Paradise Lost, by John Milton

Book V

THE ARGUMENT

Morning approach’t, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream; he likes it not, yet comforts her: They come forth to thir day labours: Their Morning Hymn at the Door of their Bower. God to render Man inexcusable sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand; who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise, his appearance describ’d, his coming discern’d by Adam afar off sitting at the door of his Bower; he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choycest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve; their discourse at Table: Raphael performs his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates at Adams request who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his Legions after him to the parts of the North, and there incited them to rebel with him, perswading all but only Abdiel a Seraph, who in Argument diswades and opposes him, then forsakes him.

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-rals’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.

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Leaning half-rals’d, with looks of cordial Love
Hung over her enamour’d.

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 and 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 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 parallel 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 in 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,

Breathe soft or loud; and wave your to 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 far

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 wame him to beware

He swerve not too secure: tell him withall

His danger, and from whom, what enemie

Late falln himself from Heaven, 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 am 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 needs

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.

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Eastward among those Trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving

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 he

Beholding shall confess that here on Earth

God hath dispenst his bounties as in Heav’n.

So saying, with 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 yields

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 answered 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 turn’d.

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: 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?

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To whom the winged Hierarch repli’d.
O Adam, one Almightie is, from whom
All things proceed

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, no? 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, 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,

A midst as from a flaming Mount, whose top

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 in Heav’n; he of the first,

If not the first Arch-Angel, great in Power,

In favour and preaeminence, 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 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 an 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 now be 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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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09