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    Chapter 5

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    Chapter 5
    Previous Chapter
    Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime
    Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,
    When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep
    Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
    And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound
    Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
    Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song
    Of birds on every bough; so much the more
    His wonder was to find unwakened Eve
    With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
    As through unquiet rest: He, on his side
    Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love
    Hung over her enamoured, and beheld
    Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
    Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
    Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
    Her hand soft touching, whispered thus. Awake,
    My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
    Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight!
    Awake: The morning shines, and the fresh field
    Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
    Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
    What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
    How nature paints her colours, how the bee
    Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
    Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye
    On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake.
    O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
    My glory, my perfection! glad I see
    Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night
    (Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed,
    If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee,
    Works of day past, or morrow's next design,
    But of offence and trouble, which my mind
    Knew never till this irksome night: Methought,
    Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk
    With gentle voice; I thought it thine: It said,
    'Why sleepest thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time,
    'The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
    'To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
    'Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns
    'Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light
    'Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
    'If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes,
    'Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire?
    'In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
    'Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.'
    I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
    To find thee I directed then my walk;
    And on, methought, alone I passed through ways
    That brought me on a sudden to the tree
    Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed,
    Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
    And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood
    One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven
    By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled
    Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed;
    And 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged,
    'Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,
    'Nor God, nor Man? Is knowledge so despised?
    'Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
    'Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
    'Longer thy offered good; why else set here?
    This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm
    He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilled
    At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold:
    But he thus, overjoyed; 'O fruit divine,
    'Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
    'Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
    'For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:
    'And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more
    'Communicated, more abundant grows,
    'The author not impaired, but honoured more?
    'Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve!
    'Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
    'Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be:
    'Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods
    'Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined,
    'But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
    'Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see
    'What life the Gods live there, and such live thou!'
    So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
    Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
    Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell
    So quickened appetite, that I, methought,
    Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
    With him I flew, and underneath beheld
    The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide
    And various: Wondering at my flight and change
    To this high exaltation; suddenly
    My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
    And fell asleep; but O, how glad I waked
    To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
    Related, and thus Adam answered sad.
    Best image of myself, and dearer half,
    The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
    Affects me equally; nor can I like
    This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear;
    Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
    Created pure. But know that in the soul
    Are many lesser faculties, that serve
    Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
    Her office holds; of all external things
    Which the five watchful senses represent,
    She forms imaginations, aery shapes,
    Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames
    All what we affirm or what deny, and call
    Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
    Into her private cell, when nature rests.
    Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes
    To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,
    Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;
    Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
    Some such resemblances, methinks, I find
    Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream,
    But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
    Evil into the mind of God or Man
    May come and go, so unreproved, and leave
    No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope
    That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
    Waking thou never will consent to do.
    Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks,
    That wont to be more cheerful and serene,
    Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
    And let us to our fresh employments rise
    Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers
    That open now their choisest bosomed smells,
    Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.
    So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered;
    But silently a gentle tear let fall
    From either eye, and wiped them with her hair;
    Two other precious drops that ready stood,
    Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
    Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
    And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
    So all was cleared, and to the field they haste.
    But first, from under shady arborous roof
    Soon as they forth were come to open sight
    Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen,
    With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim,
    Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
    Discovering in wide landskip all the east
    Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains,
    Lowly they bowed adoring, and began
    Their orisons, each morning duly paid
    In various style; for neither various style
    Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
    Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung
    Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
    Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,
    More tuneable than needed lute or harp
    To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
    These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
    Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
    Thus wonderous fair; Thyself how wonderous then!
    Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavens
    To us invisible, or dimly seen
    In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
    Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
    Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
    Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
    And choral symphonies, day without night,
    Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven
    On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol
    Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
    Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
    If better thou belong not to the dawn,
    Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling morn
    With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
    While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
    Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
    Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
    In thy eternal course, both when thou climbest,
    And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest.
    Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest,
    With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
    And ye five other wandering Fires, that move
    In mystick dance not without song, resound
    His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
    Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth
    Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
    Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
    And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
    Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
    Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise
    From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
    Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
    In honour to the world's great Author rise;
    Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
    Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
    Rising or falling still advance his praise.
