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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 infus'd
Bad influence into th' 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 disencumber'd Heav'n,
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 obey'd
The wonted signal, and superior voice
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
Meanwhile th' Eternal eye, whose sight discerns
Abtrusest 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

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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 pow'r 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 aspéct and clear,
Light'ning divine, ineffable, serene,

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Made answer. 'Mighty Father, thou thy foes 735
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
Giv'n me to quell their pride, and in event
Know whether I be dext❜rous to subdue
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heav'n.'
"So spake the Son; but Satan with his
Far was advanc'd on winged speed; an host
Innumerable as the stars of night,

powers

Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun
Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
Régions they pass'd, 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
Stretch'd into longitude; which having pass'd,
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
Rais'd on a mount, with pyramids and towers
From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gokl;
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,

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In imitation of that mount whereon
Messiah was declar'd in sight of Heav'n,
The Mountain of the Congregation call'd;
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 engross'd

All power, and us eclips'd, 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 devis'd of honours new,
Receive him coming, to receive from us
Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile,
Too much to one, but double how endur'd,
To one and to his image now proclaim'd?
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 Heav'n possess'd 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 pow'r and splendor 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 th' abuse
Of those imperial titles, which assert
Our being ordain'd to govern, not to serve.'

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"Thus far his bold discourse without controul
Had audience; when among the seraphim
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal ador'd
The Deity', and divine commands obey'd,
Stood up, and, in a flame of zeal severe,
The current of his fury thus oppos'd.

"O argument blasphemous, false, and proud!
Words which no ear ever to hear in Heav'n
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, pronounc'd 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 form'd the pow'rs of Heaven
Such as he pleas'd, and circumscrib'd their being? 825
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:

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Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count, Or all angelic nature join'd 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,

Crown'd them with glory', and to their glory nam'd
Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers,
Essential pow'rs; nor by his reign obscur'd,
But more illustrious made: since he, the head,

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One of our number thus reduc'd becomes;
His laws our laws; all honour to him done
Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage, 845
And tempt not these; but hasten to appease
Th' incensed Father, and th' incensed Son,
While pardon may be found, in time besought.'
"So spake the fervent angel; but his zeal
None seconded, as out of season judg'd,
Or singular and rash; whereat rejoic'd
Th' apostate, and more haughty thus reply'd.
"That we were form'd then, say'st thou? and the work
Of secondary hands, by task transferr'd

From Father to his Son? strange point and new! 855 Doctrine which we would know whence learn'd: 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-rais'd
By our own quick'ning pow'r, when fatal course
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native Heav'n, etherial 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 th' almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings, carry to th' anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.'

"He said, and, as the sound of waters deep,
Hoarse murmur echo'd to his words applause
Through the infinite host; nor less for that
The flaming seraph, fearless, though alone
Encompass'd round with foes, thus answer'd bold.
"O alienate from God, O spi'rit accurs'd,
Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall
Determin'd, and thy hapless crew involv'd
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread

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