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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:
O favourable spirit, propitious guest,
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct
Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set
From centre to circumference; whereon,
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
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 advised.
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 over-ruled by fate
Inextricable, or strict necessity:
Our voluntary service he requires,
Not our necessitated; such with him
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
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:
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,
Divine instructor, I have heard, than when
Cherubic songs by night from neighbouring hills
Aereal music send: nor knew I not

To be both will and deed created free;

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earth among the lowest of the creation, yet leads us, by steps, in contemplation of created things, up to God, the invisi ble Creator of all things.-HUME.

Yet that we never shall forget to love
Our Maker, and obey him whose command
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts
Assured 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.

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
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
This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach
Of human sense, I shall delineate so,

583. Heaven's great year. Milton seems to have had Plato's great year-the revolution of all the spheres-in his thoughts, imagining such kind of revolutions before the Angels or the worlds were in being.

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By likening spiritual to corporal 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 centre poised; when on a day,
(For time, though in eternity, applied
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,
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
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve
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,







So far back into eternity did the vast mind of this greatest of all poets carry him!

589. Gonfalons, ensigns, or flags.

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,
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
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,
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
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
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

So smoothes 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
Desirous; all in circles as they stood,
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled
With angel's food; and rubied nectar flows
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of heaven.
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.
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


600. Hear, &c. How much of this language ascribed to the Almighty is taken from the Scriptures may be seen by com











paring it with Ps. ii. 6, 7; Gen. xxii. 16; Phil. ii. 10, 11; Heb. i. 5; Isa. xlv. 23. 633. Nectar of the colour of rubies.

In darker veil,) and roseat 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,
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

Of all those myriads which we lead the chief;
Tell them, that by command, ere yet dim night
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,
The great Messiah, and his new commands;
Who speedily through all the hierarchies
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.

Fann'd with cool winds; save those, who, in their course, 655
Melodious hymns about the sovran throne
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 pre-eminence, yet fraught
With envy against the Son of God, that day
Honour'd by his great Father, and proclaimed
Messiah King anointed, could not bear

Through pride that sight, and thought himself impair'd. 665
Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshipp'd, unobey'd, the throne supreme,
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
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
What doubtful may ensue: more in this place
To utter is not safe. Assemble thou

652. Living streams. Rev. vii. 17. 671. His next. Beelzebub. 685. Tell them, that by command. He begins his revolt with a lie: so well does






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Milton preserve the character given of him in Scripture! John viii. 44.—New


689. Quarters of the north. See Isa. xiv. 13

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So spake the false archangel, and infused
Bad influence 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 had disincumber'd heaven,
The great hierarchal standard was to move;
Tells the suggested cause, and casts between
Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound
Or taint integrity: but all obey'd

The wonted signal and superiour 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 host.
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
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 battel, what our power is, or our right.
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw
With speed what force is left, and all employ
In our defence; lest unawares we lose
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.

To whom the Son, with calm aspéct and clear,
Lightening divine, ineffable, serene,
Made answer:-Mighty Father, thou thy foes
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

702. Beelzebub tells the cause that Satan had suggested; namely, to prepare entertainment for their new king and receive his laws; interspersing ambiguous words and jealous remarks to try or corrupt their integrity

710. The third part. Rev. xii. 3, 4.
713. Golden lamps. Rev. iv. 5.
716. Sons of morn. Isa. xiv. 12.
718. And, smiling. Ps. ii. 4.

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