I love this poem- It’s more like Paradise Found!
Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl, When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep Was aerie light, from pure digestion bred, And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora’s fan, Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song Of birds on every bough. So much the more His wonder was to find unwakened Eve, With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek, As through unquiet rest. He, on his side Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love Hung over her enamoured, and beheld Beauty which, whether waking or asleep, Shot forth peculiar graces; then, with voice Mild 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 field Calls us; we lose the prime to mark how spring Our tended plants, how blows the citron grove, What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, How Nature paints her colours, how the bee Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.”
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye On Adam; whom imbracing, thus she spake:
“O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, My glory, my perfection! glad I see Thy 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 mind Knew never till this irksome night. Methought Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk With gentle voice; I thought it thine. It said, ‘Why sleep’st 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 ways That brought me on a sudden to the Tree Of interdicted Knowledge. Fair it seemed, Much fairer to my fancy than by day; And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven By us oft seen: his dewy locks distilled Ambrosia. 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 ventrous arm He plucked, he tasted. Me damp horror chilled At 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 angelic Eve! Partake thou also: happy though thou art, Happier thou may’st 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 part Which he had plucked: the pleasant savoury smell So quickened appetite that I, methought, Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds With him I flew, and underneath beheld The Earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide And various. Wondering at my flight and change To this high exaltation, suddenly My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, And fell asleep; but, O, how glad I waked To find this but a dream!” Thus Eve her night Related, and thus Adam answered sad:
“Best image of myself, 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 soul Are many lesser faculties, that serve Reason as chief. Among these Fancy next Her office holds; of all external things, Which the five watchful senses represent, She forms imaginations, aerie shapes, Which Reason, joining or disjoining, 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 Fancy wakes To 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 find Of our last evening’s 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 unapproved, and leave No spot or blame behind; which gives me hope That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream Waking thou never wilt 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 imployments rise Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers, That open now their choicest 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 fall From either eye, and wiped them with her hair: Two other precious drops that ready stood, Each in their crystal sluice, he, ere they fell, Kissed as the gracious signs of sweet remorse And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
So all was cleared, and to the field they haste. But first, from under shady arborous roof Soon as they forth were come to open sight Of day-spring, and the Sun—who, scarce uprisen, With wheels yet hovering o’er the ocean-brim, Shot parallel to the Earth his dewy ray, Discovering in wide lantskip all the east Of Paradise and Eden’s happy plains— Lowly they bowed, adoring, and began Their orisons, each morning duly paid In various style; for neither various style Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse, More tuneable than needed lute or harp To add more sweetness. And they thus began:
“These are thy glorious works, Parent of good, Almighty! thine this universal frame, Thus wondrous fair: Thyself how wondrous then! Unspeakable! who sitt’st 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, ye who best can tell, ye Sons of Light, Angels—for ye behold him, and with songs And choral symphonies, day without night, Circle his throne rejoicing—ye in Heaven; On Earth join, all ye creatures, to extol Him 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 crown’st the smiling morn With 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 praise In thy eternal course, both when thou climb’st, And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall’st. Moon, that now meet’st the orient Sun, now fliest, With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies; And ye five other wandering Fires, that move In mystic dance, not without song, reasound His praise who out of Darkness called up Light. Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth Of Nature’s womb, that in quaternion run Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change Vary to our great Maker still new praise. Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise From 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 walk The 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 still To give us only good; and, if the night Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed, Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.”
So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm. On to their morning’s rural work they haste, Among sweet dews and flowers, where any row Of fruit-trees, over-woody, reached too far Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check Fruitless imbraces; or they led the vine To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines Her marriageable arms, and with her brings Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn His barren leaves. Them thus imployed beheld With pity Heaven’s high King, and to him called Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned To travel with Tobias, and secured His marriage with the seven-times-wedded maid.
“Raphael,” said he, “thou hear’st what stir on Earth Satan, from Hell scaped through the darksome Gulf, Hath raised in Paradise, and how disturbed This night the human pair; now he designs In them at once to ruin all mankind. Go, therefore; half this day, as friend with friend, Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade Thou find’st 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 beware He swerve not, too secure: tell him withal His danger, and from whom; what enemy, Late fallen 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, Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.”
