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Transcend his own so far; whose radiant forms,
Divine effulgence, whose high power, so far
Exceeded human: and his wary speech
Thus to the empyreal minister he framed:

Inhabitant with God, now know I well
Thy favor, in this honor done to man;
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so,
As that more willingly thou couldst not seem
At Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what comparel

To whom the winged Hierarch replied: O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to Him return, If not depraved from good, created all Such to perfection, one first matter all, Endued with various forms, various degrees Of substance, and, in things that live, of life; But more refined, more spirituous, and pure, As nearer to Him placed, or nearer tending Each in their several active spheres assigned, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds Proportioned to each kind. So from the root Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves More aery, last the bright consummate flower Spirits odorous breathes : flowers and their fruit, Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, To vital spirits aspire, to animal, To intellectual; give both life and sense, Fancy and understanding; whence the soul Reason receives, and reason is her being, Discursive, or intuitive; discourse If oftest yours, the latter most is ours, Differing but in degree, of kind the same. Wonder not, then, what God for you saw good If I refuse not, but convert, as you,

To proper substance. Time may come when men
With angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare;
And from these corporeal nutriments, perhaps,
Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
Improved by tract of time, and winged, ascend
Ethereal, as we; or may, at choice,
Here or in heavenly paradises dwell;

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: Oh, favorable spirit, propitious guest, Well hast thou taught the way that might direct Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set From center to circumference; whereon, In contemplation of created things By steps we may ascend to Coc. What meant that caution joined If ye be found Obedient? Can we want obedience then To Him, or possibly His love desert, Who formed 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; ordained thy will By nature free, not over-ruled by fate Inextricable, or strict necessity.

But say,


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 — oh, 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 neighboring hills
Aërial music send: nor knew I not
To be both will and deed created free.
Yet that we shall never 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 passed 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 finished 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, oh, prime of men, Sad task and hard: for how shall I relate

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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
Reigned where these heavens now roll, where earth now rests
Upon her center poised; when on a day -
For time, though in eternity, applied
To motion, measure 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 called,
Innumerable before the Almighty's throne
Forthwith, from all the ends of Heaven, appeared
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 Degrces;
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 without orb, the Father infinite,
By whom in bliss embosomed sat the Son,
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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