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“ Tables are set, and on a sudden pil'd
“With angels' food; and rubied nectar flows

“In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
635 “ Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of heaven.

“On flowers repos'd, 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 640 “ Excess,) before the all-bounteous King, who shower'd

“ With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.

“Now when ambrosial night, with clouds exhald “From that high mount of God, whence light and shade

Spring both, the face of brightest heaven had chang’d 645 “ To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there

“ In darker veil,) and roseate dews dispos'd
“ 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,
650 “ (Such are the courts of God!) the angelic throng,

“ Dispers'd 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 655 “Fann'd with cool winds; save those, who, in their course,

“Melodious hymns about the sov'reign throne
Alternate all night long. But not so wak'd
“ Satan ; (so call him now, his former name

“ Is heard no more in heaven ;) he of the first, 660 “If not the first archangel, great in power,

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

Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
“ Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
“Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolv'd
“ With all his legions to dislodge, and leave

670 “ Unworshipp'd, unobey'd, the throne supreme

Contemptuous; and, his next subordinate
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake :
“Sleep'st thou, companion dear? What sleep can close

Thy eye-lids, and remember'st what decree 675 “Of yesterday, so late hath pass'd the lips

“Of heaven's Almighty. Thou to me thy thoughts 66. Wast wont,

mine to thee was wont, to impart; “' Both waking we were one; how then can now

Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest impos’d: 680 “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; 685 “Tell them, that by command, ere yet dim night

“Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste,
". And all who under me their banner wave,
“ Homeward, with flying march, where we possess

“The quarters of the north ; there to prepare 690 " 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 archangel, and infus'd 695 - 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 night700 "Now ere dim night had disencumber'd 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 obey'd
705 “ The wonted signal, and superior voice

“Of their great potentate ; for great indeed
“ His name, and high was his degree in heaven;

K

710

725

“ His countenance, as the morning star that guides
“ The starry flock, allur'd them, and with lies
Drew after him the third part of heaven's host!

“Meanwhile 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 715 “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 720 “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
730 “. 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,
Light'ning divine, ineffable, serene !
“Made answer:

Mighty Father! thou thy foes 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 power 740 “. Given me to quell their pride: and in event "6Know whether I be dexterous to subdue

Thy rebels, or be found the worst in heaven.'

“So spake the Son: but Satan, with his powers,

“Far was advanc'd on winged speed; an host 745 “ Innumerable as the stars of night,

735

6

"Or stars of morning-dew-drops, which the sun

Impearls on every leaf, and every flower.
"Regions they pass'd, the mighty regencies

“Of Seraphim, and Potentates, and Thrones, 750 “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 passid, 755 " 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
“Rais'd on a mount, with pyramids and towers

“From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold, 760

“ 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
765 “Messiah was declar'd in sight of heaven,

“The Mountain of the Congregation callid:
“For thither he assembled all his train,
"Pretending so commanded, to consult

“ About the great reception of their King 770 “ Thither to come; and with calumnious art

“Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears :

"Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers! ““ If these magnific titles yet remain,

"Not merely titular, since, by decree, 775 “. Another now hath to himself engross'd

All

power, and us eclips'd, 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,
780 “. With what may be devis’d of honours new,

“Receive him, coming to receive from us
“. Knee-tribute, yet unpaid-prostration vile!
“ « Too much to One! but, double, how endur'd,

790

“To One, and to his image now proclaim'd ? 785 “But what if better councils 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 possess'd 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 795 “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, 800 “And look for adoration, to the abuse

Of those imperial titles which assert
“Our being ordain'd to govern--not to serve !

“ Thus far his bold discourse without control

“Had audience; when, among the Seraphim
805 Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal ador'd

“ The Deity, and divine commands obey'd,
“Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe,
“ The current of his fury thus oppos'd :

“O argument blasphémous, false, and proud! 810 “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, pronounc'd and sworn,
“ . That to his only Son by right endued
“« With regal sceptre, every soul in heaven
“Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due
“ « Confess him rightful king? Unjust, thou say'st,

Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free, 820 “And equal over equals to let reign;

“One over all, with unsucceeded power.

815

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