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Paradise Lost: Book 05

Written by: John Milton | Biography
 | Quotes (101) |
 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 aery-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 tender 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 embracing, 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 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 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 venturous arm 
He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour 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 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 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, aery 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 mimick 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 unreproved, and leave 
No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope 
That 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 rise 
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers 
That 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 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 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 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 wonderous fair; Thyself how wonderous 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, 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 crownest 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 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 move 
In mystick dance not without song, resound 
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 embraces: or they led the vine 
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines 
Her marriageable arms, and with him brings 
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn 
His barren leaves. Them thus employed 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 seventimes-wedded maid. 
Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth 
Satan, from Hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf, 
Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed 
This night the human pair; how 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 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 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, up springing light, 
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick 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 unconformed 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 reliques in the Sun's 
Bright temple, to Egyptian 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 vouchsafe 
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 we may afford 
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow 
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies 
Her fertile growth, and by disburthening 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 juciest 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 Punick coast, or where 
Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat 
Rough, or smooth rind, 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 these to hold 
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground 
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed. 
Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet 
His God-like 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 retinue long 
Of 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 place 
None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain; 
Since, by descending from the thrones above, 
Those happy places thou hast deigned a while 
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe 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 angelick 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 recompence 
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 empirick alchemist 
Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, 
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold, 
As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve 
Ministered naked, and their flowing cups 
With pleasant liquours 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 
Thy favour, in this honour done to Man; 
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed 
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 winged 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, 
Endued 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 aery, 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. Mean while 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 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 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 angelick 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; O fall 
From what high state of bliss, into what woe! 
To whom our great progenitor. Thy words 
Attentive, and with more delighted ear, 
Divine instructer, I have heard, than when 
Cherubick songs by night from neighbouring hills 
Aereal musick 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 tellest 
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 enjoinest 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 a 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 roll, where Earth now rests 
Upon her center 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 vice-gerent reign abide 
United, as one individual soul, 
For ever happy: Him who disobeys, 
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day, 
Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls 
Into utter darkness, deep 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, 
Eccentrick, 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 roseat 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 angelick 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 Arch-Angel, great in power, 
In favour and pre-eminence, 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 
Unworshipt, unobeyed, the throne supreme, 
Contemptuous; and his next subordinate 
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake. 
Sleepest thou, Companion dear? What sleep can close 
Thy eye-lids? 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 Arch-Angel, and infused 
Bad influence into the unwary breast 
Of his associate: He together calls, 
Or several one by one, the regent Powers, 
Under him Regent; tells, as he was taught, 
That the Most High commanding, now ere 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 superiour 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. 
Mean while 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 employ 
In our defence; lest unawares we lose 
This 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 foes 
Justly hast in derision, and, secure, 
Laughest at their vain designs and tumults vain, 
Matter to me of glory, whom their hate 
Illustrates, when they see all regal power 
Given me to quell their pride, and in event 
Know whether I be dextrous to subdue 
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven. 
So spake the Son; but Satan, with his Powers, 
Far was advanced on winged speed; an host 
Innumerable as the stars of night, 
Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun 
Impearls on every leaf and every flower. 
Regions they 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 magnifick titles yet remain 
Not merely titular, since by decree 
Another now hath to himself engrossed 
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 controul 
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 blasphemous, 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 scepter, every soul in Heaven 
Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due 
Confess 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 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 angelick 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 incensed 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 Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied. 
That we were formed then sayest 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? rememberest 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. 
He said; and, as the sound of waters deep, 
Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause 
Through the infinite host; nor less for that 
The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone 
Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold. 
O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed, 
Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall 
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved 
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread 
Both of thy crime and punishment: Henceforth 
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke 
Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws 
Will not be now vouchsafed; other decrees 
Against thee are gone forth without recall; 
That golden scepter, which thou didst reject, 
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break 
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise; 
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly 
These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath 
Impendent, raging into sudden flame, 
Distinguish not: For soon expect to feel 
His 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 found 
Among 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 wrought 
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind, 
Though single. From amidst them forth he passed, 
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained 
Superiour, nor of violence feared aught; 
And, with retorted scorn, his back he turned 
On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed.



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