Paradise Lost

by John Milton

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Book V

Now Morn her rosie steps in th' Eastern Clime
  Advancing, sow'd the Earth with Orient Pearle,
  When ADAM wak't, so customd, for his sleep
  Was Aerie light, from pure digestion bred,
  And temperat vapors bland, which th' only sound
  Of leaves and fuming rills, AURORA's fan,
  Lightly dispers'd, and the shrill Matin Song
  Of Birds on every bough; so much the more
  His wonder was to find unwak'nd EVE
  With Tresses discompos'd, and glowing Cheek,
  As through unquiet rest: he on his side
  Leaning half-rais'd, with looks of cordial Love
  Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
  Beautie, which whether waking or asleep,
  Shot forth peculiar Graces; then with voice
  Milde, as when ZEPHYRUS on FLORA breathes,
  Her hand soft touching, whisperd thus. Awake
  My fairest, my espous'd, my latest found,
  Heav'ns last best gift, my ever new delight,
  Awake, the morning shines, and the fresh field
  Calls us, we lose the prime, to mark how spring
  Our tended Plants, how blows the Citron Grove,
  What drops the Myrrhe, & what the balmie Reed,
  How Nature paints her colours, how the Bee
  Sits on the Bloom extracting liquid sweet.
    Such whispering wak'd her, but with startl'd eye
  On ADAM, whom imbracing, thus she spake.
    O Sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
  My Glorie, my Perfection, glad I see
  Thy face, and Morn return'd, for I this Night,
  Such night till this I never pass'd, have dream'd,
  If dream'd, not as I oft am wont, of thee,
  Works of day pass't, or morrows next designe,
  But of offence and trouble, which my mind
  Knew never till this irksom night; methought
  Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk
  With gentle voice, I thought it thine; it said,
  Why sleepst thou EVE? now is the pleasant time,
  The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
  To the night-warbling Bird, that now awake
  Tunes sweetest his love-labor'd song; now reignes
  Full Orb'd the Moon, and with more pleasing light
  Shadowie sets off the face of things; in vain,
  If none regard; Heav'n wakes with all his eyes,
  Whom to behold but thee, Natures desire,
  In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
  Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.
  I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
  To find thee I directed then my walk;
  And on, methought, alone I pass'd through ways
  That brought me on a sudden to the Tree
  Of interdicted Knowledge: fair it seem'd,
  Much fairer to my Fancie then by day:
  And as I wondring lookt, beside it stood
  One shap'd & wing'd like one of those from Heav'n
  By us oft seen; his dewie locks distill'd
  Ambrosia; on that Tree he also gaz'd;
  And O fair Plant, said he, with fruit surcharg'd,
  Deigns none to ease thy load and taste thy sweet,
  Nor God, nor Man; is Knowledge so despis'd?
  Or envie, or what reserve forbids to taste?
  Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
  Longer thy offerd good, why else set here?
  This said he paus'd not, but with ventrous Arme
  He pluckt, he tasted; mee damp horror chil'd
  At such bold words voucht with a deed so bold:
  But he thus overjoy'd, O Fruit Divine,
  Sweet of thy self, but much more sweet thus cropt,
  Forbidd'n here, it seems, as onely fit
  For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:
  And why not Gods of Men, since good, the more
  Communicated, more abundant growes,
  The Author not impair'd, but honourd more?
  Here, happie Creature, fair Angelic EVE,
  Partake thou also; happie though thou art,
  Happier thou mayst be, worthier canst not be:
  Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods
  Thy self a Goddess, not to Earth confind,
  But somtimes in the Air, as wee, somtimes
  Ascend to Heav'n, by merit thine, and see
  What life the Gods live there, and such live thou.
  So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
  Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
  Which he had pluckt; the pleasant savourie smell
  So quick'nd appetite, that I, methought,
  Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the Clouds
  With him I flew, and underneath beheld
  The Earth outstretcht immense, a prospect wide
  And various: wondring at my flight and change
  To this high exaltation; suddenly
  My Guide was gon, and I, me thought, sunk down,
  And fell asleep; but O how glad I wak'd
  To find this but a dream! Thus EVE her Night
  Related, and thus ADAM answerd sad.
    Best Image of my self and dearer half,
  The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
  Affects me equally; nor can I like
  This uncouth dream, of evil sprung I fear;
  Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
  Created pure. But know that in the Soule
  Are many lesser Faculties that serve
  Reason as chief; among these Fansie next
  Her office holds; of all external things,
  Which the five watchful Senses represent,
  She forms Imaginations, Aerie shapes,
  Which Reason joyning or disjoyning, frames
  All what we affirm or what deny, and call
  Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
  Into her private Cell when Nature rests.
