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Of yesterday, so late hath passid the lips 675 Of Heav'n'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 impos'd; New laws from him who reigns, new minds may raise

680 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 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 690 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' unwary breast Of his associate: he together calls Of sev'ral one by one, the regent pow'rs, Under him regent: tells, as he was taught, That the Most High commanding, now ere night, Now ere dim night had disencumber'd Heav'n, The great hierarchal standard was to move ; 70 1 Tells the suggested cause, and casts between Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound

695

Or taint integrity: but all obey'd
The wonted signal and superior voice 705
Of their great potentate; for great indeed
His name, and high was his degree in Heav'n;
His count'nance as the morning star that guides
The starry flock, allur'd them, and with lies
Drew after him the third part of Heav'n's host.
Mean while th’ 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 715
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, 720
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 725
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north;
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try
In battle what our pow'r 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 731
This our high place,

place, our sanctuary, our hill. To whom the Son, with calm aspect and clear,

Lightning divine, ineffable, serene,
Made answer: Mighty Father, thou thy foes 735
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 pow'r
Giv'n me to quell their pride, and in event 740
Know whether I be dext'rous to subdue
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heav'n.

So spake the Son; but Satan with his Pow'rs Far was advanc'd on winged speed, an host Innumerable as the stars of night,

745 Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the Sun Impearls on ev'ry leaf and ev'ry flow'r. Regions they pass'd, the mighty regencies Of Seraphim, and Potentates, and Thrones, In their triple degrees ; regions to which 750 All thy dominion, Adam, is no more Than what this garden is to all the earth, And all the sea, from one entire globose Stretch'd into longitude ; which having pass'd, At length into the limits of the north 755 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 tow'rs From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold; The palace of great Lucifer (so call 760 That structure in the dialect of men Interpreted) which not long after, he Affecting all equality with God,

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In imitation of that mount whereon
Messiah was declar'd in sight of Heav'n, 765
The Mountain of the Congregation callid;
For thither he assembl’d all his train,
Pretending so commanded to consult
About the great reception of their King,
Thither to come, and with calumnious art 770
Of counterfeited truth, thus held their ears :
Thrones, Dominations, Princédois, Virtues,

Pow'rs,
If these magnific titles yet remain
Not merely titular, since by decree
Another now hath to himself ingross'd 775
All pow'r, and us eclips'd under the name
Of King Anointed, for whom all this haste
Of midnight march, and hurry'd meeting here,
This only to consult, how we may best,
With what may be devis’d of honours new, 780
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 785
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke ?
Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend
The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust
To know ye right; or if ye know yourselves
Natives and sons of Heav'n possess'd before 790
By none, and if not equal all, yet free,
Equally free; for orders and degrees

Jar not with liberty, but well consist.
Who can in reason then or right assume
Monarchy over such as live by right 795
His equals, if in pow'r and splendor less,
In freedom equal ? or can introduce
Law and edict on us, who without law
Err not? much less for this to be our Lord,
And look for adoration to th' abuse

800 Of those imperial titles which assert Our being ordain'd to govern, not to serve.

Thus far his bold discourse without controul Had audience, when among

the Seraphim Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal ador'd The Deity', and divine commands obey'd, 806 Stood

up,

and in a flame of zeal severe, The current of his fury thus oppos'd :

O argument blasphemous, false, and proud ! Words which no ear ever to hear in Heav'n 810 Expected, least of all from thee, Ingrate, In place thyself so high above thy peers. Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn The just decree of God, pronounc'd and sworn, That to his only Son by right endu'd With regal sceptre, ev'ry soul in Heav'n Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due Confess him rightful King ? Unjust thou say'st, Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free, And equal over equals, to let reign

820 One over all with unsucceeded pow'r. Shalt thou give law to God? Shalt thou dispute

815

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