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Our voluntary service he requires,
Not our necessitated ; such with him
Finds no acceptance, nor can find ; for how
Can hearts, not free, be try'd whether they serve
Willing or no, who will but what they must
By destiny, and can no other choose ?
Myself and all th' angelic host, that stand
In sight of God enthron’d, 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 fall'n, to disobedience fall'n,
And so from heav'n to deepest hell: 0 fall
From what high state of bliss into what wo!

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 neighb’ring hill
Aereal music send; nor know 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
Assur'd me, and still assure : though what thou tellist
Hath pass'd in heav'n, 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 finish'd half his journey, and scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of heav'n.

Thus Adam made request; and Raphael 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 th' 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 dispens’d : and what surmounts the reach
Of human sense, I shall delineate so,
By liliening spiritual to corporeal forms,
As may express them best; though what if earth
Be but the shadow of heav'n, 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 heav'ns, now roll, where earth

now rests Upon her centre pois'd; when on a day . (For time, though in eternity, apply'd 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 callid Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne Forthwith from all the ends of heav'n appear'd Under their hierarchies in orders bright: Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanc'd, 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 emblaz'd Haly 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 :

Hear all ye angels, progeny of light, Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers, Hear my decree, which unrevok'd 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 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 ingulf'd, his place
Ordain'd without redemption, without end.

So spake th' Omnipotent, and with his words
All seem'd well pleas'd : 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, intervolv'd, 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 pild
With angels' food, and rubied nectar flows
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of heav'n.
On flow'rs 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
Excess, before th' all-bounteous King, who show'r'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 heav'n had chang'd
The grateful twilight (for night comes not there
In darker veil,) and roseate dews dispos'd
All but th’ unsleeping eyes of God to rest;
Wide over the plain, and wider far
Than all this globous earth in plain outspread
(Such are the courts of God,) th' 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
Fann'd with cool winds; save those who in their course
Melodious hymn 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 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 against the Son of God, that day
Honour'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 midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolv'd
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworship'd unobey'd the throne supreme
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 rememb’rest 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 t' impart :
Both waking we were one; how then can now
Thy sleep dissent ? New laws thou seest impos'd;
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 infus'd
Bad influence into th' 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 disencumber'd heav'n,
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 heav'n ;
His countnance, as the morning star that guides
The starry flock, allur'd them, and with lies
Drew after him the third part of heav'n's host.
Meanwhile 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,
Nearly it now concerns us to be sure
Of our omnipotence, and with what arms

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