  Oft in her absence mimic Fansie wakes
  To imitate her; but misjoyning shapes,
  Wilde work produces oft, and most in dreams,
  Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
  Som such resemblances methinks I find
  Of our last Eevnings talk, in this thy dream,
  But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
  Evil into the mind of God or Man
  May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave
  No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope
  That what in sleep thou didst abhorr to dream,
  Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
  Be not disheart'nd then, nor cloud those looks
  That wont to be more chearful and serene
  Then when fair Morning first smiles on the World,
  And let us to our fresh imployments rise
  Among the Groves, the Fountains, and the Flours
  That open now thir choicest bosom'd smells
  Reservd from night, and kept for thee in store.
    So cheard he his fair Spouse, and she was cheard,
  But silently a gentle tear let fall
  From either eye, and wip'd them with her haire;
  Two other precious drops that ready stood,
  Each in thir chrystal sluce, hee ere they fell
  Kiss'd as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
  And pious awe, that feard to have offended.
    So all was cleard, and to the Field they haste.
  But first from under shadie arborous roof,
  Soon as they forth were come to open sight
  Of day-spring, and the Sun, who scarce up risen
  With wheels yet hov'ring o're the Ocean brim,
  Shot paralel to the earth his dewie ray,
  Discovering in wide Lantskip all the East
  Of Paradise and EDENS happie Plains,
  Lowly they bow'd adoring, and began
  Thir Orisons, each Morning duly paid
  In various style, for neither various style
  Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
  Thir Maker, in fit strains pronounc't or sung
  Unmeditated, such prompt eloquence
  Flowd from thir lips, in Prose or numerous Verse,
  More tuneable then needed Lute or Harp
  To add more sweetness, and they thus began.
    These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
  Almightie, thine this universal Frame,
  Thus wondrous fair; thy self how wondrous then!
  Unspeakable, who sitst above these Heavens
  To us invisible or dimly seen
  In these thy lowest works, yet these declare
  Thy goodness beyond thought, and Power Divine:
  Speak yee who best can tell, ye Sons of light,
  Angels, for yee behold him, and with songs
  And choral symphonies, Day without Night,
  Circle his Throne rejoycing, yee in Heav'n,
  On Earth joyn all yee Creatures to extoll
  Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
  Fairest of Starrs, last in the train of Night,
  If better thou belong not to the dawn,
  Sure pledge of day, that crownst the smiling Morn
  With thy bright Circlet, praise him in thy Spheare
  While day arises, that sweet hour of Prime.
  Thou Sun, of this great World both Eye and Soule,
  Acknowledge him thy Greater, sound his praise
  In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
  And when high Noon hast gaind, & when thou fallst.
  Moon, that now meetst the orient Sun, now fli'st
  With the fixt Starrs, fixt in thir Orb that flies,
  And yee five other wandring Fires that move
  In mystic Dance not without Song, resound
  His praise, who out of Darkness call'd up Light.
  Aire, and ye Elements the eldest birth
  Of Natures Womb, that in quaternion run
  Perpetual Circle, multiform; and mix
  And nourish all things, let your ceasless change
  Varie to our great Maker still new praise.
  Ye Mists and Exhalations that now rise
  From Hill or steaming Lake, duskie or grey,
  Till the Sun paint your fleecie skirts with Gold,
  In honour to the Worlds great Author rise,
  Whether to deck with Clouds the uncolourd skie,
  Or wet the thirstie Earth with falling showers,
  Rising or falling still advance his praise.
  His praise ye Winds, that from four Quarters blow,
  Breath soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye Pines,
  With every Plant, in sign of Worship wave.
  Fountains and yee, that warble, as ye flow,
  Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
  Joyn voices all ye living Souls, ye Birds,
  That singing up to Heaven Gate ascend,
  Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise;
  Yee that in Waters glide, and yee that walk
  The Earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
  Witness if I be silent, Morn or Eeven,
  To Hill, or Valley, Fountain, or fresh shade
  Made vocal by my Song, and taught his praise.
  Hail universal Lord, be bounteous still
  To give us onely good; and if the night
  Have gathered aught of evil or conceald,
  Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.
    So pray'd they innocent, and to thir thoughts
  Firm peace recoverd soon and wonted calm.