So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled All justice. Nor delayed the winged Saint After his charge received; but from among Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood Veiled with his gorgeous wings, upspringing light, Flew through the midst of Heaven. The angelic quires On each hand parting, to his speed gave way Through all the empyreal road, till, at the gate Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide, On golden hinges turning, as by work Divine the sovran Architect had framed. From hence—no cloud or, to obstruct his sight, Star interposed, however small—he sees, Not unconform to other shining globes, Earth, and the Garden of God, with cedars crowned Above all hills; as when by night the glass Of Galileo, less assured, observes Imagined lands and regions in the Moon; Or pilot from amidst the Cyclades Delos or Samos first appearing kens, A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing Now on the polar winds; then with quick fan Winnows the buxom air, till, within soar Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems A phoenix, gazed by all, as that sole bird, When, to enshrine his relics in the Sun’s Bright temple, to Ã†gyptian Thebes he flies. At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise He lights, and to his proper shape returns, A Seraph winged. Six wings he wore, to shade His lineaments divine: the pair that clad Each shoulder broad came mantling o’er his breast With regal ornament; the middle pair Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold And colours dipt in heaven; the third his feet Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail, Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia’s son he stood, And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands Of 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 come Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh, And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm, A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet, Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss. Him, through the spicy forest onward come, Adam discerned, as in the door he sat Of his cool bower, while now the mounted Sun Shot down direct his fervid rays, to warm Earth’s inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs’ And Eve, within, due at her hour, prepared For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please True appetite, and not disrelish thirst Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream, Berry or grape: to whom thus Adam called:
“Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold Eastward among those trees what glorious Shape Comes this way moving; seems another morn Risen on mid-noon. Some great behest from Heaven To us perhaps he brings, and will voutsafe This day to be our guest. But go with speed, And what thy stores contain bring forth, and pour Abundance fit to honour and receive Our heavenly stranger; well may we afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows More 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 gains To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes. But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice To entertain our Angel-guest as he, Beholding, shall confess that here on Earth God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.”
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent What choice to choose for delicacy best, What order so contrived as not to mix Tastes, not well joined, 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 shore In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat Rough or smooth-rined, or bearded husk, or shell, She gathers, tribute large, and on the board Heaps with unsparing hand. For drink the grape She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed She tempers dulcet creams—nor those to hold Wants her fit vessels pure; then strews the ground With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.
Meanwhile our primitive great Sire, to meet His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train Accompanied than with his own complete Perfections; in himself was all his state, More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retin’ue long Of horses led and grooms besmeared with gold Dazzles the crowd and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence, Adam, though not awed, Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, As to a superior nature, bowing low, Thus said: “Native of Heaven (for other place None can than Heaven such glorious Shape contain), Since, by descending from the Thrones above, Those happy places thou hadst deigned a while To want, and honour these, voutsafe with us, Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower To rest, and what the Garden choicest bears To sit and taste, till this meridian heat Be over, and the sun more cool decline.”
Whom thus the angelic Virtue answered mild: “Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such Created, or such place hast here to dwell, As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven, To visit thee. Lead on, then, where thy bower O’ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise, I have at will. “So to the sylvan lodge They came, that like Pomona’s arbour smiled, With flowerets decked and fragrant smells. But Eve, Undecked, save with herself, more lovely fair Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feigned Of three that in Mount Ida naked strove, Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel “Hail!” Bestowed—the holy salutation used Long after to blest Mary, second Eve:
“Hail! Mother of mankind, whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons Than with these various fruits the trees of God Have heaped this table!” Raised of grassy turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round, And on her ample square, from side to side, All Autumn piled, though Spring and Autumn here Danced hand-in-hand. A while discourse they hold— No fear lest dinner cool—when thus began Our Author: “Heavenly Stranger, please to taste These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom All perfect good, unmeasured-out, descends. To us for food and for delight hath caused The Earth to yield: unsavoury 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 faculty 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 sustained 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, unpurged, Vapours not yet into her substance turned. Nor doth the Moon no nourishment exhale From her moist continent to higher Orbs. The Sun, that light imparts to all, receives From all his alimental recompense In humid exhalations, and at even Sups with the Ocean. Though in Heaven the trees Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines Yield nectar—though from off the boughs each morn We brush mellifluous dews and find the ground Covered 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 their viands fell; nor seemingly The Angel, nor in mist—the common gloss Of theologians—but with keen dispatch Of real hunger, and concoctive heat 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 perfect gold, As from the mine. Meanwhile at table Eve Ministered naked, and their flowing cups With pleasant liquors crowned. O innocence Deserving Paradise! If ever, then, Then had the Sons of God excuse to have been Enamoured at that sight. But in those hearts Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy Was understood, the injured lover’s hell.
Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed, Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose In Adam not to let the occasion pass, Given him by this great conference, to know Of things above his world, and of their being Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms, Divine effulgence, whose high power so far Exceeded human; and his wary speech Thus to the empyreal minister he framed:
Inhabitant with God, now know I well They favour, in this honour done to Man; Under whose lowly roof thou hast voutsafed To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, Food not of Angels, yet accepted so As that more willingly thou couldst not seem At Heaven’s high feasts to have fed: yet what compare!”
To whom the wingÃ¨d Hierarch replied: “O Adam, one almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to him return, If not depraved from good, created all Such to perfection; one first matter all, Indued with various forms, various degrees Of substance, and, in things that live, of life; But more refined, more spiritous and pure, As nearer to him placed or nearer tending Each in their several active spheres assigned, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds Proportioned to each kind. So from the root Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves More aerie, last the bright consummate flower Spirits odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit, Man’s nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, To vital spirits aspire, to animal, To intellectual; give both life and sense, Fancy and understanding; whence the Soul Reason receives, and Reason is her being, Discursive, or Intuitive: Discourse 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, Improved by tract of time, and winged ascend Ethereal, as we, or may at choice Here or in heavenly paradises dwell, If ye be found obedient, and retain Unalterably firm his love entire Whose progeny you are. Meanwhile enjoy, Your fill, what happiness this happy state Can comprehend, incapable of more.”
To whom the Patriarch of Mankind replied: “O favourable Spirit, propitious guest, Well hast thou taught the way that might direct Our knowledge, and the scale of Nature set From centre to circumference, whereon, In contemplation of created things, By steps we may ascend to God. But say, What meant that caution joined, If ye be found Obedient? Can we want obedience, then, To him, or possibly his love desert, Who formed us from the dust, and placed us here Full to the utmost measure of what bliss Human desires can seek or apprehend?”
To whom the Angel: “Son of Heaven and Earth, Attend! That thou art happy, owe to God; That thou continuest such, owe to thyself, That is, to thy obedience; therein stand. This was that caution given thee; be advised. God made thee perfect, not immutable; And good he made thee; but to persevere He left it in thy power—ordained thy will By nature free, not over-ruled by fate Inextricable, or strict necessity. Our voluntary service he requires, Not our necessitated. Such with him Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how Can hearts not free be tried whether they serve Willing or no, who will but what they must By destiny, and can no other choose? Myself, and all the Angelic Host, that stand In sight of god enthroned, our happy state Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds. On other surety none: freely we serve, Because we freely love, as in our will To love or not; in this we stand or fall. And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen, And so from Heaven to deepest Hell. Of fall From what high state of bliss into what woe!”
To whom our great Progenitor: “Thy words Attentive, and with more delighted ear, Divine instructor, I have heard, than when Cherubic songs by night from neighbouring hills Aerial music send. Nor knew I not To be, both will and deed, created free. Yet that we never shall forget to love Our Maker, and obey him whose command Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts Assured me, and still assure; though what thou tell’st Hath passed in Heaven some doubt within me move, But more desire to hear, if thou consent, The full relation, which must needs be strange, Worthy of sacred silence to be heard. And we have yet large day, for scarce the Sun Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins His other half in the great zone of heaven.”
Thus Adam made request; and Raphael, After short pause assenting, thus began:
“High matter thou injoin’st me, O prime of Men— Sad task and hard; for how shall I relate To human sense the invisible exploits Of warring Spirits? how, without remorse, The ruin of so many, glorious once And perfect while they stood? how, last, unfold The secrets of another world, perhaps Not lawful to reveal? Yet for thy good This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach Of human sense I shall delineate so, By likening spiritual to corporal forms, As may express them best—though what if Earth Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein Each to other like more than on Earth is thought!
“As yet this World was not, and Chaos wild Reigned where these heavens now rowl, where Earth now rests Upon her centre poised, when on a day (For Time, though in Eternity, applied To motion, measures all things durable By present, past, and future), on such day As Heaven’s great year brings forth, the empyreal host Of Angels, by imperial summons called, Innumerable before the Almighty’s throne Forthwith from all the ends of Heaven appeared Under their hierarchs in orders bright. Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced, Standards and gonfalons, ‘twixt van and rear Stream in the air, and for distinction serve Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees: Or in their glittering tissues bear 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 imbosomed 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 form God and blessed vision, falls Into utter darkness, deep ingulfed, his place Ordained without redemption, without end.’
