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With pleasant liquors crowned. 0 innocence
“Inhabitant with God, now know I well Thy favour, in this honour done to Man; Under whose lowly roof thou hast voutsafed To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, Food not of Angels, yet accepted so As that more willingly thou couldst not seem At Heaven's high feasts to have fed : yet what comTo whom the winged Hierarch replied :
[pare ?" 'O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to him return
470 If not depraved from good, created all Such to perfection ; one first matter all, Endued with various forms, vario’s degrees Of substance, and, in things that live, of life ; But more refined, more spiritous and pure, As nearer to him placed or nearer tending Each in their several active spheres assigned, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds Proportioned to each kind. So from the root Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leav
More aery, last the bright consummate flower 481
500 If ye be found obedient, and retain Unalterably firm his love entire Whose progeny you are.
To whom the Patriarch of Mankind replied :-
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss
To whom the Angel :—“Son of Heaven and Earth,
530 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 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.
To whom our great Progenitor :-“Thy words
550 Our Maker, and obey him whose command Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts
Assured me, and still assure; though what thou tellist
Thus Adam made request; and Raphael,
“High matter thou enjoin’st me, O prime of MenSad task and hard ; for how shall I relate To human sense the 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
570 This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach Of human sense I shall delineate so, By likening spiritual to corporal forms, As may express them best—though what Earth Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein Each to other like more than on Earth is thought ?
“ As yet this World was not, and Chaos wild Reigned where these heavens now roll, where Earth now Upon her centre poised, when on a day [rests (For Time, though in Eternity, applied
580 To motion, measures all things durable By present, past, and future), on such day As Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host Of Angels, by imperial summons called, Innumerable before the Almighty's throne Forthwith from all the ends of Heaven appeared Under their hierarchs in orders bright. Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced
Standards and gonfalons, 'twixt van and rear
“ Hear, all ye Angels, Progeny of Light, 600
Your head I him appoint, And by myself have sworn to him shall bow All knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord. Under his great vicegerent reign abide, United as one individual soul,
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 engulfed, his place Ordained without redemption, without end.'
“So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words All seemed well pleased ; all seemed, but were not all. That day, as other solemn days, they spent In song and dance, about the sacred hillMystical dance, which yonder starry sphere 620 Of planets and of fixed in all her wheels Resembles nearest ; mazes intricate, Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular Then most when most irregular they seem ;