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“«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 powers of heaven 825 “Such as he pleas'd, and circumscrib'd 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 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 840 “• Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,

“ • Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscur’d,
“But more illustrious made; since he the head,
“ One of our number thus reduc'd, becomes;

" • His laws our laws: all honour to him done 845 " • Returns our own.

Cease then this impious rage,
“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 850 “ None seconded, as out of season judg’d,

“Or singular, and rash: whereat rejoic'd
“ The apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied:

“. 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!
'Doctrine which we would know whence learn'd. Who

855

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; 860 “• Know none before us-self-begot-self-rais’d

By our own quick’ning 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 865 “• 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-
870 “. 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 echo'd to his words applause

Through the infinite host: nor less for that 875 “ The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone,

"Encompass'd round with foes, thus answer'd bold:

“O alienate from God, O spirit accurs'd,
“Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall
“Determin'd, and thy hapless crew involv'd
“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 vouchsaf'd; other decrees

Against thee are gone forth without recal:
“• That golden sceptre, 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
890 « 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, 895 “• When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.'

“ So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found

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Among the faithless—faithful only he; Among innumerable false, unmov'd,

“ Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterrified,
900 “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 pass'd,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustain'd

Superior, nor of violence fear'd aught;
“ And, with retorted scorn, his back he turn'd
“On those proud towers to swift destruction doom’d.

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BOOK VI.

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