  On to thir mornings rural work they haste
  Among sweet dewes and flours; where any row
  Of Fruit-trees overwoodie reachd too farr
  Thir pamperd boughes, and needed hands to check
  Fruitless imbraces: or they led the Vine
  To wed her Elm; she spous'd about him twines
  Her mariageable arms, and with her brings
  Her dowr th' adopted Clusters, to adorn
  His barren leaves. Them thus imploid beheld
  With pittie Heav'ns high King, and to him call'd
  RAPHAEL, the sociable Spirit, that deign'd
  To travel with TOBIAS, and secur'd
  His marriage with the seaventimes-wedded Maid.
    RAPHAEL, said hee, thou hear'st what stir on Earth
  SATAN from Hell scap't through the darksom Gulf
  Hath raisd in Paradise, and how disturbd
  This night the human pair, how he designes
  In them at once to ruin all mankind.
  Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
  Converse with ADAM, in what Bowre or shade
  Thou find'st him from the heat of Noon retir'd,
  To respit his day-labour with repast,
  Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
  As may advise him of his happie state,
  Happiness in his power left free to will,
  Left to his own free Will, his Will though free,
  Yet mutable; whence warne him to beware
  He swerve not too secure: tell him withall
  His danger, and from whom, what enemie
  Late falln himself from Heav'n, is plotting now
  The fall of others from like state of bliss;
  By violence, no, for that shall be withstood,
  But by deceit and lies; this let him know,
  Least wilfully transgressing he pretend
  Surprisal, unadmonisht, unforewarnd.
    So spake th' Eternal Father, and fulfilld
  All Justice: nor delaid the winged Saint
  After his charge receivd, but from among
  Thousand Celestial Ardors, where he stood
  Vaild with his gorgeous wings, up springing light
  Flew through the midst of Heav'n; th' angelic Quires
  On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
  Through all th' Empyreal road; till at the Gate
  Of Heav'n arriv'd, the gate self-opend wide
  On golden Hinges turning, as by work
  Divine the sov'ran Architect had fram'd.
  From hence, no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
  Starr interpos'd, however small he sees,
  Not unconform to other shining Globes,
  Earth and the Gard'n of God, with Cedars crownd
  Above all Hills. As when by night the Glass
  Of GALILEO, less assur'd, observes
  Imagind Lands and Regions in the Moon:
  Or Pilot from amidst the CYCLADES
  DELOS or SAMOS first appeering kenns
  A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
  He speeds, and through the vast Ethereal Skie
  Sailes between worlds & worlds, with steddie wing
  Now on the polar windes, then with quick Fann
  Winnows the buxom Air; till within soare
  Of Towring Eagles, to all the Fowles he seems
  A PHOENIX, gaz'd by all, as that sole Bird
  When to enshrine his reliques in the Sun's
  Bright Temple, to AEGYPTIAN THEB'S he flies.
  At once on th' Eastern cliff of Paradise
  He lights, and to his proper shape returns
  A Seraph wingd; six wings he wore, to shade
  His lineaments Divine; the pair that clad
  Each shoulder broad, came mantling o're his brest
  With regal Ornament; the middle pair
  Girt like a Starrie Zone his waste, and round
  Skirted his loines and thighes with downie Gold
  And colours dipt in Heav'n; the third his feet
  Shaddowd from either heele with featherd maile
  Skie-tinctur'd grain. Like MAIA'S son he stood,
  And shook his Plumes, that Heav'nly fragrance filld
  The circuit wide. Strait knew him all the bands
  Of Angels under watch; and to his state,
  And to his message high in honour rise;
  For on som message high they guessd him bound.
  Thir glittering Tents he passd, and now is come
  Into the blissful field, through Groves of Myrrhe,
  And flouring Odours, Cassia, Nard, and Balme;
  A Wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
  Wantond as in her prime, and plaid at will
  Her Virgin Fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
  Wilde above rule or art; enormous bliss.
  Him through the spicie Forrest onward com
  ADAM discernd, as in the dore he sat
  Of his coole Bowre, while now the mounted Sun
  Shot down direct his fervid Raies, to warme
  Earths inmost womb, more warmth then ADAM need;
  And EVE within, due at her hour prepar'd
  For dinner savourie fruits, of taste to please
  True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
  Of nectarous draughts between, from milkie stream,
  Berrie or Grape: to whom thus ADAM call'd.
