Obrázky na stránke


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 fall'n, to disobedience fall'n,
And so from Heav'n to deepest Hell. O fall,
From what high state of bliss into what woe!

To whom our great progenitor: Thy words Attentive, and with more delighted ear,

Divine Instructor, I have heard, than when


Cherubic songs by night from neighb'ring hills

Aereal music send: nor knew I not

To be both will and deed created free;
Yet that we never shall forget to love
Our Maker, and obey him whose command
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts
Assur'd me', and still assure: tho' what thou tell'st
Hath pass'd in Heav'n, some doubt within me




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 finish'd half his journey', and scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of Heav'n. 560
Thus Adam made request: and Raphael,

After short pause, assenting, thus began:
High matter thou enjoin'st me', O prime of


Sad task and hard; for how shall I relate

To human sense th' invisible exploits


Of warring Spirits? How without remorse
The ruin of so many, glorious once

And perfect while they stood? How last unfold
The secrets of another world, perhaps

Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good


This is dispens'd; and what surmounts the reach
Of human sense, I shall delineate so,
By lik'ning spiritual to corp'ral forms,
As may express them best: tho' what if Earth
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 now rests

Upon her centre pois'd; when on a day

(For time, though in eternity, apply'd


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 call'd,


Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne
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 glitt❜ring tissues bear emblaz'd
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 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,
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues,



Hear my decree, which unrevok'd 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 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 vicegerent reign abide

United as one individual soul,


[ocr errors]

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 ingulph'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 all.

That day, as other solemn days, they spent
In song and dance about the sacred hill;
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere 620
Of planets and of fix'd in all her wheels

[ocr errors]

Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,
Eccentric, intervolv'd, yet regular

Then most, when most irregular they seem;
And in their motions harmony divine 625
Sosmooths her charming tones, that God's own ear
Listens delighted. Ev'ning now approach'd
(For we have also' our ev'ning and our morn,
We ours for change delectable, not need)
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn
Desirous; all in circles as they stood,

Tables are set, and on a sudden pil'd


With Angels food, and ruby'd nectar flows
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heav'n.
On flow'rs repos'd, and with fresh flow'rets



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



With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhal'd
From that high mount of God, whence light and

Spring both, the face of brightest Heav'n had


To grateful twilight (for night comes not there In darker veil) and roseate dews dispos'd

All but th' unsleeping eyes of God to rest;

[blocks in formation]


Wide over all the plain, and wider far
Than all this globous earth in plain outspread
(Such are the courts of God) th' angelic throng,
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

Fann'd with cool winds; save those who in

their course

655 Melodious hymns about the sov'reign throne Alternate all night long: but not so wak'd Satan; so call him now, his former name Is heard no more in Heav'n; he of the first, If not the first Arch-Angel, great in pow'r, 660 In favour, and pre-eminence, yet fraught With envy 'gainst the Son of God, that day Honour'd by his great Father, and proclaim'd Messiah King anointed, could not bear Through pride that sight, and thought himself impair'd.


Deep malice thence conceiving, and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolv'd
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshipp'd, unobey'd the throne supreme 670
Contemptuous, and his next subord'nate
Awak'ning, thus to him in secret spake :
Sleep'st thou, companion dear? What sleep
can close

Thy eye-lids? and remember'st what decree

« PredošláPokračovať »