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With pleasant liquors crowned.

O innocence

Deserving Paradise! If ever, then,

Then had the Sons of God excuse to have been
Enamoured at that sight. But in those hearts

Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy

Was understood, the injured lover's hell.

Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed, Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose

In Adam not to let the occasion pass,

Given him by this great conference, to know
Of things above his world, and of their being
Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw
Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms,
Divine effulgence, whose high power so far
Exceeded human; and his wary speech
Thus to the empyreal minister he framed :-
"Inhabitant with God, now know I well
Thy favour, in this honour done to Man;
Under whose lowly roof thou hast voutsafed
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so

As that more willingly thou couldst not seem

At Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what compare!

To whom the wingèd Hierarch replied:

“O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom
All things proceed, and up to him return,
If not depraved from good, created all
Such to perfection; one first matter all,
Endued with various forms, various degrees
Of substance, and, in things that live, of life ;
But more refined, more spiritous and pure,
As nearer to him placed or nearer tending
Each in their several active spheres assigned,
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
Proportioned to each kind. So from the root

Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves
More aery, last the bright consummate flower

Spirits odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit,

Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed,
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

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Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,
Differing but in degree, of kind the same.

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Wonder not, then, what God for you saw good

If I refuse not, but convert, as you,

To proper substance. Tine 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,
Improved by tract of time, and wing'd ascend
Ethereal, as we, or may at choice
Here or in heavenly paradises dwell,
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."

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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,

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In contemplation of created things,

By steps we may ascend to God. But say,

What meant that caution joined, If ye be found
Obedient? Can we want obedience, then,

To him, or possibly his love desert,

Who formed 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;

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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-ordained 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,

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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.
From what high state of bliss into what woe!"

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O fall

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
Aërial 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

Assured me, and still assure; though what thou tell'st

Hath passed 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 finished 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:-

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High matter thou enjoin'st me, Ō 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
The secrets of another
Not lawful to reveal?
This is dispensed; and
Of human sense I shall
By likening spiritual to
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

stood? how, last, unfold
world, perhaps
Yet for thy good
what surmounts the reach
delineate so,
corporal forms,

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Reigned 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 called,
Innumerable before the Almighty's throne

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Forthwith from all the ends of Heaven appeared
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 emblazed
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
Of circuit inexpressible they stood,
Orb within orb, the Father Infinite,

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By whom in bliss embosomed sat the Son,

Amidst, as from a flaming mount, whose top Brightness had made invisible, thus spake:— "Hear, all ye Angels, Progeny of Light,

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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 engulfed, his place
Ordained without redemption, without end.'

"So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words

All seemed well pleased; all seemed, 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 fixed 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 smooths her charming tones that God's own ear
Listens delighted. Evening now approached

(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

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With Angels' 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 crowned,
They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joy, secure

Öf surfeit where full measure only bounds

Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who showered
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
Now when ambrosial Night, with clouds exhaled

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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
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,
Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend
By living streams among the trees of life-
Pavilions numberless and sudden reared,
Celestial tabernacles, where they slept,

Fanned with cool winds; save those who, in their course,
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
Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed
Messiah, King Anointed, could not bear,

Through pride, that sight, and thought himself impaired.
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
Unworshiped, unobeyed, the Throne supreme,
Contemptuous, and, his next subordinate
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake :-

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'Sleep'st thou, companion dear? what sleep can close

Thy eyelids? and rememberest what decree,

Of yesterday, so late hath passed 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;

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