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"As yet this world was not: and Chaos wild

Reign'd where these Heavens now roll, where Earth now Upon her centre pois'd; 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 order 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,

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 moru;

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 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 flowrets 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 chang'd
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 globose 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

Fann'd with cool winds; save those, who in their course,
Melodious hymns about the sovereign 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 arch-angel, 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 proclaim'd
Messiah, King anointed, could not bear,

Through pride, that sight, and thought himself impair'd
Deep malice thence conceiving, and disdain,

Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour,

Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolv'd,
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 eye-lids? 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 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 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.""
"So spake the false arch-angel, 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 nig! t,
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 superior 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 inultitudes
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 battle, 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, Lightning 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
Given me, to quell their pride, and in event
Know, whether I be dextrous to subdue
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven.'
"So spake the Son; but Satan with his powers
Far was advanced, on winged speed, an host
Innumerable, as the stars of night,

Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun
Impearls on every leaf, and every flower.
Regions they pass'd, the mighty regencies
Of seraphim, and potentates, and thrones,
In their triple degrees; regions to which
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
They came; and Satan to his royal seat
High on a hill, far blazing, as a mount

Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers,
From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold,
The palace of great Lucifer, so call
That structure, in the dialect of men
Interpreted, which not long after, he,
Affecting all equality with God,
In imitation of that mount, whereon
Messiah was declar'd, in sight of Heaven,
The mountain of the congregation call'd
For thither he assembled all his train,
Pretending, so commanded, to consult
About the great reception of their King,
Thither to come; and, with calumnious art

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