    Haste hither EVE, and worth thy sight behold
  Eastward among those Trees, what glorious shape
  Comes this way moving; seems another Morn
  Ris'n on mid-noon; som great behest from Heav'n
  To us perhaps he brings, and will voutsafe
  This day to be our Guest. But goe with speed,
  And what thy stores contain, bring forth and poure
  Abundance, fit to honour and receive
  Our Heav'nly stranger; well we may afford
  Our givers thir own gifts, and large bestow
  From large bestowd, where Nature multiplies
  Her fertil growth, and by disburd'ning grows
  More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
    To whom thus EVE. ADAM, earths hallowd mould,
  Of God inspir'd, small store will serve, where store,
  All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
  Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
  To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
  But I will haste and from each bough and break,
  Each Plant & juciest Gourd will pluck such choice
  To entertain our Angel guest, as hee
  Beholding shall confess that here on Earth
  God hath dispenst his bounties as in Heav'n.
    So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
  She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
  What choice to chuse for delicacie best,
  What order, so contriv'd as not to mix
  Tastes, not well joynd, inelegant, but bring
  Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change,
  Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
  Whatever Earth all-bearing Mother yeilds
  In INDIA East or West, or middle shoare
  In PONTUS or the PUNIC Coast, or where
  ALCINOUS reign'd, fruit of all kindes, in coate,
  Rough, or smooth rin'd, or bearded husk, or shell
  She gathers, Tribute large, and on the board
  Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the Grape
  She crushes, inoffensive moust, and meathes
  From many a berrie, and from sweet kernels prest
  She tempers dulcet creams, nor these to hold
  Wants her fit vessels pure, then strews the ground
  With Rose and Odours from the shrub unfum'd.
  Mean while our Primitive great Sire, to meet
  His god-like Guest, walks forth, without more train
  Accompani'd then with his own compleat
  Perfections, in himself was all his state,
  More solemn then the tedious pomp that waits
  On Princes, when thir rich Retinue long
  Of Horses led, and Grooms besmeard with Gold
  Dazles the croud, and sets them all agape.
  Neerer his presence ADAM though not awd,
  Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,
  As to a superior Nature, bowing low,
    Thus said. Native of Heav'n, for other place
  None can then Heav'n such glorious shape contain;
  Since by descending from the Thrones above,
  Those happie places thou hast deignd a while
  To want, and honour these, voutsafe with us
  Two onely, who yet by sov'ran gift possess
  This spacious ground, in yonder shadie Bowre
  To rest, and what the Garden choicest bears
  To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
  Be over, and the Sun more coole decline.
    Whom thus the Angelic Vertue answerd milde.
  ADAM, I therefore came, nor art thou such
  Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
  As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heav'n
  To visit thee; lead on then where thy Bowre
  Oreshades; for these mid-hours, till Eevning rise
  I have at will. So to the Silvan Lodge
  They came, that like POMONA'S Arbour smil'd
  With flourets deck't and fragrant smells; but EVE
  Undeckt, save with her self more lovely fair
  Then Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feign'd
  Of three that in Mount IDA naked strove,
  Stood to entertain her guest from Heav'n; no vaile
  Shee needed, Vertue-proof, no thought infirme
  Alterd her cheek. On whom the Angel HAILE
  Bestowd, the holy salutation us'd
  Long after to blest MARIE, second EVE.
    Haile Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful Womb
  Shall fill the World more numerous with thy Sons
  Then with these various fruits the Trees of God
  Have heap'd this Table. Rais'd of grassie terf
  Thir Table was, and mossie seats had round,
  And on her ample Square from side to side
  All AUTUMN pil'd, though SPRING and AUTUMN here
  Danc'd hand in hand. A while discourse they hold;
  No fear lest Dinner coole; when thus began
  Our Authour. Heav'nly stranger, please to taste
  These bounties which our Nourisher, from whom
  All perfet good unmeasur'd out, descends,
  To us for food and for delight hath caus'd
  The Earth to yeild; unsavourie food perhaps
  To spiritual Natures; only this I know,
  That one Celestial Father gives to all.
    To whom the Angel. Therefore what he gives
  (Whose praise be ever sung) to man in part
  Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found
  No ingrateful food: and food alike those pure
  Intelligential substances require
  As doth your Rational; and both contain
  Within them every lower facultie
  Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,
  Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,
  And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
  For know, whatever was created, needs
  To be sustaind and fed; of Elements
  The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,
  Earth and the Sea feed Air, the Air those Fires
  Ethereal, and as lowest first the Moon;
  Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurg'd
  Vapours not yet into her substance turnd.
