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النشر الإلكتروني

Spirits odórous breathes: flowers, and their fruit, 482
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublim’d,
To vital spirits aspire, to animal,
To intellectual; give both life and sense,
Fancy and understanding; whence the soul
Reason receives, and reason is her being,
Discursive or intuitive ; discourse
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,
Differing but in degree, of kind the same. 490
Wonder not then, what God for you saw good
If I refuse not, but convert, as you,
To proper substance. Time may come, when Men
With Angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare;
And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
Improv’d by tract of time, and wing'd, ascend
Ethereal, as we ; or may, at choice,
Here, or in heavenly Paradises, dwell; 500
If ye be found obedient, and retain,
Unalterably firm his love entire,
Whose progeny you are. Meanwhile enjoy
Your fill what happiness this happy state
Can comprehend, incapable of more.
To whom the patriarch of mankind replied.
0 favourable Spirit, propitious guest,
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct
Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set
From center to circumference ; whereon, 510
In contemplation of created things,
By steps we may ascend to God. But say
What meant that caution join'd, If ye be found
Obedient # Can we want obedience then
To Him, or possibly his love desert,


Who form'd us from the dust and placed us here 510 Full to the utmost measure of what bliss Human desires can seek or apprehend? To whom the Angel. Son of Heaven and Earth, Attend That thou art happy, owe to God; That thou continuest such, owe to thyself, That is, to thy obedience; therein stand. This was that caution given thee; be advis'd. God made thee perfect, not immutable ; And good he made thee; but to persevere He left it in thy power; ordain'd thy will By nature free, not overrul’d 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 angelick host, that stand In sight of God, enthron'd, 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 woes To whom our great progenitor. Thy words Attentive, and with more delighted ear, Divine instructer, I have heard, than when Cherubick songs by night from neighbouring hills Aéreal 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
Assur'd me, and still assure : Though what thou tell'st
Hath pass'd in Heaven, some doubt within me move,
But more desire to hear, if thou consent,
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 finish'd half his journey, and scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of Heaven. 560
Thus Adam made request; and Raphaël,
After short pause assenting, thus began.
High matter thou enjoin'st me, 0 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 570
This is dispens'd ; 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
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 now rests Upon her center pois'd ; when on a day

(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 call’d, 584
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 advanc'd,
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,
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 unrevok'd 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
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.
So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words
**Gonfalons:’ flags, or streamers.

All seem'd well pleas'd ; all seem’d, but were not all.
That day, as other solemn days, they spent 618
In song and dance about the sacred hill;
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere
Of planets, and of fix’d, in all her wheels
Resembles hearest, mazes intricate,
Eccentrick, intervolv’d, yet regular,
Then most when most irregular they seem ;
And in their motions harmony divine
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 pil'd
With Angels' food, and rubied nectar flows
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven.
On flowers repos'd, 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 639
Excess, before the All-bounteous King, who shower'd
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. -
Now when ambrosial night, with clouds exhal’d
From that high mount of God, whence light and shade
Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had chang'd
To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there
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 angelick throng,

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