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heav'n.

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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' All-bounteous King, who show'r'd
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled

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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 disposed

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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,
Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend
By living streams among the trees of life,
Pavilions numberless, and sudden rear'd,

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Celestial tabernacles, where they slept

Fann'd with cool winds; save those who in their course

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Melodious hymns about the sov’reign throne

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

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Through pride that sight, and thought himself impair'd. 665
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

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Contemptuous, and his next subordinate

Awak'ning, thus to him in secret spake:

Sleep'st thou, companion dear? What sleep can close

Thy eye-lids? and remember'st what decree

Of yesterday, so late hath pass'd the lips

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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

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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.

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So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infused

Bad influence into th' unwary breast

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Of his associate: he together calls,

Or sev'ral one by one, the regent pow'rs,

Under him regent: tells, as he was taught,

That the Most High commanding, now ere night,

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Now ere dim night had disencumber'd Heav'n,
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 Heav'n!
His count'nance, as the morning star that guides
The starry flock, allured them, and with lies
Drew after him the third part of Heav'n's host.
Mean while 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,

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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 pow'r 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

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This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.

To whom the Son, with calm aspéct and clear,

Lightning divine, ineffable, serene,

Made answer: Mighty Father, thou thy foes

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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 pow'r
Giv'n me to quell their pride, and in event
Know whether I be dextrous to subdue
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heav'n.
So spake the Son; but Satan with his pow'rs
Far was advanced on winged speed, an host
Innumerable as the stars of night,

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Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the Sun

Impearls on ev'ry leaf and ev'ry flow'r.

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 earth,
And all the sea, from one entire globose
Stretch'd into longitude; which having pass'd,
At length into the limits of the north
They came, and Satan to his royal seat

High on a hill, far blazing, as a mount

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