  Nor doth the Moon no nourishment exhale
  From her moist Continent to higher Orbes.
  The Sun that light imparts to all, receives
  From all his alimental recompence
  In humid exhalations, and at Even
  Sups with the Ocean: though in Heav'n the Trees
  Of life ambrosial frutage bear, and vines
  Yeild Nectar, though from off the boughs each Morn
  We brush mellifluous Dewes, and find the ground
  Cover'd with pearly grain: yet God hath here
  Varied his bounty so with new delights,
  As may compare with Heaven; and to taste
  Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
  And to thir viands fell, nor seemingly
  The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss
  Of Theologians, but with keen dispatch
  Of real hunger, and concoctive heate
  To transubstantiate; what redounds, transpires
  Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder; if by fire
  Of sooty coal the Empiric Alchimist
  Can turn, or holds it possible to turn
  Metals of drossiest Ore to perfet Gold
  As from the Mine. Mean while at Table EVE
  Ministerd naked, and thir flowing cups
  With pleasant liquors crown'd: O innocence
  Deserving Paradise! if ever, then,
  Then had the Sons of God excuse to have bin
  Enamour'd at that sight; but in those hearts
  Love unlibidinous reign'd, nor jealousie
  Was understood, the injur'd Lovers Hell.
    Thus when with meats & drinks they had suffic'd,
  Not burd'nd Nature, sudden mind arose
  In ADAM, not to let th' occasion pass
  Given him by this great Conference to know
  Of things above his World, and of thir being
  Who dwell in Heav'n, whose excellence he saw
  Transcend his own so farr, whose radiant forms
  Divine effulgence, whose high Power so far
  Exceeded human, and his wary speech
  Thus to th' Empyreal Minister he fram'd.
    Inhabitant with God, now know I well
  Thy favour, in this honour done to man,
  Under whose lowly roof thou hast voutsaf't
  To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
  Food not of Angels, yet accepted so,
  As that more willingly thou couldst not seem
  At Heav'ns high feasts to have fed: yet what compare?
     To whom the winged Hierarch repli'd.
  O ADAM, one Almightie is, from whom
  All things proceed, and up to him return,
  If not deprav'd from good, created all
  Such to perfection, one first matter all,
  Indu'd with various forms, various degrees
  Of substance, and in things that live, of life;
  But more refin'd, more spiritous, and pure,
  As neerer to him plac't or neerer tending
  Each in thir several active Sphears assignd,
  Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
  Proportiond to each kind. So from the root
  Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves
  More aerie, last the bright consummate floure
  Spirits odorous breathes: flours and thir fruit
  Mans nourishment, by gradual scale sublim'd
  To vital Spirits aspire, to animal,
  To intellectual, give both life and sense,
  Fansie and understanding, whence the soule
  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.
  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 wingd ascend
  Ethereal, as wee, or may at choice
  Here or in Heav'nly Paradises dwell;
  If ye be found obedient, and retain
  Unalterably firm his love entire
  Whose progenie you are. Mean while enjoy
  Your fill what happiness this happie state
  Can comprehend, incapable of more.
    To whom the Patriarch of mankind repli'd.
  O 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
  In contemplation of created things
  By steps we may ascend to God. But say,
  What meant that caution joind, IF YE BE FOUND
  OBEDIENT? can wee want obedience then
  To him, or possibly his love desert
  Who formd us from the dust, and plac'd us here
  Full to the utmost measure of what bliss
  Human desires can seek or apprehend?
    To whom the Angel. Son of Heav'n and Earth,
  Attend: That thou art happie, owe to God;
  That thou continu'st such, owe to thy self,
  That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.
  This was that caution giv'n thee; be advis'd.
  God made thee perfet, not immutable;
  And good he made thee, but to persevere
  He left it in thy power, ordaind thy will
  By nature free, not over-rul'd by Fate
  Inextricable, or strict necessity;
  Our voluntarie service he requires,
  Not our necessitated, such with him
  Findes no acceptance, nor can find, for how
  Can hearts, not free, be tri'd whether they serve
  Willing or no, who will but what they must
  By Destinie, and can no other choose?
  My self and all th' Angelic Host that stand
  In sight of God enthron'd, our happie state
  Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds;
  On other surety none; freely we serve.
