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Paradise Lost: Book 05 Analysis



Author: Poetry of John Milton Type: Poetry Views: 524

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Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern climeAdvancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleepWas aery-light, from pure digestion bred,And temperate vapours bland, which the only soundOf leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin songOf birds on every bough; so much the moreHis wonder was to find unwakened EveWith tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,As through unquiet rest:He, on his sideLeaning half raised, with looks of cordial loveHung over her enamoured, and beheldBeauty, which, whether waking or asleep,Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voiceMild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,Her hand soft touching, whispered thus.Awake,My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight!Awake:The morning shines, and the fresh fieldCalls us; we lose the prime, to mark how springOur tender plants, how blows the citron grove,What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,How nature paints her colours, how the beeSits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.Such whispering waked her, but with startled eyeOn Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake.O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,My glory, my perfection! glad I seeThy face, and morn returned; for I this night(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed,If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee,Works of day past, or morrow's next design,But of offence and trouble, which my mindKnew never till this irksome night:Methought,Close at mine ear one called me forth to walkWith gentle voice;I thought it thine: It said,'Why sleepest 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-laboured song; now reigns'Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light'Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,'If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes,'Whom to behold but thee, Nature's 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 passed through waysThat brought me on a sudden to the treeOf interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed,Much fairer to my fancy than by day:And, as I wondering looked, beside it stoodOne shaped and winged like one of those from HeavenBy us oft seen; his dewy locks distilledAmbrosia; on that tree he also gazed;And 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged,'Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,'Nor God, nor Man?Is knowledge so despised?'Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?'Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold'Longer thy offered good; why else set here?This said, he paused not, but with venturous armHe plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilledAt such bold words vouched with a deed so bold:But he thus, overjoyed; 'O fruit divine,'Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,'Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit'For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:'And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more'Communicated, more abundant grows,'The author not impaired, but honoured more?'Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve!'Partake thou also; happy though thou art,'Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be:'Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods'Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined,'But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes'Ascend to Heaven, 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 partWhich he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smellSo quickened appetite, that I, methought,Could not but taste.Forthwith up to the cloudsWith him I flew, and underneath beheldThe earth outstretched immense, a prospect wideAnd various:Wondering at my flight and changeTo this high exaltation; suddenlyMy guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,And fell asleep; but O, how glad I wakedTo find this but a dream!Thus Eve her nightRelated, and thus Adam answered sad.Best image of myself, and dearer half,The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleepAffects me equally; nor can I likeThis uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear;Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,Created pure.But know that in the soulAre many lesser faculties, that serveReason as chief; among these Fancy nextHer office holds; of all external thingsWhich the five watchful senses represent,She forms imaginations, aery shapes,Which Reason, joining or disjoining, framesAll what we affirm or what deny, and callOur knowledge or opinion; then retiresInto her private cell, when nature rests.Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakesTo imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.Some such resemblances, methinks, I findOf our last evening's talk, in this thy dream,But with addition strange; yet be not sad.Evil into the mind of God or ManMay come and go, so unreproved, and leaveNo spot or blame behind:Which gives me hopeThat what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,Waking thou never will consent to do.Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks,That wont to be more cheerful and serene,Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;And let us to our fresh employments riseAmong the groves, the fountains, and the flowersThat open now their choisest bosomed smells,Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered;But silently a gentle tear let fallFrom either eye, and wiped them with her hair;Two other precious drops that ready stood,Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fellKissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorseAnd pious awe, that feared to have offended.So all was cleared, and to the field they haste.But first, from under shady arborous roofSoon as they forth were come to open sightOf day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen,With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim,Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,Discovering in wide landskip all the eastOf Paradise and Eden's happy plains,Lowly they bowed adoring, and beganTheir orisons, each morning duly paidIn various style; for neither various styleNor holy rapture wanted they to praiseTheir Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sungUnmeditated; such prompt eloquenceFlowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,More tuneable than needed lute or harpTo add more sweetness; and they thus began.These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,Almighty!Thine this universal frame,Thus wonderous fair;Thyself how wonderous then!Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavensTo us invisible, or dimly seenIn these thy lowest works; yet these declareThy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,Angels; for ye behold him, and with songsAnd choral symphonies, day without night,Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in HeavenOn Earth join all ye Creatures to extolHim first, him last, him midst, and without end.Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,If better thou belong not to the dawn,Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling mornWith thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praiseIn thy eternal course, both when thou climbest,And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest.Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest,With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies;And ye five other wandering Fires, that moveIn mystick dance not without song, resoundHis praise, who out of darkness called up light.Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birthOf Nature's womb, that in quaternion runPerpetual circle, multiform; and mixAnd nourish all things; let your ceaseless changeVary to our great Maker still new praise.Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now riseFrom hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,In honour to the world's great Author rise;Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,Or wet the thirsty 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 tops, ye Pines,With every plant, in sign of worship wave.Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.Join voices, all ye living Souls:Ye Birds,That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walkThe earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;Witness if I be silent, morn or even,To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous stillTo give us only good; and if the nightHave gathered aught of evil, or concealed,Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughtsFirm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.On to their morning's rural work they haste,Among sweet dews and flowers; where any rowOf fruit-trees over-woody reached too farTheir pampered boughs, and needed hands to checkFruitless embraces: or they led the vineTo wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twinesHer marriageable arms, and with him bringsHer dower, the adopted clusters, to adornHis barren leaves.Them thus employed beheldWith pity Heaven's high King, and to him calledRaphael, the sociable Spirit, that deignedTo travel with Tobias, and securedHis marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on EarthSatan, from Hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf,Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbedThis night the human pair; how he designsIn them at once to ruin all mankind.Go therefore, half this day as friend with friendConverse with Adam, in what bower or shadeThou findest him from the heat of noon retired,To respite his day-labour with repast,Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,As may advise him of his happy state,Happiness in his power left free to will,Left to his own free will, his will though free,Yet mutable; whence warn him to bewareHe swerve not, too secure:Tell him withalHis danger, and from whom; what enemy,Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting nowThe 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,Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretendSurprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilledAll justice:Nor delayed the winged SaintAfter his charge received; but from amongThousand celestial Ardours, where he stoodVeiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires,On each hand parting, to his speed gave wayThrough all the empyreal road; till, at the gateOf Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wideOn golden hinges turning, as by workDivine the sovran Architect had framed.From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,Star interposed, however small he sees,Not unconformed to other shining globes,Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crownedAbove all hills.As when by night the glassOf Galileo, less assured, observesImagined lands and regions in the moon:Or pilot, from amidst the CycladesDelos or Samos first appearing, kensA cloudy spot.Down thither prone in flightHe speeds, and through the vast ethereal skySails between worlds and worlds, with steady wingNow on the polar winds, then with quick fanWinnows the buxom air; till, within soarOf towering eagles, to all the fowls he seemsA phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird,When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun'sBright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.At once on the eastern cliff of ParadiseHe lights, and to his proper shape returnsA Seraph winged:Six wings he wore, to shadeHis lineaments divine; the pair that cladEach shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breastWith regal ornament; the middle pairGirt like a starry zone his waist, and roundSkirted his loins and thighs with downy goldAnd colours dipt in Heaven; the third his feetShadowed from either heel with feathered mail,Sky-tinctured grain.Like Maia's son he stood,And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filledThe circuit wide.Straight knew him all the bandsOf Angels under watch; and to his state,And to his message high, in honour rise;For on some message high they guessed him bound.Their glittering tents he passed, and now is comeInto the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm;A wilderness of sweets; for Nature hereWantoned as in her prime, and played at willHer virgin fancies pouring forth more sweet,Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.Him through the spicy forest onward comeAdam discerned, as in the door he satOf his cool bower, while now the mounted sunShot down direct his fervid rays to warmEarth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs:And Eve within, due at her hour preparedFor dinner savoury fruits, of taste to pleaseTrue appetite, and not disrelish thirstOf nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,Berry or grape:To whom thus Adam called.Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight beholdEastward among those trees, what glorious shapeComes this way moving; seems another mornRisen on mid-noon; some great behest from HeavenTo us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafeThis day to be our guest.But go with speed,And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pourAbundance, fit to honour and receiveOur heavenly stranger:Well we may affordOur givers their own gifts, and large bestowFrom large bestowed, where Nature multipliesHer fertile growth, and by disburthening growsMore fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.To whom thus Eve.Adam, earth's hallowed mould,Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store,All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;Save what by frugal storing firmness gainsTo nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choiceTo entertain our Angel-guest, as heBeholding shall confess, that here on EarthGod hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.So saying, with dispatchful looks in hasteShe turns, on hospitable thoughts intentWhat choice to choose for delicacy best,What order, so contrived as not to mixTastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bringTaste after taste upheld with kindliest change;Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalkWhatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yieldsIn India East or West, or middle shoreIn Pontus or the Punick coast, or whereAlcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coatRough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,She gathers, tribute large, and on the boardHeaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grapeShe crushes, inoffensive must, and meathsFrom many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressedShe tempers dulcet creams; nor these to holdWants her fit vessels pure; then strows the groundWith rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.Mean while our primitive great sire, to meetHis God-like guest, walks forth, without more trainAccompanied than with his own completePerfections; in himself was all his state,More solemn than the tedious pomp that waitsOn princes, when their rich retinue longOf horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold,Dazzles the croud, and sets them all agape.Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed,Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,As to a superiour nature bowing low,Thus said.Native of Heaven, for other placeNone can than Heaven such glorious shape contain;Since, by descending from the thrones above,Those happy places thou hast deigned a whileTo want, and honour these, vouchsafe with usTwo only, who yet by sovran gift possessThis spacious ground, in yonder shady bowerTo rest; and what the garden choicest bearsTo sit and taste, till this meridian heatBe over, and the sun more cool decline.Whom thus the angelick Virtue answered mild.Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou suchCreated, or such place hast here to dwell,As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven,To visit thee; lead on then where thy bowerO'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,I have at will.So to the sylvan lodgeThey came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled,With flowerets decked, and fragrant smells; but Eve,Undecked save with herself, more lovely fairThan Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feignedOf three that in mount Ida naked strove,Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veilShe needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirmAltered her cheek.On whom the Angel HailBestowed, the holy salutation usedLong after to blest Mary, second Eve.Hail, Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful wombShall fill the world more numerous with thy sons,Than with these various fruits the trees of GodHave heaped this table!--Raised of grassy turfTheir table was, and mossy seats had round,And on her ample square from side to sideAll autumn piled, though spring and autumn hereDanced hand in hand.A while discourse they hold;No fear lest dinner cool; when thus beganOur author.Heavenly stranger, please to tasteThese bounties, which our Nourisher, from whomAll perfect good, unmeasured out, descends,To us for food and for delight hath causedThe earth to yield; unsavoury food perhapsTo 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 partSpiritual, may of purest Spirits be foundNo ingrateful food:And food alike those pureIntelligential substances require,As doth your rational; and both containWithin them every lower facultyOf sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,And corporeal to incorporeal turn.For know, whatever was created, needsTo be sustained and fed:Of elementsThe grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,Earth and the sea feed air, the air those firesEthereal, and as lowest first the moon;Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurgedVapours not yet into her substance turned.Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhaleFrom her moist continent to higher orbs.The sun that light imparts to all, receivesFrom all his alimental recompenceIn humid exhalations, and at evenSups with the ocean.Though in Heaven the treesOf life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vinesYield nectar; though from off the boughs each mornWe brush mellifluous dews, and find the groundCovered with pearly grain:Yet God hath hereVaried his bounty so with new delights,As may compare with Heaven; and to tasteThink not I shall be nice.So down they sat,And to their viands fell; nor seeminglyThe Angel, nor in mist, the common glossOf Theologians; but with keen dispatchOf real hunger, and concoctive heatTo transubstantiate:What redounds, transpiresThrough Spirits with ease; nor wonder;if by fireOf sooty coal the empirick alchemistCan turn, or holds it possible to turn,Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold,As from the mine.Mean while at table EveMinistered naked, and their flowing cupsWith pleasant liquours crowned:O innocenceDeserving Paradise! if ever, then,Then had the sons of God excuse to have beenEnamoured at that sight; but in those heartsLove unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousyWas understood, the injured lover's hell.Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed,Not burdened nature, sudden mind aroseIn Adam, not to let the occasion passGiven him by this great conference to knowOf things above his world, and of their beingWho dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he sawTranscend his own so far; whose radiant forms,Divine effulgence, whose high power, so farExceeded human; and his wary speechThus to the empyreal minister he framed.Inhabitant with God, now know I wellThy favour, in this honour done to Man;Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafedTo enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,Food not of Angels, yet accepted so,As that more willingly thou couldst not seemAt Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what compareTo whom the winged Hierarch replied.O Adam, One Almighty is, from whomAll things proceed, and up to him return,If not depraved from good, created allSuch to perfection, one first matter all,Endued with various forms, various degreesOf substance, and, in things that live, of life;But more refined, more spiritous, and pure,As nearer to him placed, or nearer tendingEach in their several active spheres assigned,Till body up to spirit work, in boundsProportioned to each kind.So from the rootSprings lighter the green stalk, from thence the leavesMore aery, last the bright consummate flowerSpirits 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 soulReason receives, and reason is her being,Discursive, or intuitive; discourseIs oftest yours, the latter most is ours,Differing but in degree, of kind the same.Wonder not then, what God for you saw goodIf I refuse not, but convert, as youTo proper substance.Time may come, when MenWith Angels may participate, and findNo inconvenient diet, nor too light fare;And from these corporal nutriments perhapsYour bodies may at last turn all to spirit,Improved by tract of time, and, winged, ascendEthereal, as we; or may, at choice,Here or in heavenly Paradises dwell;If ye be found obedient, and retainUnalterably firm his love entire,Whose progeny you are.Mean while enjoyYour fill what happiness this happy stateCan comprehend, incapable of more.To whom the patriarch of mankind replied.O favourable Spirit, propitious guest,Well hast thou taught the way that might directOur knowledge, and the scale of nature setFrom center to circumference; whereon,In contemplation of created things,By steps we may ascend to God.But say,What meant that caution joined, If ye be foundObedient?Can we want obedience thenTo him, or possibly his love desert,Who formed us from the dust and placed us hereFull to the utmost measure of what blissHuman desires can seek or apprehend?To whom the Angel.Son of Heaven and Earth,Attend!That thou art happy, owe to God;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 persevereHe left it in thy power; ordained thy willBy nature free, not over-ruled by fateInextricable, or strict necessity:Our voluntary service he requires,Not our necessitated; such with himFinds no acceptance, nor can find; for howCan hearts, not free, be tried whether they serveWilling or no, who will but what they mustBy destiny, and can no other choose?Myself, and all the angelick host, that standIn sight of God, enthroned, our happy stateHold, as you yours, while our obedience holds;On other surety none:Freely we serve,Because we freely love, as in our willTo love or not; in this we stand or fall:And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen,And so from Heaven to deepest Hell; O fallFrom what high state of bliss, into what woe!To whom our great progenitor.Thy wordsAttentive, and with more delighted ear,Divine instructer, I have heard, than whenCherubick songs by night from neighbouring hillsAereal musick send:Nor knew I notTo be both will and deed created free;Yet that we never shall forget to loveOur Maker, and obey him whose commandSingle is yet so just, my constant thoughtsAssured me, and still assure:Though what thou tellestHath 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 sunHath finished half his journey, and scarce beginsHis other half in the great zone of Heaven.Thus Adam made request; and Raphael,After short pause assenting, thus began.High matter thou enjoinest me, O prime of men,Sad task and hard:For how shall I relateTo human sense the invisible exploitsOf warring Spirits? how, without remorse,The ruin of so many glorious onceAnd perfect while they stood? how last unfoldThe secrets of another world, perhapsNot lawful to reveal? yet for thy goodThis is dispensed; and what surmounts the reachOf human sense, I shall delineate so,By likening spiritual to corporal forms,As may express them best; though what if EarthBe but a shadow of Heaven, and things thereinEach to other like, more than on earth is thought?As yet this world was not, and Chaos wildReigned where these Heavens now roll, where Earth now restsUpon her center poised; when on a day(For time, though in eternity, appliedTo motion, measures all things durableBy present, past, and future,) on such dayAs Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal hostOf Angels by imperial summons called,Innumerable before the Almighty's throneForthwith, from all the ends of Heaven, appearedUnder their Hierarchs in orders bright:Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced,Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rearStream in the air, and for distinction serveOf hierarchies, of orders, and degrees;Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazedHoly memorials, acts of zeal and loveRecorded eminent.Thus when in orbsOf circuit inexpressible they stood,Orb within orb, the Father Infinite,By whom in bliss imbosomed sat the Son,Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose topBrightness 