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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 deign'd a while
To want, and honor these, vouchsafe with us
Two only, who yet by sov'reign 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 Angelic virtue answer'd mild:
Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such
Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
Asmay not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven,
To visit thee ; lead on then where thy bower
O'ershades; for these midhours, till evening rise,
I have at will.” So to the silvan lodge
They came, that like Pomona's arbor smiled,
With flowerets deck’d, and fragrant smells ; but Eve,
Undeck'd save with herself, more lovely fair
Than Wood-nymyh, or the fairest Goddess feign'd
Of three that in mount Ida naked strove,
Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven ; no veil
She needed, virtue-proof; no thought inferm
Alter'd her cheek. On whom the Angel Hail
Bestow'd the holy salution used
Long after to bless'd 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 heap'd 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

M

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; unsavory food perhaps
To Spiritual nature; 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, assimulate,
And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
For know, whatever was created needs
To be sustain'd 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
Vapors not yet into her substance turn'd.
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 recompense
In humid exhalations, and at even
Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees
Of life ambrosian fruitage bear, and vines
Yield nectar ; though from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
Cover'd 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 eir viands fell; nor seemingly

The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss
Of theologians; but with keen despatch
Of real hunger, and concoctive heat
To transubstantiate : what redounds transpires
Though spirits with ease: nor wonder; if by fire
Of sooty coal the empiric alchemist
Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold,
As from the mine. Meanwhile at table Eve
Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups
With pleasant liquors crown'd: 0 innocence
Deserving Paradise! If ever, then,
Then had the sons of God excuse to have been
Enamor'd at that sight; but in those hearts
Love unlibidinous reign'd, nor jealousy
Was understood, the injured lover's hell.
Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed
Not burden'd 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
Trsnscend 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 coulust not seem
At Heaven's high feasts to have fed; yet what compare?

To whom the winged Herarch 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 assign'd,
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
Proportion’d to each kind. So from the root
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves
More aery, last the bright consummate flower
Spirit odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit,
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed,
To vital spirts 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;
Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
Improved by tract of time, and, wing'd, ascend
Ethereal, as we; or may, at choice,
Here in Heavenly Paradises dwell;
If 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:
O favorable spirit, propitious guest,
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct
Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set

From centre to circumference; where on,
In contemplation of created things,
By steps we may ascend to God. But say,
What meant that caution join'd, If ye be found
Obedient ? Can we want obedience then
To him, or possibly his love desert,
Who form'd 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; ordain'd thy will
By nature free, not overruled 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 angelic host, that stand
In sight of God enthroned, our happy state
Hold, as you yours, while our obedeance 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; 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

M *

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