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PARADISE LOST.

Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent

forth to battle against Satan and his Angels. The first fight described: Satan and his Powers retire under night: He calls a council; invents devilish engines, which, in the second day's fight, put Michael and his Angels to some disorder ; but they at length, pulling up mountains, overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan; Yet, the tumult not so ending, God, on the third day, sends MESSIAH his son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory: He, in the power of his Father, coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them, unable to resist, towards the wall of Heaven: which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the deep: MESSIAH returns with triumph to his Father.

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All night the dreadless Angel, unpursued, [Morn,
Through Heaven's wide champaign held his way; till
Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light. There is a cave
Within the mount of God, fast by his throne, 5
Where light and darkness in perpetual round
Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night; [Heaven
Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour

10
To veil the Heaven, though darkness there might well
Seem twilight here : And now went forth the Morn
Such as in highest Heaven array'd in gold
Empyreal ; from before her vanish'd Night,
Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain 15
Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright,
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:
War he perceived, war in procinct; and found
Already known what he for news had thought

To have reported : Gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly Powers, who him received
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,

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Return'd not lost. On to the sacred hill
They led him high applauded, and present
Before the seat supreme ; from whence a voice,
From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard :

Servant of God, well done ; well hast thou fought
The better fight, who single hast maintain'd
Against revolted multitudes the cause
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms;
And for the testimony of truth hast borne
Universal reproach, fạr worse to bear
Than violence ; for this was all thy care
To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds

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Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
Back on thy foes more glorious to return
Than scorn'd thou didst depart; and to subdue
By force who reason for their law refuse,
Right reason for their law, and for their King
Messiah, who by right of merit reigns.
Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince,
And thou, in military prowess next,
Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sons
Invincible ; lead forth my armed Saints,
By thousands and by millions, ranged for fight,
Equal in number to that Godless crew
Rebellious: Them with fire and hostile arms
Fearless assault ; and, to the brow of Heaven
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss,
Into their place of punishment, the gulf
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
His fiery Chaos to receive their fall.

So spake the Sov'reign Voice, and clouds began
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll
In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign

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Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud
Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow : 60
At which command the Powers militant,
That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate join'd
Of union irresistible, moved on
In silence their bright legions, to the sound
Of instrumental harmony, that breathed
Heroic ardour to adventurous deeds,
Under their Godlike leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move
Indissolubly firm ; nor obvious hill,
Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream divides 70
Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground
Their march was, and the passive air upbore
Their nimble tread: as when the total kind
Of birds, in orderly array on wing,
Came summon'd over Eden to receive
Their names of thee; so over many a tract
Of Heaven they march’d, and many a province wide,
Tenfold the length of this terrene: At last,
Far in the horizon to the north appear'd
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretch'd 80
In battailous aspect, and nearer view,
Bristled with upright beams innumerable
Of rigid spears, and helmets throng'd, and shields
Various, with boastful argument portray'd,
The banded Powers of Satan hasting on
With furious expedition ; for they ween'd
That selfsame day, by fight or by surprise,
To win the mount of God, and on his throne
To set the Envier of his state, the proud
Aspirer ; but their thoughts proved fond and vain 90
In the mid way: Though strange to us it seem'd
At first that Angel should with Angel war,
And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire,

95 Hymning the Eternal Father : but the shout

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110

Of battle now began, and rushing sound
Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
High in the midst, exalted as a god,
The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat, 100
Idol of majesty divine, enclosed
With flaming Cherubim, and golden shields;
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now
'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval, and front to front

105
Presented stood in terrible array
Of hideous length: Before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it join'd,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced,
Came towering, arm'd in adamant and gold;
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores :

O Heaven ! that such resemblance of the Highest Should yet remain, where faith and realty 115 Remain not : Wherefore should not strength and might There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable ? His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid, I mean to try, whose reason I have tried

120 Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just, That he, who in debate of truth hath won, Should win in arms, in both disputes alike Victor; though brutish that contést and foul When reason hath to deal with force, yet so 125 Most reason is that reason overcome.

So pondering, and from his armed peers Forth stepping opposite, half way he met His daring foe, at this prevention more Incensed, and thus securely him defied :

Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reach'd The height of thy aspiring unopposed, The throne of God unguarded, and his side Abandon'd, at the terror of thy power

Or potent tongue : Fool! not to think how vain 135
Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms;
Who out of smallest things could, without end,
Have raised incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or with solitary hand
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow,

140
Unaided, could have finish'd thee, and whelm'd
Thy legions under darkness : but thou seest
All are not of thy train : there be, who faith
Prefer, and piety to God, though then
To thee not visible, when I alone

145 Seem'd in thy world erroneous to dissent From all: My sect thou seest ; now learn too late How few sometimes may know, when thousands err.

Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance, Thus answer'd : Ill for thee, but in wish'd hour 150* Of my revenge, first sought for, thou return'st

Thy merited reward, the first assay
Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue,
Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose

155
A third part of the Gods, in synod met
Their deities to assert; who, while they feel
Vigour divine within them, can allow,
Omnipotence to none. But well thou comest
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

160 From me some plume, that thy success may show Destruction to the rest; This pause between (Unanswer'd lest thou boast,) to let thee know At first I thought that Liberty and Heaven To heavenly souls had been all one; but now 165 I see that most through sloth had rather serve, Ministering Spirits, train'd up in feast and song! Such hast thou arm'd, the minstrelsy of Heaven, Servility with freedom to contend,

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied:

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