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 declareMy only Son, and on this holy hillHim have anointed, whom ye now beholdAt my right hand; your head I him appoint;And by myself have sworn, to him shall bowAll knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord:Under his great vice-gerent reign abideUnited, as one individual soul,For ever happy:Him who disobeys,Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day,Cast out from God and blessed vision, fallsInto utter darkness, deep ingulfed, his placeOrdained without redemption, without end.So spake the Omnipotent, and with his wordsAll seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all.That day, as other solemn days, they spentIn song and dance about the sacred hill;Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphereOf planets, and of fixed, in all her wheelsResembles nearest, mazes intricate,Eccentrick, intervolved, yet regularThen most, when most irregular they seem;And in their motions harmony divineSo smooths her charming tones, that God's own earListens 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 turnDesirous; all in circles as they stood,Tables are set, and on a sudden piledWith Angels food, and rubied nectar flowsIn 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 sweetQuaff immortality and joy, secureOf surfeit, where full measure only boundsExcess, before the all-bounteous King, who showeredWith copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaledFrom that high mount of God, whence light and shadeSpring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changedTo grateful twilight, (for night comes not thereIn darker veil,) and roseat dews disposedAll but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest;Wide over all the plain, and wider farThan all this globous earth in plain outspread,(Such are the courts of God) the angelick throng,Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extendBy living streams among the trees of life,Pavilions numberless, and sudden reared,Celestial tabernacles, where they sleptFanned with cool winds; save those, who, in their course,Melodious hymns about the sovran throneAlternate all night long: but not so wakedSatan; so call him now, his former nameIs heard no more in Heaven; he of the first,If not the first Arch-Angel, great in power,In favour and pre-eminence, yet fraughtWith envy against the Son of God, that dayHonoured by his great Father, and proclaimedMessiah King anointed, could not bearThrough pride that sight, and thought himself impaired.Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hourFriendliest to sleep and silence, he resolvedWith all his legions to dislodge, and leaveUnworshipt, unobeyed, the throne supreme,Contemptuous; and his next subordinateAwakening, thus to him in secret spake.Sleepest thou, Companion dear?What sleep can closeThy eye-lids? and rememberest what decreeOf yesterday, so late hath passed the lipsOf Heaven's Almighty.Thou to me thy thoughtsWast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart;Both waking we were one; how then can nowThy sleep dissent?New laws thou seest imposed;New laws from him who reigns, new minds may raiseIn us who serve, new counsels to debateWhat doubtful may ensue:More in this placeTo utter is not safe.Assemble thouOf all those myriads which we lead the chief;Tell them, that by command, ere yet dim nightHer shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste,And all who under me their banners wave,Homeward, with flying march, where we possessThe quarters of the north; there to prepareFit entertainment to receive our King,The great Messiah, and his new commands,Who speedily through all the hierarchiesIntends to pass triumphant, and give laws.So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infusedBad influence into the unwary breastOf 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 night,Now ere dim night had disincumbered Heaven,The great hierarchal standard was to move;Tells the suggested cause, and casts betweenAmbiguous words and jealousies, to soundOr taint integrity:But all obeyedThe wonted signal, and superiour voiceOf their great Potentate; for great indeedHis name, and high was his degree in Heaven;His countenance, as the morning-star that guidesThe starry flock, allured them, and with liesDrew after him the third part of Heaven's host.Mean while the Eternal eye, whose sight discernsAbstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount,And from within the golden lamps that burnNightly before him, saw without their lightRebellion rising; saw in whom, how spreadAmong the sons of morn, what multitudesWere banded to oppose his high decree;And, smiling, to his only Son thus said.Son, thou in whom my glory I beholdIn full resplendence, Heir of all my might,Nearly it now concerns us to be sureOf our Omnipotence, and with what armsWe mean to hold what anciently we claimOf deity or empire:Such a foeIs rising, who intends to erect his throneEqual to ours, throughout the spacious north;Nor so content, hath in his thought to tryIn battle, what our power is, or our right.Let us advise, and to this hazard drawWith speed what force is left, and all employIn our defence; lest unawares we loseThis our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.To whom the Son with calm aspect and clear,Lightning divine, ineffable, serene,Made answer.Mighty Father, thou thy foesJustly hast in derision, and, secure,Laughest at their vain designs and tumults vain,Matter to me of glory, whom their hateIllustrates, when they see all regal powerGiven me to quell their pride, and in eventKnow whether I be dextrous to subdueThy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven.So spake the Son; but Satan, with his Powers,Far was advanced on winged speed; an hostInnumerable as the stars of night,Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sunImpearls on every leaf and every flower.Regions they passed, the mighty regenciesOf Seraphim, and Potentates, and Thrones,In their triple degrees; regions to whichAll thy dominion, Adam, is no moreThan what this garden is to all the earth,And all the sea, from one entire globoseStretched into longitude; which having passed,At length into the limits of the northThey came; and Satan to his royal seatHigh on a hill, far blazing, as a mountRaised on a mount, with pyramids and towersFrom diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold;The palace of great Lucifer, (so callThat structure in the dialect of menInterpreted,) which not long after, heAffecting all equality with God,In imitation of that mount whereonMessiah was declared in sight of Heaven,The Mountain of the Congregation called;For thither he assembled all his train,Pretending so commanded to consultAbout the great reception of their King,Thither to come, and with calumnious artOf counterfeited truth thus held their ears.Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;If these magnifick titles yet remainNot merely titular, since by decreeAnother now hath to himself engrossedAll power, and us eclipsed under the nameOf King anointed, for whom all this hasteOf midnight-march, and hurried meeting here,This only to consult how we may best,With what may be devised of honours new,Receive him coming to receive from usKnee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile!Too much to one! but double how endured,To one, and to his image now proclaimed?But what if better counsels might erectOur minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke?Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bendThe supple knee?Ye will not, if I trustTo know ye right, or if ye know yourselvesNatives and sons of Heaven possessed beforeBy none; and if not equal all, yet free,Equally free; for orders and degreesJar not with liberty, but well consist.Who can in reason then, or right, assumeMonarchy over such as live by rightHis equals, if in power and splendour less,In freedom equal? or can introduceLaw and edict on us, who without lawErr not? much less for this to be our Lord,And look for adoration, to the abuseOf those imperial titles, which assertOur being ordained to govern, not to serve.Thus far his bold discourse without controulHad audience; when among the SeraphimAbdiel, than whom none with more zeal adoredThe Deity, and divine commands obeyed,Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severeThe current of his fury thus opposed.O argument blasphemous, false, and proud!Words which no ear ever to hear in HeavenExpected, least of all from thee,Ingrate,In place thyself so high above thy peers.Canst thou with impious obloquy condemnThe just decree of God, pronounced and sworn,That to his only Son, by right enduedWith regal scepter, every soul in HeavenShall bend the knee, and in that honour dueConfess him rightful King? unjust, thou sayest,Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free,And equal over equals to let reign,One over all with unsucceeded power.Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou disputeWith him the points of liberty, who madeThee what thou art, and formed the Powers of HeavenSuch as he pleased, and circumscribed their being?Yet, by experience taught, we know how good,And of our good and of our dignityHow provident he is; how far from thoughtTo make us less, bent rather to exaltOur happy state, under one head more nearUnited.But to grant it thee unjust,That equal over equals monarch reign:Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count,Or all angelick nature joined in one,Equal to him begotten Son? by whom,As by his Word, the Mighty Father madeAll things, even thee; and all the Spirits of HeavenBy him created in their bright degrees,Crowned them with glory, and to their glory namedThrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured,But more illustrious made; since he the headOne of our number thus reduced becomes;His laws our laws; all honour to him doneReturns our own.Cease then this impious rage,And tempt not these; but hasten to appeaseThe incensed Father, and the incensed Son,While pardon may be found in time besought.So spake the fervent Angel; but his zealNone seconded, as out of season judged,Or singular and rash:Whereat rejoicedThe Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied.That we were formed then sayest thou? and the workOf secondary hands, by task transferredFrom Father to his Son? strange point and new!Doctrine which we would know whence learned: who sawWhen this creation was? rememberest thouThy making, while the Maker gave thee being?We know no time when we were not as now;Know none before us, self-begot, self-raisedBy our own quickening power, when fatal courseHad circled his full orb, the birth matureOf this our native Heaven, ethereal sons.Our puissance is our own; our own right handShall teach us highest deeds, by proof to tryWho is our equal:Then thou shalt beholdWhether by supplication we intendAddress, and to begirt the almighty throneBeseeching or besieging.This report,These tidings carry to the anointed King;And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.He said; and, as the sound of waters deep,Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applauseThrough the infinite host; nor less for thatThe flaming Seraph fearless, though aloneEncompassed round with foes, thus answered bold.O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed,Forsaken of all good!I see thy fallDetermined, and thy hapless crew involvedIn this perfidious fraud, contagion spreadBoth of thy crime and punishment:HenceforthNo more be troubled how to quit the yokeOf God's Messiah; those indulgent lawsWill not be now vouchsafed; other decreesAgainst thee are gone forth without recall;That golden scepter, which thou didst reject,Is now an iron rod to bruise and breakThy disobedience.Well thou didst advise;Yet not for thy advice or threats I flyThese wicked tents devoted, lest the wrathImpendent, raging into sudden flame,Distinguish not:For soon expect to feelHis thunder on thy head, devouring fire.Then who created thee lamenting learn,When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful foundAmong the faithless, faithful only he;Among innumerable false, unmoved,Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;Nor number, nor example, with him wroughtTo swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,Though single.From amidst them forth he passed,Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustainedSuperiour, nor of violence feared aught;And, with retorted scorn, his back he turnedOn those proud towers to swift destruction doomed.






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