    His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow,
    Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines,
    With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
    Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
    Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
    Join voices, all ye living Souls: Ye Birds,
    That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
    Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
    Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
    The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
    Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
    To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
    Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
    Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still
    To give us only good; and if the night
    Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
    Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!
    So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
    Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.
    On to their morning's rural work they haste,
    Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row
    Of fruit-trees over-woody reached too far
    Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check
    Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine
    To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines
    Her marriageable arms, and with him brings
    Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
    His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld
    With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called
    Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned
    To travel with Tobias, and secured
    His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.
    Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth
    Satan, from Hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf,
    Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed
    This night the human pair; how he designs
    In them at once to ruin all mankind.
    Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
    Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
    Thou findest him from the heat of noon retired,
    To respite his day-labour with repast,
    Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
    As may advise him of his happy state,
    Happiness in his power left free to will,
    Left to his own free will, his will though free,
    Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
    He swerve not, too secure: Tell him withal
    His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
    Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now
    The fall of others from like state of bliss;
    By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
    But by deceit and lies: This let him know,
    Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
    Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.
    So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled
    All justice: Nor delayed the winged Saint
    After his charge received; but from among
    Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood
    Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,
    Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires,
    On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
    Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate
    Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide
    On golden hinges turning, as by work
    Divine the sovran Architect had framed.
    From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
    Star interposed, however small he sees,
    Not unconformed to other shining globes,
    Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crowned
    Above all hills. As when by night the glass
    Of Galileo, less assured, observes
    Imagined lands and regions in the moon:
    Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
    Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
    A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
    He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
    Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
    Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
    Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar
    Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
    A phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird,
    When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun's
    Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
    At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
    He lights, and to his proper shape returns
    A Seraph winged: Six wings he wore, to shade
    His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
    Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
    With regal ornament; the middle pair
    Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
    Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
    And colours dipt in Heaven; the third his feet
    Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail,
    Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood,
    And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled
    The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
    Of Angels under watch; and to his state,
    And to his message high, in honour rise;
    For on some message high they guessed him bound.
    Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come
    Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
    And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm;
    A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
    Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will
    Her virgin fancies pouring forth more sweet,
    Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
    Him through the spicy forest onward come
    Adam discerned, as in the door he sat
    Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
    Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
    Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs:
    And Eve within, due at her hour prepared
    For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
    True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
    Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
    Berry or grape: To whom thus Adam called.
    Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold
    Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape
    Comes this way moving; seems another morn
    Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven
    To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
    This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
    And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour
    Abundance, fit to honour and receive
    Our heavenly stranger: Well we may afford
    Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
    From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies
    Her fertile growth, and by disburthening grows
    More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
    To whom thus Eve. Adam, earth's hallowed mould,
    Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store,
    All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
    Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
    To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
    But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
    Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choice
    To entertain our Angel-guest, as he
    Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth
    God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.
    So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
    She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
    What choice to choose for delicacy best,
    What order, so contrived as not to mix
    Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring
    Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
    Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
    Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields
    In India East or West, or middle shore
    In Pontus or the Punick coast, or where
    Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat
    Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
    She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
    Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
    She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths
    From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed
    She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold
    Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground
    With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.
    Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet
    His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train
    Accompanied than with his own complete
    Perfections; in himself was all his state,
    More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
    On princes, when their rich retinue long
    Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold,
    Dazzles the croud, and sets them all agape.
    Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed,
    Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,
    As to a superiour nature bowing low,
    Thus said. Native of Heaven, for other place
    None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain;
    Since, by descending from the thrones above,
    Those happy places thou hast deigned a while
    To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us
    Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess
    This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
    To rest; and what the garden choicest bears
    To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
    Be over, and the sun more cool decline.
    Whom thus the angelick Virtue answered mild.
    Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such
    Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
    As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven,
    To visit thee; lead on then where thy bower
    O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,
    I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge
    They came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled,
    With flowerets decked, and fragrant smells; but Eve,
    Undecked save with herself, more lovely fair
    Than Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feigned
    Of three that in mount Ida naked strove,
    Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil
    She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm
    Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel Hail
    Bestowed, the holy salutation used
    Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.
