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That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.
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 535 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;
540 And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen, And so 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 songs by night from noighboring hills Aerial music send: nor knew I not To be both will and deed created free; Yet that we never shall forget to love
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 Hath pass'd in Heaven some doubt within me move, But more desire to hear, if thou consent,
555 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
Thus Adam made request: and Raphael,
High matter thou enjoin'st me, O prime of men,
570 This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach Of human sense, I shall delineate so, By likening spiritual to corporeal forms, As may express them best; though what if Earth Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein 575 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 Upon her centre poised; when on a day [now 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 empyrial host Of Angels, by imperial summons callid, Innumerable before the Almighty's throne 585 Forthwith from all the ends of Heaven appear’d Under their Hierarchs in orders bright: Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced, 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 glittering tissues bear imblazed Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
600 Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, Hear my decree, which unrevoked 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 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 ingulf'd, his place Ordain'd without redemption, without end. 615
So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words All seem'd well pleased; 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 620 Of planets, and of fix’d, in all her wheels Resembles nearest, mazes intricate, Eccentric, intervolved, 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. 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 630
660 In favor, and pre-eminence, yet fraught With envy against the Son of God, that day Honor'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, 666
Sleep’st thou, companion dear? What sleep can close
675 Of Heaven's Almighty! Thou to me thy thoughts Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart: Both waking we were one; how then can now Thy sleep dissent? new laws thou seest imposed ; New laws from him who reigns new minds may raise In us who serve, new counsels to debate
681 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, erc yet dim night 685 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,
690 The great Messiah, and his new commands, Who speedily through all the hierarchies Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.
So spake the false Archangel, and infused Bad influence into the unwary breast
695 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 Heaven, 700 The great hierarchal standard was to move;