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485

490

saw good

Proportion'd to each kind. So from the root
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves
More airy, last the bright consummate flower 481
Spirits odorous breathes : flowers, and their fruit,
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublim'd,
To vital spirits afpire, to-animal,
To intellectual ; give both life and sense,
Fancy and understanding; whence the foul
Reason receives, and reason is her being,
Discursive, or intuitive : discourse
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,
Diff'ring but in degree, of kind the fame.
Wonder not then, what God for you
If I refuse not, but convert, as you,
To proper substance. Time may come, when men
With angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient di'et, nor too light fare ; 495
And froin these corporal nutriments perhaps
Your bodies may at last turn all to fpirit,
Improv'd by tract of time, and wing'd ascend
Ethereal, as we, or may at choice
Here or in heav'nly Paradifes dwell;

500
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.

505
To whom the patriarch of mankind reply'd
O favourable spi'rit, propitious guest,
Well halt thou taught the way that might direct
Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set
From centre to circumference, whereon,

510 In contemplation of created things, By steps we may afcend to God. But fay, What meant that caution join'd, If ye be found

S

Obedient? Can we want obedience then
To him, or poflibly his love defert,

515
Who form'd us from the duft, and plac'd us here
Full to the utmost measure of what blifs
Human defires can feek or apprehend ?

To whom the angel. Son of heaven and earth, Attend. That thou art happy, owe to God; 520 That thou continu'est such, owe to thyfelf, That is, to thy obedience; therein to stand. This was that caution giv'n thee; be advis'd. God made thee perfe&t, not immutable; And good lie made thee, but to perfevere 525 He left it in thy power ; ordain'd thy will By nature free, not overruld by fate Inextricable, or strict neceflity : Our voluntary service he requires, Not our necellitated; such with him

530 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 chuse ? Myfelf, and all th' angelic hoft, that stand

533 in fight of God enthron'd, our happy ftate Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds ; On other furety none : freely we serve, Because we freely love, as in our will To love or not; in this we stand or fall :

540 And some are fall'n, to disobedience fall'n, And some 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,

545 Divine instructor, I have heard, than when Cherubic fongs by night from neighb'ring hills Aereal music send : nor knew I not

Tor: will and deed created free;
Yet we never shall forget to love

550
Our ) aker, and obey him whose command
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts
Affur'd me', and still affure: though what thou tell'st
Hath pass’d in heaven, fome doubt within me move,
But more desire to hear, if thou consent,

555 The full relation ; which mult 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 heaven.

560 Thus Adam made request; and Raphaël, After short pause affenting, thus began.

High matter thnu injoin'st me', O prime of men,
Sad task, and hard : for how fhill I relate
To human fenfe th' invisible exploits

565
Of warring spirits ? how without remorse
The ruin of so many glorious once
And perfect while they stood ? how laft unfold
The secrets of another world, perhaps
Not lawful to reveal ? Yet for thy good

570 This is difpens'd; and what furmounts the reach Of human fenfe, I shall delineat fo, By likening spiritual to corporal forms, As may express them best ; though what if earth Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein 575 Each to other tikt, more than on earth is thought ?

As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild Reign'd where these heavens now roil, where earth now Upon her centre pois'&; when on a day (For time, though in eternity, applyd

580 To motion, measures all things durable Ry present, past and future.) on such day * As heaven's great year brings forth, th' empyreal hof

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Of angels, by imperial summons call'a,
Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne 585
Forthwith from all the end: of heaven appear'd
Under their hierarchs in orders bright :
Ten thousand thousand enfigns high advanc'd,
Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve 590
Of hierarchies, of orders and degrees;
Or in their glitt'ring tissues bear imblaz'd
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
-Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
Of circuit inexpressible they stood,

595
Orb within orb, the Father infinite,
By whom in bliss imbosom'd fat the Son,
Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top-
Brightness had made invisible, thus fpake.
Hear all ye angels, progeny of light,

600 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 605 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 himn Lord : Under his great vicegerent reign abide United as one individual foul,

610 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. 615

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 folemn days, they spent.

In fong and dance about the sacred hill ;
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere

620
Of planets, and of fix'd, in all her wheels
Resembles nearelt, mazes intricate,
Eccentric, intervolv'd, yet regular
Then most, when most irregular they seem;
And in their motions harmony divine

625 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 630 Defirous; all in circles as they stood, Tables are fet, and on a sudden pild With angels food, and rubied nectar flows In pearl, in diamond, and maffy gold ; Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of heaven. 635 On flowers repos’d, and with fresh flowerets 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' atl-bounteous King, who shower'd With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. 641 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 To grateful twilight; (for night comes not there 645 In darker veil), and roseate dews dispos'd All but th' unfieeping 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, 650 Dispers'd 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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