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If these magnific titles yet remain
Not merely titular, since by decree
Another now hath to himself ingross’d
All pow'r, and us eclips'à under the name
Of King anointed, for whom all this haste
Of midnight march, and hurried meeting here,
This only to consult, how we may best
With what may be devis'd of honors new :
Receive him coming to receive from us
Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile,
Too much to one, but double how indur'd
To one and to his image now proclam’d?
But what if better counsels might erect
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke?
Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend
The supple knee ? ye will not, if I trust
To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves
Natives and sons of Heav'n possess'd before
By none, and if not equal all, yet free,
Equally free; for orders and degrees
Jar not with liberty, but well consist.
Who can in reason then or right assume .
Monarchy over such as live by right
His equals, if in pow'r and splendor less,
In freedom equal ? or can introduce
Law and ediet on us, who without law
Err not? much less for this to be our Lord,
And look for adoration to th' abuse
Of those imperial titles, which assert
Our being ordain'd to govern, not to serve.
Thus far his bold discourse without controll Had audience, when among the Seraphim Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal ador'd 803 The Deity', and divine commands obey'd, Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe The current of his fury thus oppos’d,
O argument blasphémous, false and proud! Words which no ear ever to hear in Heav'n 810 Expected, least of all from thee, Ingrate, In place thyseļf so high above thy peers. Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn The just decree of God, pronounc'd and sworn, That to his only Son by right indued With regal scepter, every soul in Heaven Shall bend the knee, and in that honor due Confess him rightful king ? Unjust, thou say'st, Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free, And equal over equals to let reign, One over all with unsucceeded power. Shalt thou give law to God, shalt thou dispute With him the points of liberty, who made Thee what thou art, and form’d the Pow'rs of Heaven Such as he pleas’d, and circumscrib'd their being ? Yet by experience taught we know how good, And of our good and of our dignity How provident he is, how far from thought To make us less, bent rather to exalt Our happy state under one head more near United. But to grant it thee unjust, That equal over equals monarch reign;
Thyself though great and glorious dost thou count,
Or all angelic nature join'd in one,
Equal to him begotten Son? by whom
As by his Word the mighty Father made
All things, ev’n thee; and all the Spi'rits of Heaven
By him created in their bright degrees,
Crown'd them with glory', and to their glory nam'd
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,
Essential Pow'rs; nor by his reign obfcur’d,
But more illustrious made; since he the head
One of our number thus reduc'd becomes;
His laws our laws; all honor to him done
Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage, 845
And tempt not these ; but hasten to appease
Th' incensed Father, and th' incensed Son,
While pardon may be found in time befought.
So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal None seconded, as out of season judg’d, Or singular and rash, whereat rejoic'd Th’ Apoftate, and more haughty thus reply'd. That we were form’d then, fay'st thou ? and the work Of secondary hands, by talk transferr'd From Father to his Son! strange point and new! 855 Doctrin which we would know whence learn'd: who faw When this creation was ? remember'st thou Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being ? We know no time when we were not as now; Know none before us, self-begot, felf-rais'd 860 By our own quick’ning pow'r, when fatal course : Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native Heav'n, ethereal fons.
Our puissance is our own ; our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try 865 I
Who is our equal: then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begirt th'almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings carry to th' anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.
He said, and as the sound of waters deep
Hoarse murmur echo'd to his words applause
Through the infinite host; nor less for that
The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone 875
Incompass’d round with foes, thus answer'd bold.
O alienate from God, O Spi'rit accurs’d,
Forsaken of all good; I see thy fall
Determin’d, and thy hapless crew involv'd
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread 880
Both of thy crime and punishment: henceforth
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
Of God's Meffiah ; those indulgent laws
Will not be now vouchsafd; other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recall;
That golden scepter, which thou didît rejcet,
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise,
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly
These wicked tents devoted, left the wrath
Impendent, raging into sudden flame
Distinguish not: for foon expect to feel
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
Then who created thee lamenting learn,
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know. 895
So spake the Seraph Abdiel faithful found
Among the faithless, faithful only he;
Among innumerable false, unmov'd,
Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterrify'd,
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;
Nor number, nor example with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind
Though single. From amidst them forth he pass’d,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sultain'd
Superior, nor of violence fear'd ought;
905 And with retorted scorn his back he turn’d On those proud tow'rs to swift destruction doom'd.
THE END OF THE FIFTH BOOK.