  Because wee freely love, as in our will
  To love or not; in this we stand or fall:
  And som are fall'n, to disobedience fall'n,
  And so from Heav'n 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 eare
  Divine instructer, I have heard, then when
  Cherubic Songs by night from neighbouring Hills
  Aereal Music send: nor knew I not
  To be both will and deed created free;
  Yet that we never shall forget to love
  Our maker, and obey him whose command
  Single, is yet so just, my constant thoughts
  Assur'd me and still assure: though what thou tellst
  Hath past in Heav'n, som 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 finisht half his journey, and scarce begins
  His other half in the great Zone of Heav'n.
    Thus ADAM made request, and RAPHAEL
  After short pause assenting, thus began.
    High matter thou injoinst me, O prime of men,
  Sad task and hard, for how shall I relate
  To human sense th' invisible exploits
  Of warring Spirits; how without remorse
  The ruin of so many glorious once
  And perfet while they stood; how last unfould
  The secrets of another world, perhaps
  Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good
  This is dispenc't, and what surmounts the reach
  Of human sense, I shall delineate so,
  By lik'ning spiritual to corporal forms,
  As may express them best, though what if Earth
  Be but the shaddow of Heav'n, and things therein
  Each to other like, more then on earth is thought?
    As yet this world was not, and CHAOS wilde
  Reignd where these Heav'ns now rowl, where Earth now rests
  Upon her Center pois'd, when on a day
  (For Time, though in Eternitie, appli'd
  To motion, measures all things durable
  By present, past, and future) on such day
  As Heav'ns great Year brings forth, th' Empyreal Host
  Of Angels by Imperial summons call'd,
  Innumerable before th' Almighties Throne
  Forthwith from all the ends of Heav'n appeerd
  Under thir Hierarchs in orders bright
  Ten thousand thousand Ensignes high advanc'd,
  Standards, and Gonfalons twixt Van and Reare
  Streame in the Aire, and for distinction serve
  Of Hierarchies, of Orders, and Degrees;
  Or in thir glittering Tissues bear imblaz'd
  Holy Memorials, acts of Zeale and Love
  Recorded eminent. Thus when in Orbes
  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, whoseop
  Brightness had made invisible, thus spake.
    Hear all ye Angels, Progenie of Light,
  Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers,
  Hear my Decree, which unrevok't shall stand.
  This day I have begot whom I declare
  My onely Son, and on this holy Hill
  Him have anointed, whom ye now behold
  At my right hand; your Head I him appoint;
  And by my Self have sworn to him shall bow
  All knees in Heav'n, and shall confess him Lord:
  Under his great Vice-gerent Reign abide
  United as one individual Soule
  For ever happie: him who disobeyes
  Mee disobeyes, breaks union, and that day
  Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls
  Into utter darkness, deep ingulft, his place
  Ordaind without redemption, without end.
    So spake th' Omnipotent, and with his words
  All seemd well pleas'd, all seem'd, but were not all.
  That day, as other solem dayes, they spent
  In song and dance about the sacred Hill,
  Mystical dance, which yonder starrie Spheare
  Of Planets and of fixt in all her Wheeles
  Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,
  Eccentric, intervolv'd, yet regular
  Then most, when most irregular they seem:
  And in thir motions harmonie Divine
  So smooths her charming tones, that Gods own ear
  Listens delighted. Eevning approachd
  (For we have also our Eevning 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 pil'd
  With Angels Food, and rubied Nectar flows:
  In Pearl, in Diamond, and massie Gold,
  Fruit of delicious Vines, the growth of Heav'n.
  They eat, they drink, and with refection sweet
  Are fill'd, before th' all bounteous King, who showrd
  With copious hand, rejoycing in thir joy.
  Now when ambrosial Night with Clouds exhal'd
  From that high mount of God, whence light & shade
  Spring both, the face of brightest Heav'n had changd
  To grateful Twilight (for Night comes not there
  In darker veile) and roseat Dews dispos'd
  All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest,
  Wide over all the Plain, and wider farr
  Then all this globous Earth in Plain outspred,
  (Such are the Courts of God) Th' Angelic throng
  Disperst in Bands and Files thir Camp extend
  By living Streams among the Trees of Life,
  Pavilions numberless, and sudden reard,
  Celestial Tabernacles, where they slept
  Fannd with coole Winds, save those who in thir course
  Melodious Hymns about the sovran Throne
  Alternate all night long: but not so wak'd
  SATAN, so call him now, his former name
  Is heard no more Heav'n; he of the first,
  If not the first Arch-Angel, great in Power,
  In favour and praeeminence, yet fraught
  With envie against the Son of God, that day
  Honourd by his great Father, and proclaimd
  MESSIAH King anointed, could not beare
  Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaird.
