Billeder på siden


Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups
With pleasant liquors crown't. O innocence

Deserving Paradise ! if ever, then,
Then had the sons of God excuse to have been
Enamour'd at that fight; but in those hearts
Love untibidinous reign'd, nor jealousy
Was understood, the injur'd lover's helt. 450

Thus when with meats and drinks they had suffic'd, Not burden'd nature, sudden mind arofe In Adam, not to let th' occafion pass Giv'n him by this great conference, to know Of things above his world, and of their be'ing 455 Who dwell in heaven, whose excellence he faw Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms, Divine effulgence, whose high power fo far Exceeded human; and his wary speech Thus to th’empyreal minister he fram'd.

Inhabitant with God, now know I well Thy favour, in this honour done to man, Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsaf'd To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, Food not of angels, yet accepted so,

465 As that more willingly tbou couldlt not seem At heaven's high feasts to' have fed: yet what com

pare? To whom the winged hierarch reply'd. O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom All things proceed. and up to him return, * 470 If not deprav'd from good, created all Such to perfection, one first matter all, Endu'd with various forms, various degrees, Of substance, and in things that live, of life; But more refin'd, more spiritous, and pure, 475 As nearer to him plac'd, or nearer tending, Each in their several active spheres assign'd, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds



saw good

Proportion'd to each kind. So from the root
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves
More aery, last the bright consummate flower 481
Spirits odorous breathes : flow'rs and their fruit,
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale fublim'd,
To vital fpi'rits aspire, to animal,
To intellectual; give both life and sense, 485
Fancy and understanding; whence the soul
Reason receives, and reaton is her being,
Discursive or intuitive ; discourse
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,
Diff'ring but in degree, of kind the fame.
Wonder not then, what God for

If I refuse not, but convert, as you,
To proper substance: time may come, when men
With angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient di'et, nor too light fare;

And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
Improv'd by tract of time, and wing'd ascend
Ethereal, as we, or may at choice
Here or in heav'nly 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 reply'd.
O favourable spi'rit, propitious guest,
Well hast thou taught the

way that might direct Our knowledge, and the scale of nature fet From centre to circumference, whereon, 510 In contemplation of created things, By steps we may ascend to God. But say, What meant that caution join'd, If ye be found


[ocr errors]

Obedient? Can we want obedience then
To him, or possibly his love desert,

Who form'd us from the dust, and plac'd 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;

520 That thou continuest fuch, owe to thyself, That is, to thy obedience; therein stand. This was that caution giv'n thee; be advis’d. God made thee perfect, not immutable; And good he made thee, but to persevere

525 He left it in thy power; ordaind thy will By nature free, not over-ruld by fate Inextricable, or strict necellity: Our voluntary service he requires, Not our necessitated; such with him Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how Can hearts not free be try'd whether they serve Willing or no, who will but what they must By destiny, and can no other chuse? Myself, and all th' angelic hoft, that stand

535 In fight of God'enthron'd, our happy flate 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 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, 545 Divine instructor, I have heard, than when Cherubic songs by night from neighb'ring hills Aereal music fend: 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 whofe command
Single is yet fo juft, my constant thoughts
Assur'd me', and still assure: tho' what thou tellist,
Hath pass'd in heaven, some doubt within me more,
But more delire to hear, if thou consent,

The full relation, which must needs be strange,
Worthy of facred 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 heaven.,

Thus Adam made request; and Raphaël, After short pause asenting, thus began.

High matter thou injoin'ít me', O prime of men, Sad task and hard'; for how shall I relate To human sense th' invisible exploits

SOS Of warring spirits ? how without remorfe The ruin of so many glorious once And perfect while they stood ? how laft unfold The secrets of another world, perhaps Not lawful to reveal ? Yet for thy good

570 This is dispens’d; and what surmounts the reach Of human sense, I fhall delineate so, By likening spiritual to corporal forms, As may express them beit; tho’ what if earthi Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein 575 Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?

As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild Reign'd where these heavens nowroll, where earth now Upon her centre pois’d; when on a day. [refts (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 holt



Of angels, by imperial summons callid,
Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne
Forth with from all the ends of heav'n appear'd
Under their hierarchs in orders bright:
Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanc'd;
Standards and gonfalon's 'twixt van and rear
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve

Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees;
Or in their glittring 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 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 shaji bow All knees in heaven, and shall confess him Lord: Under his great vicegerent reign abide United as one individual foul

610 For ever happy : him who disobeys, Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day Caft 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 all. That day, as other folemn days, they spent

« ForrigeFortsæt »