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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

525
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

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
Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of Heaven. 560

Thus Adam made request: and Raphael,
After short pause assenting, thus began;

High matter thou enjoin'st me, O prime of men,
Sad task and hard; for how shall I relate
To human sense the invisible exploits

565
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 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
Of circuit inexpressible they stood,

595
Orb within orb, the Father Infinite,
By whom in bliss imbosom'd sat the Son,
Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake:
Hear, all ye Angels, progeny of light,

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
Desirous: all in circles as they stood,
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled
With Angels' food, and rubied nectar flows
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven. 635
On flowers reposed, 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 the all bounteous King, who shower'd
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.

641
Now when ambrosial night, with clouds exhaled
From that high mount of God whence light and shade
Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed
To grateful twilight (for night comes not there 645
In darker veil,) and roseate dews disposed
All but the unsleeping 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,) the angelic throng, 650
Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend
By living streams among the trees of life,
Pavilions numberless, and sudden rear'd,
Celestial tabernacles, where they slept
Fann'd with cool winds; save those who in their course,
Melodious hymns about the sov'reign throne 656
Alternate all night long: but not so waked
Satan; so call him now, his former name
Is heard no more in Heaven; he of the first,
If not the first Archangel, great in power,

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
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworship’d, unobey'd, the throne supreme, 670
Contemptuous; and his next subordinate
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake:

Sleep’st thou, companion dear? What sleep can close
Thy eyelids? and remember'st what decree
Of yesterday, so late hath pass’d the lips

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;

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