  Deep malice thence conceiving & disdain,
  Soon as midnight brought on the duskie houre
  Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolv'd
  With all his Legions to dislodge, and leave
  Unworshipt, unobey'd the Throne supream
  Contemptuous, and his next subordinate
  Awak'ning, thus to him in secret spake.
    Sleepst thou Companion dear, what sleep can close
  Thy eye-lids? and remembrest what Decree
  Of yesterday, so late hath past the lips
  Of Heav'ns Almightie. 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 impos'd;
  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
  Of all those Myriads which we lead the chief;
  Tell them that by command, ere yet dim Night
  Her shadowie Cloud withdraws, I am to haste,
  And all who under me thir 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.
    So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infus'd
  Bad influence into th' unwarie brest
  Of his Associate; hee 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 disincumberd Heav'n,
  The great Hierarchal Standard was to move;
  Tells the suggested cause, and casts between
  Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound
  Or taint integritie; but all obey'd
  The wonted signal, and superior voice
  Of thir great Potentate; for great indeed
  His name, and high was his degree in Heav'n;
  His count'nance, as the Morning Starr that guides
  The starrie flock, allur'd them, and with lyes
  Drew after him the third part of Heav'ns Host:
  Mean while th' Eternal eye, whose sight discernes
  Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy Mount
  And from within the golden Lamps that burne
  Nightly before him, saw without thir light
  Rebellion rising, saw in whom, how spred
  Among the sons of Morn, what multitudes
  Were banded to oppose his high Decree;
  And smiling to his onely Son thus said.
    Son, thou in whom my glory I behold
  In full resplendence, Heir of all my might,
  Neerly it now concernes us to be sure
  Of our Omnipotence, and with what Arms
  We mean to hold what anciently we claim
  Of Deitie 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 trie
  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 imploy
  In our defence, lest unawares we lose
  This our high place, our Sanctuarie, our Hill.
    To whom the Son with calm aspect and cleer
  Light'ning Divine, ineffable, serene,
  Made answer. Mightie Father, thou thy foes
  Justly hast in derision, and secure
  Laugh'st at thir vain designes and tumults vain,
  Matter to mee of Glory, whom thir hate
  Illustrates, when they see all Regal Power
  Giv'n me to quell thir pride, and in event
  Know whether I be dextrous to subdue
  Thy Rebels, or be found the worst in Heav'n.
    So spake the Son, but SATAN with his Powers
  Farr was advanc't on winged speed, an Host
  Innumerable as the Starrs of Night,
  Or Starrs of Morning, Dew-drops, which the Sun
  Impearls on every leaf and every flouer.
  Regions they pass'd, the mightie Regencies
  Of Seraphim and Potentates and Thrones
  In thir triple Degrees, Regions to which
  All thy Dominion, ADAM, is no more
  Then what this Garden is to all the Earth,
  And all the Sea, from one entire globose
  Stretcht into Longitude; which having pass'd
  At length into the limits of the North
  They came, and SATAN to his Royal seat
  High on a Hill, far blazing, as a Mount
  Rais'd on a Mount, with Pyramids and Towrs
  From Diamond Quarries hew'n, & Rocks of Gold,
  The Palace of great LUCIFER, (so call
  That Structure in the Dialect of men
  Interpreted) which not long after, hee
  Affecting all equality with God,
  In imitation of that Mount whereon
  MESSIAH was declar'd in sight of Heav'n,
  The Mountain of the Congregation call'd;
  For thither he assembl'd all his Train,
  Pretending so commanded to consult
  About the great reception of thir King,
  Thither to come, and with calumnious Art
  Of counterfeted truth thus held thir ears.
    Thrones, Dominations, Princedomes, Vertues, Powers,
  If these magnific Titles yet remain
  Not meerly titular, since by Decree
  Another now hath to himself ingross't
  All Power, and us eclipst under the name
  Of King anointed, for whom all this haste
  Of midnight march, and hurried meeting here,
  This onely to consult how we may best
  With what may be devis'd of honours new
  Receive him coming to receive from us
  Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile,
  Too much to one, but double how endur'd,
  To one and to his image now proclaim'd?
  But what if better counsels might erect
  Our minds and teach us to cast off this Yoke?
