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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 Spi'rits 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

410 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 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, unpurg'd Vapours not yet into her substance turn’d. 420 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 Heav’n 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 Cover'd with pearly grain : yet God hath here 43 Varied his bounty so with new delights, As may compare with Heaven į 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 Spi'rits with ease; nor wonder; if by fire
Of sooty coal th' empyric 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
Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups
With pleasant liquors crown's : 0 innocence
Deserving Paradise ! if ever, then,
Then had the sons of God excuse to have been
Enamour'd at that sight; but in those hearts
Love unlibidinous reign'd, nor jealousy
Was understood, the injur'd lover's Hell. 450

Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficid,
Not burden'd nature, sudden mind arose
In Adam, not to let th' occasion pass
Giv’n him by this great conference to know
Of things above his world, and of their being
Who dwell in Heav'n, whose excellence he saw:
Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms
Divine effulgence, whose high pow'r so far
Exceeded human, and his wary speech
Thus to th’ empyreal minister he fram’d.

Inhabitant with God, now know I well Thy favour, in this honour done to Man,

460

Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafd
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so,
As that more willingly thou couldst not seem
At Heav'n's high feasts to' have fed: yet what

compare?
To whom the winged Hierach reply'd.
O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom
All things proceed, and up to him return, 470
If not depriv'd 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 refin'd, more spiritous, and pure,
As nearer to him plac'd 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

480 More airy, last the bright consummate flower Spirits odorous breathes : flow’rs and their fruit, Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublim’d, To vital spi'rits 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.

420

500

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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 di'et, nor too light far ;
And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
Your bodies may at iast turn all to spirit,
Improv'd by tract of time, and wing'd ascend
Ethereal, as we, or may at choice
Here or in heav'nly 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 reply'd.
O favourable Spi'rit, propitious guest,
Well hast 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 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 plac'd us here
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss
Human desires can seek or apprehend ?

To whom the Angel. Son of Heav'n and Earth,
Attend : That thou art happy, owe to God; 520

That thou continuest such, owe to thyself,
That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.
This was that caution giv’n thee; be advis’d.
God made thee perfect, not immutable ;
And good he made thee, but to persev ke
He left it in thy pow'r ; ordain'd thy will
By nature free, not over-rul’d by fate
Inextricable, or strict necessity :
Our voluntary service he requires,
Not our necessitated ; such with him
Finds no acceptance, nor can we 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 : 540
And some are fall’n, to disobedience f...'n,
And so from Heav'n 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 instructor, I have heard, than when
Cherubic songs by night from neighb’ring hills
Aereal music send: nor knew I not
To be both will and deed created free ;
Yet that we never shall forget to love

550

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