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By destiny, and can no other chufe?
My felf and all th' Angelic Hoft, that ftand
In fight of GoD inthron'd, our happy state
Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds;
On other furety none; freely we serve,
Because we freely love; as in our will
To love, or not, in this we ftand or fall.
And fome are fall'n, to difobedience fall'n,
And fo from Heaven to deepeft Hell; O fall
From what high state of blifs, into what woe!

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To whom our great progenitor. Thy words Attentive, and with more delighted ear, Divine inftructor! I have heard, than when Cherubic fongs by night from neighb'ring hills Aereal mufic fend. Nor knew I not To be both will and deed created free; Yet that we never fhall forget to love Our Maker, and obey him whofe command Single, is yet fo juft, my conftant thoughts Affur'd me, and ftill affure; though what thou tell'st Hath paft in Heav'n, fome doubt within me move, But more defire to hear (if thou confent) The full relation; which muft needs be ftrange, Worthy of facred filence 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 heav'n.

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Thus ADAM made request, and RAPHAEL

After fhort pause affenting, thus began.

High matter thou injoin'ft me, O prime of men! Sad task and hard! For how fhall I relate

To human fenfe th' invifible exploits

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Of warring fpirits? How, without remorse,
The ruin of fo many, glorious once,
And perfect, while they ftood? how, laft, unfold

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The

The fecrets of another world, perhaps

Not lawful to reveal? Yet for thy good,
This is difpens'd; and what furmounts the reach
Of human fenfe, I thall delineate fo,
By lik ning fpiritual to corporeal forms,

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As may express them beft: though, what if earth Be but the fhadow of heav'n, and things therein 575 Each th' other like, more than on earth is thought?

As yet this world was not, and CHAOS wild Reign'd where these heav'ns now rowl, where earth Upon her centre pois'd; when on a day [now refts (For time, though in eternity, apply'd To motion, measures all things durable

By prefent, paft, and future) on fuch day

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As heav'n's great year brings forth, th' empyreal hoft Of Angels by imperial fummons call'd,

Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne Forthwith, from all the ends of Heav'n, appear'd Under their Hierarchs in orders bright:

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Ten thousand thousand enfigns high advanc'd,
(Standards, and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear)
Stream in the air, and for diflinction ferve
Of Hierarchies, of Orders, and Degrees:
Or in their glittering tiffues bear imblaz'd
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
Of circuit inexpreffible they ftood,
Orb within orb, the FATHER Infinite,
By whom in blifs imbofom'd fat the Son,
Amidft (as from a flaming mount,
Brightness had made invifible) thus fpake.

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Hear all ye Angels, progeny of light, Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powrs! Hear my decree, which unrevok'd fhall ftand. This day I have begot whom I declare My only Son, and on this holy hill

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