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Be but the shadow of Heav'n, and things therein Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?

As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild Reign'd where these Heav'ns now roll, where Earth Upon her centre pois’d; when on a day [now rests (For time, though in eternity, apply'd 580 To motion, measures all things durable By present, past, and future) on such day As Heav'n's great year brings forth, th' empyreal Of angels by imperial summons calld, [host Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne 585 Forthwith from all the ends of Heav'n appear’d Under their hierarchs in orders bright: Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanc’d, Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear Stream in the air, and for distinction serve 590 Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees; Or in their glittering tissues bear imblaz'd Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs Of circuit inexpressible they stood,

595 Orb within orb, the Father infinite, By whom in bliss imbosom’d sat the Son, Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top Brightness had made invisible, thus spake. Hear all ye angels, progeny of Light,

600 Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues,

Powers,
Hear my decree, which unrevok'd shall stand,
This day I have begot whom I declare

My oniy Son, and on this holy hill
Him have anointed, whom ye now behold 605
At my right hand; your head I him appoint ;
And by myself 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 soul

610
For ever happy : him who disobeys,
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day
Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls
Into utter darkness, deep ingulf'd, his place
Ordain'd without redemption, without end. 615

So spake th' Omnipotent, and with his words All seem'd well pleas'd; all seem'd, but were not That day, as other solemn days, they spent (all. In song and dance about the Sacred Hill; Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere 620 Of planets and of fix'd in all her whcels Resembles nearest, mazes intricate, Eccentric, intervolv’d, yet regular Then most, when most irregular they seem ; And in their motions Harmony divine

625 So smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear Listens delighted. Evening now approach'd (For we have also' our evening and our morn, We ours for change delectable, not need) Forthwith from dance so sweet repast they turn 630 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 massy gold,

634 Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heav'n. On flow’rs repos’d, and with fresh flow'rets crown'd, They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet Quaff immortality and joy, secure Of surfeit where full measure only bounds Excess, before th' all-bounteous King, who shower'd With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. 641 Now when ambrosial Night with clouds exhald From that high mount of God, whence light and

shade Spring both, the face of brightest heav'n bad chang'd To grateful twilight (for night comes not there In darker veil) and roseat dews dispos’d 646 All but th’ 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) th' gel trong, Dispers'd in bands and files, their camp extend By living streams among the trees of Life, Pavilions numberless, and sudden rear'd, Celestial tabernacles, where they slept 654 Fann'd with cool winds; save those who in their Melodious hymns about the sovran throne (course 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 atch-angel, great in power,

660 In favor and præeminence, yet fraught With envy against the Son of God, that day

Honor'd by his great Father, and proclaim'd Messiah King anointed, could not bear 664 Through pride that sight, and thought himself im Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain, [pair'd. Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolvid With all his legions to dislodge, and leave Unworshipt, unobey'd the throne supreme 670 Contemptuous, and his next subordinate Awakening, thus to him in secret spake.

Sleep'st thou, Companion dear; what sleep can Thy eye-lids ? and remember'st what decree [close Of yesterday, so late hath pass'd the lips 675 Of Heav'n's Almighty. Thou to me thy thoughts Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart ; Both waking we were one; how then can now Thy sleep dissent ? New laws thou scest impos'd; New laws from him who reigns, 'new minds may

raise In us who serve, new counsels, to debate What doubtful may ensue: more in this place To utter is not safe. Assemble thou Of all those myriads which we lead the chief; Tell them that by command, ere yet dim Night Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste, And all who under me their banners wave, Homeward with flying march where we possess The quarters of the North; there to prepare Fit entertainment to receive our King The great Messiah, and his new commands,

680

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Who speedily through all the hierarchies
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.

So spake the false arch-angel, and infus'd
Bad influence into th' unwary breast

695 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 disencumber'd Heav'n, The great hierarchal standard was to move ; 701 Tells the suggested cause, and casts between Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound Or taint integrity: but all obey'd The wonted signal, and superior voice 705 Of their great Potentate; for great indeed His name, and high was his degree in Heav'n; His count’nance, as the morning star that guides The starry flock, allur'd them, and with lies Drew after him the third part of Heav'n's host. 710 Mean while th' eternal Eye, whose sight discerns Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount And from within the golden lamps that burn Nightly before him, saw without their light Rebellion rising, saw in whom, how spread 715 Among the sons of Morn, what multitudes Were banded to oppose his high decrees ; And smiling to his only Son thus said.

Son, thou in whom my glory I behold In full resplendence, heir of all my might, 720 Nearly it now.concerns us to be sure

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VOL. I.

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