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Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts

Hath pass'd in Heaven some doubt within me move,
But more desire to hear, if thou consent,

560 The full relation, which must needs be strange, Worthy of sacred silence to be heard ;

Hath finish'd half his journey, and scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of Heaven. 565

Thus Adam made request : and Raphaël,
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
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

575
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 580
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought ?

As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild Reign'd where these Heavens now roll, where Earth Upon her centre poised; when on a day [now rests (For time, though in eternity, applied

585 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 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

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Stream in the air, and for distinction serve 505
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,
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, i 605
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 610
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,
For ever happy : him who disobeys,

Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day, Co Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls of Into utter darkness, deep ingulf'd, his place

Ordain'd without redemption, without end. 620 Pe So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words eius modi 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 vial how Of planets, and of fix’d, in all her wheels

Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,

5W Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular Lind Then most, when most irregular they seem; And in their motions harmony divine

630 So smooths her charming tones, that Gods own ear Listens delighted. Evening now approach'd

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(For we have also our evening and our morn,
We ours for change delectable, not need ;)
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn 635
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. 640
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. 646
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 650
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, 655
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 661
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,
In favour, and preeminence, yet fraught
With envy against the Son of God, that day
Honour'd by his great Father, and proclaim'd
Messiah King anointed, could not bear
Through pride that sight, and thought himself impair u.

Tell

And

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Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain, 671
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, 675
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 680
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

686 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, ere yet dim night 690 Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to hastc, And all who under me their banners wave, Homeward, with flying march, where we possess The quarters of the north; there to prepare

695 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 infuence into the unwary breast 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 lad disencumber'd Heaven, 705 The great hierarchal standard was to move ; Tells the suggested cause, and cast between

700

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Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound
Or taint integrity : but all obey'd
The wonted signal, and superior voice
Of their great Potentate; for great indeed
His name, and high'was his degree in Heaven;
His countenance, as the morning star that guides
The starry flock, allured them, and with lies
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's bost. 715
Meanwhile the Eternal eye, whose sight discerns
Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount,
And from within the golden lamps that burn
Nightly before him, saw without their light
Rebellion rising ; saw in whom, how spread. 720
Among the sons of morn, what multitudes
Were banded to oppose his high decree ;
And, smiling, to his only Son thus said :

Son, thou in whom my glory I behold
In full resplendence, Heir of all my might,
Nearly it now concerns us to be sure
Of our Omnipotence, and with what arms
We mean to hold what anciently we claim
Of deity or empire : such a foe
Is rising, who intends to erect his throne
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north ;
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try,
In battle, what our power is, or our right.
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw
With speed what force is left, and all employ 735
In our defence ; lest unawares we lose
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.

To whom the Son with calm aspéct and clear, Lightning divine, ineffable, serene, Made answer : Mighty Father, thou thy foes. 740 Justly hast in derision, and, secure, Laugh'st at their vain designs and tumults vain ; Matter to me of glory, whom their hate Illustrates, when they see all regal power

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