“So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words All seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all. That day, as other solemn days, they spent In song and dance about the sacred Hill— Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere Of planets and of fixed in all her wheels Resembles, nearest; mazes intricate, Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular Then most when most irregular they seem; And in their motions harmony divine So smooths her charming tones that God’s own ear Listens delighted. Evening now approached (For we have also our evening and our morn— We ours for change delectable, not need); Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn Desirous: all in circles as they stood, Tables are set, and on a sudden piled With Angels’ food; and rubied nectar flows In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold, Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven. On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crowned, They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet Quaff immortality and joy, secure Of surfeit where full measure only bounds Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who showered With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. Now when ambrosial Night, with clouds exhaled From that high mount of God whence light and shade Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed To grateful twilight (for Night comes not there In darker veil), and roseate dews disposed All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest, Wide over all the plain, and wider far Than all this globous Earth in plain outspread (Such are the Courts of God), the Angelic throng, Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend By living streams among the trees of life— Pavilions numberless and sudden reared, Celestial tabernacles, where they slept, Fanned with cool winds; save those who, in their course, Melodious hymns about the sovran Throne Alternate all night long. But not so waked Satan—so call him now; his former name Is heard no more in Heaven. He, of the first, If not the first Archangel, great in power, In favour, and preÃ«minence, yet fraught With envy against the Son of God, that day Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed Messiah, King Anointed, could not bear, Through pride, that sight, and thought himself impaired. Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain, Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved With all his legions to dislodge, and leave Unworshiped, unobeyed, the Throne supreme. Contemptuous, and, his next subordinate Awakening, thus to him in secret spake:
”’Sleep’st thou, companion dear? what sleep can close Thy eyelids? and rememberest what decree, Of yesterday, so late hath passed the lips Of Heaven’s Almighty? Thou to me thy thoughts Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont, to impart; Both waking we were one; how, then, can now Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest imposed; 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 Archangel, 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 Night, Now ere dim Night had disincumbered 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 obeyed 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 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, 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 imploy In our defence, lest unawares we lose This our high place, our Sanctuary, our Hill.’
“To whom the Son, with calm aspect and clear Lightening 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 wingÃ¨d 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 passed, 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 Stretched into longitude; which having passed, 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 declared in sight of Heaven, The Mountain of the Congregation called; 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 Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears:
”’Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers— If these magnific titles yet remain Not merely titular, since by decree Another now hath to himself ingrossed All power, and us eclipsed under the name Of King Anointed; for whom all this haste Of 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 us Knee-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 erect 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 Heaven possessed before 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 His equals—if in power and splendour 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 the abuse Of those imperial titles which assert Our being ordained to govern, not to serve!
“Thus far his bold discourse without control Had audience, when, among the Seraphim, Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored The Deity, and divine commands obeyed, Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe The current of his fury thus opposed:
”’O argument blasphe’mous, false, and proud— Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven 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, pronounced and sworn, That to his only Son, by right endued With regal sceptre, every soul in Heaven 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, One over all with unsucceeded power! Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute With Him the points of liberty, who made Thee what Thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being? Yet, by experience taught, we know how good, And of our good and of our dignity How provident, he is—how far from thought To make us less; bent rather to exalt Our happy state, under one Head more near United. But—to grant it thee unjust That equal over equals monarch reign— Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count, Or all angelic nature joined in one, Equal to him, begotten Son, by whom, As by his Word, the mighty Father made All things, even thee, and all the Spirits of Heaven By him created in their bright degrees, Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers? Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured, But more illustrious made; since he, the head, One of our number thus reduced becomes; His laws our laws; all honour to him done Returns our own. Cease, then, this impious rage, And tempt not these; but hasten to appease The incensÃ¨d Father and the incensed Son While pardon may be found, in time besought.’
“So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal None seconded, as out of season judged, Or singular and rash. Whereat rejoiced The Apostat, and, more haughty, thus replied:
”’That we were formed, then, say’st thou? and the work Of secondary hands, by task transferred From Father to his Son? Strange point and new! Doctrine which we would know whence learned! Who saw When this creation was? Remember’st 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-raised By our own quickening power when fatal course Had circled his full orb, the birth mature Of this our native Heaven, 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 the Almighty Throne Beseeching or besieging. This report, These tidings, carry to the Anointed King; And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.’