  Will ye submit your necks, and chuse to bend
  The supple knee? ye will not, if I trust
  To know ye right, or if ye know your selves
  Natives and Sons of Heav'n possest before
  By none, and if not equal all, yet free,
  Equally free; for Orders and Degrees
  Jarr not with liberty, but well consist.
  Who can in reason then or right assume
  Monarchie over such as live by right
  His equals, if in power and splendor less,
  In freedome equal? or can introduce
  Law and Edict on us, who without law
  Erre 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 farr his bold discourse without controule
  Had audience, when among the Seraphim
  ABDIEL, then whom none with more zeale ador'd
  The Deitie, and divine commands obei'd,
  Stood up, and in a flame of zeale severe
  The current of his fury thus oppos'd.
    O argument blasphemous, false and proud!
  Words which no eare ever to hear in Heav'n
  Expected, least of all from thee, ingrate
  In place thy self so high above thy Peeres.
  Canst thou with impious obloquie condemne
  The just Decree of God, pronounc't and sworn,
  That to his only Son by right endu'd
  With Regal Scepter, every Soule in Heav'n
  Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due
  Confess him rightful King? unjust thou saist
  Flatly unjust, to binde with Laws the free,
  And equal over equals to let Reigne,
  One over all with unsucceeded power.
  Shalt thou give Law to God, shalt thou dispute
  With him the points of libertie, who made
  Thee what thou art, & formd the Pow'rs of Heav'n
  Such as he pleasd, and circumscrib'd thir being?
  Yet by experience taught we know how good,
  And of our good, and of our dignitie
  How provident he is, how farr from thought
  To make us less, bent rather to exalt
  Our happie state under one Head more neer
  United. But to grant it thee unjust,
  That equal over equals Monarch Reigne:
  Thy self though great & glorious dost thou count,
  Or all Angelic Nature joind 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 Spirits of Heav'n
  By him created in thir bright degrees,
  Crownd them with Glory, & to thir Glory nam'd
  Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers
  Essential Powers, nor by his Reign obscur'd,
  But more illustrious made, since he the Head
  One of our number thus reduc't becomes,
  His Laws our Laws, all honour to him done
  Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage,
  And tempt not these; but hast'n to appease
  Th' incensed Father, and th' incensed Son,
  While Pardon may be found in time besought.
    So spake the fervent Angel, but his zeale
  None seconded, as out of season judg'd,
  Or singular and rash, whereat rejoic'd
  Th' Apostat, and more haughty thus repli'd.
  That we were formd then saist thou? & the work
  Of secondarie hands, by task transferd
  From Father to his Son? strange point and new!
  Doctrin which we would know whence learnt: who saw
  When this creation was? rememberst 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, self-rais'd
  By our own quick'ning power, when fatal course
  Had circl'd his full Orbe, the birth mature
  Of this our native Heav'n, Ethereal Sons.
  Our puissance is our own, our own right hand
  Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
  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 carrie to th' anointed King;
  And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.
    He said, and as the sound of waters deep
  Hoarce murmur echo'd to his words applause
  Through the infinite Host, nor less for that
  The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone
  Encompass'd round with foes, thus answerd bold.
    O alienate from God, O spirit accurst,
  Forsak'n of all good; I see thy fall
  Determind, and thy hapless crew involv'd
  In this perfidious fraud, contagion spred
  Both of thy crime and punishment: henceforth
  No more be troubl'd how to quit the yoke
  Of Gods MESSIAH; those indulgent Laws
  Will not be now voutsaf't, other Decrees
  Against thee are gon forth without recall;
  That Golden Scepter which thou didst reject
  Is now an Iron Rod to bruise and breake
  Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise,
  Yet not for thy advise or threats I fly
  These wicked Tents devoted, least the wrauth
  Impendent, raging into sudden flame
  Distinguish not: for soon expect to feel
  His Thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
  Then who created thee lamenting learne,
  When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.
    So spake the Seraph ABDIEL faithful found,
  Among the faithless, faithful only hee;
  Among innumerable false, unmov'd,
  Unshak'n, unseduc'd, unterrifi'd
  His Loyaltie he kept, his Love, his Zeale;
  Nor number, nor example with him wrought
  To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind
  Though single. From amidst them forth he passd,
  Long way through hostile scorn, which he susteind
  Superior, nor of violence fear'd aught;
  And with retorted scorn his back he turn'd
  On those proud Towrs to swift destruction doom'd.

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