    Hail, Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb
    Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons,
    Than with these various fruits the trees of God
    Have heaped this table!--Raised of grassy turf
    Their table was, and mossy seats had round,
    And on her ample square from side to side
    All autumn piled, though spring and autumn here
    Danced hand in hand. A while discourse they hold;
    No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began
    Our author. Heavenly stranger, please to taste
    These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom
    All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends,
    To us for food and for delight hath caused
    The earth to yield; unsavoury food perhaps
    To spiritual natures; only this I know,
    That one celestial Father gives to all.
    To whom the Angel. Therefore what he gives
    (Whose praise be ever sung) to Man in part
    Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found
    No ingrateful food: And food alike those pure
    Intelligential substances require,
    As doth your rational; and both contain
    Within them every lower faculty
    Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,
    Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,
    And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
    For know, whatever was created, needs
    To be sustained and fed: Of elements
    The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,
    Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires
    Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon;
    Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurged
    Vapours not yet into her substance turned.
    Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
    From her moist continent to higher orbs.
    The sun that light imparts to all, receives
    From all his alimental recompence
    In humid exhalations, and at even
    Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees
    Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines
    Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn
    We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
    Covered with pearly grain: Yet God hath here
    Varied his bounty so with new delights,
    As may compare with Heaven; and to taste
    Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
    And to their viands fell; nor seemingly
    The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss
    Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch
    Of real hunger, and concoctive heat
    To transubstantiate: What redounds, transpires
    Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder;if by fire
    Of sooty coal the empirick alchemist
    Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
    Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold,
    As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve
    Ministered naked, and their flowing cups
    With pleasant liquours crowned: O innocence
    Deserving Paradise! if ever, then,
    Then had the sons of God excuse to have been
    Enamoured at that sight; but in those hearts
    Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy
    Was understood, the injured lover's hell.
    Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed,
    Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose
    In Adam, not to let the occasion pass
    Given him by this great conference to know
    Of things above his world, and of their being
    Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw
    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 favour, in this honour 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 compare
    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 spiritous, 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
    Is 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 corporal 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;
    If ye be found obedient, and retain
    Unalterably firm his love entire,
    Whose progeny you are. Mean while 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 center to circumference; whereon,
    In contemplation of created things,
    By steps we may ascend to God. But say,
    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:
    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 angelick 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; O fall
    From what high state of bliss, into what woe!
    To whom our great progenitor. Thy words
    Attentive, and with more delighted ear,
    Divine instructer, I have heard, than when
    Cherubick songs by night from neighbouring hills
    Aereal musick 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 tellest
    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, 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 a 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, 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 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 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 imbosomed sat the Son,
    Amidst as from a flaming 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 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 ingulfed, his place
    Ordained without redemption, without end.
    So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words
    All seemed well pleased; all seemed, 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 fixed, in all her wheels
    Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,
    Eccentrick, 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 approached,
    (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 crowned,
    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 showered
    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 roseat 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 angelick throng,
    Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend
    By living streams among the trees of life,
    Pavilions numberless, and sudden reared,
    Celestial tabernacles, where they slept
    Fanned with cool winds; save those, who, in their course,
    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 favour and pre-eminence, yet fraught
    With envy against the Son of God, that day
    Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed
    Messiah King anointed, could not bear
    Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired.
    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
    Unworshipt, unobeyed, the throne supreme,
    Contemptuous; and his next subordinate
    Awakening, thus to him in secret spake.
    Sleepest thou, Companion dear? What sleep can close
    Thy eye-lids? and rememberest what decree
    Of yesterday, so late hath passed 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 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 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 disincumbered 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 all obeyed
    The wonted signal, and superiour 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
    The starry flock, allured them, and with lies
    Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host.
    Mean while the 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,
    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,
    Lightning divine, ineffable, serene,
    Made answer. Mighty Father, thou thy foes
    Justly hast in derision, and, secure,
    Laughest 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; an 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 passed, 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
    Stretched into longitude; which having passed,
    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
    Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers
    From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold;
    The palace of great Lucifer, (so call
    That structure in the dialect of men
    Interpreted,) which not long after, he
    Affecting all equality with God,
    In imitation of that mount whereon
    Messiah was declared in sight of Heaven,
    The Mountain of the Congregation called;
    For thither he assembled all his train,
    Pretending so commanded to consult
    About the great reception of their King,
    Thither to come, and with calumnious art
    Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears.
    Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;
    If these magnifick titles yet remain
    Not merely titular, since by decree
    Another now hath to himself engrossed
    All power, and us eclipsed under the name
    Of King anointed, for whom all this haste
    Of midnight-march, and hurried meeting here,
    This only to consult how we may best,
    With what may be devised of honours new,
    Receive him coming to receive from us
    Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile!
    Too much to one! but double how endured,
    To one, and to his image now proclaimed?
    But what if better counsels might erect
    Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke?
    Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend
    The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust
    To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves
    Natives and sons of Heaven possessed before
    By none; and if not equal all, yet free,
    Equally free; for orders and degrees
    Jar not with liberty, but well consist.
    Who can in reason then, or right, assume
    Monarchy over such as live by right
    His equals, if in power and splendour less,
    In freedom equal? or can introduce
    Law and edict on us, who without law
    Err not? much less for this to be our Lord,
    And look for adoration, to the abuse
    Of those imperial titles, which assert
    Our being ordained to govern, not to serve.
    Thus far his bold discourse without controul
    Had audience; when among the Seraphim
    Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored
    The Deity, and divine commands obeyed,
    Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe
    The current of his fury thus opposed.
    O argument blasphemous, false, and proud!
    Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven
    Expected, least of all from thee, Ingrate,
    In place thyself so high above thy peers.
    Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn
    The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn,
    That to his only Son, by right endued
    With regal scepter, every soul in Heaven
    Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due
    Confess him rightful King? unjust, thou sayest,
    Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free,
    And equal over equals to let reign,
    One over all with unsucceeded power.
    Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute
    With him the points of liberty, who made
    Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven
    Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being?
    Yet, by experience taught, we know how good,
    And of our good and of our dignity
    How provident he is; how far from thought
    To make us less, bent rather to exalt
    Our happy state, under one head more near
    United. But to grant it thee unjust,
    That equal over equals monarch reign:
    Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count,
    Or all angelick nature joined in one,
    Equal to him begotten Son? by whom,
    As by his Word, the Mighty Father made
    All things, even thee; and all the Spirits of Heaven
    By him created in their bright degrees,
    Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named
    Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,
    Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured,
    But more illustrious made; since he the head
    One of our number thus reduced becomes;
    His laws our laws; all honour to him done
    Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage,
    And tempt not these; but hasten to appease
    The incensed Father, and the incensed Son,
    While pardon may be found in time besought.
    So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal
    None seconded, as out of season judged,
    Or singular and rash: Whereat rejoiced
    The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied.
    That we were formed then sayest thou? and the work
    Of secondary hands, by task transferred
    From Father to his Son? strange point and new!
    Doctrine which we would know whence learned: who saw
    When this creation was? rememberest thou
    Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being?
    We know no time when we were not as now;
    Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised
    By our own quickening power, when fatal course
    Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
    Of this our native Heaven, ethereal sons.
    Our puissance is our own; our own right hand
    Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
    Who is our equal: Then thou shalt behold
    Whether by supplication we intend
    Address, and to begirt the almighty throne
    Beseeching or besieging. This report,
    These tidings carry to the anointed King;
    And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.
    He said; and, as the sound of waters deep,
    Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause
    Through the infinite host; nor less for that
    The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone
    Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold.
    O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed,
    Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall
    Determined, and thy hapless crew involved
    In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread
    Both of thy crime and punishment: Henceforth
    No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
    Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws
    Will not be now vouchsafed; other decrees
    Against thee are gone forth without recall;
    That golden scepter, which thou didst reject,
    Is now an iron rod to bruise and break
    Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise;
    Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly
    These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath
    Impendent, raging into sudden flame,
    Distinguish not: For soon expect to feel
    His thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
    Then who created thee lamenting learn,
    When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.
    So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found
    Among the faithless, faithful only he;
    Among innumerable false, unmoved,
    Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
    His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;
    Nor number, nor example, with him wrought
    To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
    Though single. From amidst them forth he passed,
    Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained
    Superiour, nor of violence feared aught;
    And, with retorted scorn, his back he turned
    On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed.
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