Page images

Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose
A third part of the Gods, in synod met
Their deities to assert, wht, while they feel
Vigovr divine within ther.i, can allow
Ommpotence to none. But well thou contest
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
From me some plume, that thy suecess may show
Destruction to the rest: this pause between
(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know;
At first I thought that liberty and Heaven
To heavenly souls had been all one; but now
I aen that most through sloth had rather serve,
Ministering spirits, trained up in feast and song!
Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of Heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.'

"To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied,
'Apostate! still thou err'st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote:
Unjustly thou depravest it with the name
Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains,
Or nature: God and nature bid the same,
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels
Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelled
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
Thyself not free, but to thyself inthralled;
Yet lewdly darest our ministering upbraid.
Reign thou in hell thy kingdom; let me serve
In Heaven God ever blest, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obeyed;
Vet chains in hell, not realms expect; meanwhile
From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
This greeting on thy impious erest receive.'

"So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell On the proud erest of Satan, that no sight, Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield, Such ruin intereept: ten paces huge He back recoiled; the tenth on bended knee His mossy spear upstayed; as if on earth Winds under ground, or waters foreing way, Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat, Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seized The rebel thrones, but greater rage, to see Thus foiled their mightiest; ours joy filled, and


Presage of victory, and fieree desire
Of batUe: whereat Michael bid sound
Th' arehangel trumpet; through the vast of heaven
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in Heaven till now
Wis never; arms on armour, clashing brayed
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
(II brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise

"conflict; over head the dismal hiss

1 Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew,
And, flying, vaulted cither host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rushed
Both battles main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage; all Heaven
Resounded, and, had earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder, when
Millions of fieree encountering angels fought
On either side, the least of whom could wield
These elements, and arm him with the foree
Of all their regions: how much more of power
Army against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not the Eternal King omnipotent,
From his strong hold of Heaven, high overruled
And limited their might; though numbered such
As each divided legion might have seemed
A numerous host; in strength each armed hand
A legion; led in fight, yet leader seemed
Each warrior single as in chief, expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
Of battle, open when, and when to close
The ridges of grim war: no thought of fiight,
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argued fear; each on himself relied,
As only in his arm the moment lay
Of victory: deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread
That war and various; sometimes on firm ground
A standing fight, then, soarmg on main wing,
Tormented all the air; all air seemed then
Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale
The battle hung; till Satan, who that day
Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms
No equal, ranging through the dire attack
Of fighting seraphim confused, at length
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felled
Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway
Brandished aloft, the horrid edge came down
Wide wasting; such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and opposed the rockv orb
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,
A vast cireumference. At his approach
The great arehangel from his warlike toil
Sureeased, and glad, as hoping here to end
Intestine war in Heaven, the areh foe subdued.
Or captive dragged in chains, with hostile fronii
And visage all in3amed, first thus began.

"' Author of evil, unknown till thy molt.
Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou srcm
These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
Though heaviest by just measure on thyself
And thy adherents: how hast thou disturbed
Heaven's blessed peace, and into nature brrugl.i
Misery, unereated till the erime
Of thy rebellion! how hast thou instilled
Thy malice into thousands, once upright
And faithful now proved false l But think m/ 'ku«

To trouble holy rert; Heaven casts thee out

From all her confines: Heaven, the seat of bliss,

Brooks not the works of violence and war.

Hence thru, and evil go with thee along,

Thy offspring, to the place of evil, hell;

Thou and thv tricked erew 1 there mingle broils,

Kre thu avengtng sword begin thy doom,

Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God,

Prwipitate thee with augmented pain!'

"So epake the prince of angels; to whom thus The adversary. 'Nor think thou with wind Of airy threats to awe whom yet with deeds Thou canst not. Hast thou turned the least of these To flight, or if to fall, but that they rue Unvanquished, easier to transact with me That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with


To chas e me hence? err not, that so shall end
The strife which thou callest evil, but we style
The strife of glory; which we mean to win,
Or turn this Heaven itself into the hell
Thou fablest; here however to dwell free,
If not to reign: meanwhile thy utmost force,
And join him named Almighty tothyaid,
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.'

"They ended parle, and Kit h addressed for fight
Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue
Of angels, can relate, or to what things
Liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift
Human imagination to such height
Of godlike power? for likest gods they seemed,
Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms,
Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven.
Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields
Blued opposite, while expectation stood
In horror; from each hand with speed retired,
Where erst was thickest fight, the angelic throng,
And left large field, unsafe within the wind
Of such commotion; such as, to set forth
Great things by small, if, nature's concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planets, rushing from aspect malign
Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky
Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound.
Together both with next to Almighty arm
Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aimed
That might determine, and not need repeat,
As not of power at once; nor odds appeared
In might or swift prevention; but the sword
Of Michael, from the armoury of God,
Was given him tempered so, that neither keen
Nor solid might resist that edge: it met
The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite
Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor stayed,
But with swift wheel reverse, deep entering, shared
All his right side: then Satan first knew pain,
And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore
The griding sword with discontinuous wound

Passed through him: but the ethereal substance


Not long divisible; and from the gash
A stream of nectarbus humour issuing flowed
Sanguine, such as celestial spirits may bleed,
And all his armour stained, crewhile so bright.
Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run
By angels many'and strong, who interposed
Defence, while others bore him on their shields
Back to his chariot, where it stood retired
From off the files of war; there they him laid
Gnashing for anguish, and despite and shame,
To find himself not matehless, and his pride
Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath
His confidence to equal God in power.
Yet soon he healed ; for spirits that live throughout
Vital in every part, not as frail man
In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,
Can not but by annibilating die;
Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound
Receive, no more than can the fluid air:
All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear,
All intellect, all sense; and as they please,
They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or stze
Assume as likes them best, condense or rare.

"Meanwhile in other parts like deeds deserved
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,
And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array
Of Moloch, furious king; who him defied,
And at his chariot wheels to drag him bound
Threatened, nor from the Holy One of Heaven
Refrained his tongue blasphemous; but anon,
Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms
And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing
Uriel, and Raphael, his vaunting foe,
Though huge, and in a rock of diamond armed
Vanquished Adramelech and Asmadai,
Two potent thrones, that to be less than Gods
Disdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their

flight, Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and


Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy
The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow
Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence
Of Ramiel, scorched and blasted, overthrew
I might relate of thousands, and their name*
Eternize here on earth; but those elect
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven,
Seek not the pryse of men; the other sort,
In might though wondrous, and in acts of war,
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom
Cancelled from Heaven and saered memory
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
For strength, from truth divided and from just,
Hlaudable, naught merits but dispraise
And ignominy, yet to glory aspires
Vain glorious, and through infamy seeks faun-
Therefore eternal silence be their dorm

"And now, tteir mightiest quelled, the battle In nature none; if other hidden cause


Witu many an inrradgored; deformed rout Entered, and foul disorder; all the ground With shivered armour strown, and on a heap Chariot and charioteer lay overturned, And fiery foaming steeds; what stood recoiled O'er wearied, through the faint satanic host Defensive scaree, or with pale fear surprised, Then first with fear surprised and sense of pain, Fled ignominious, to such evil brought By sin of disobedience; till that hour . Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain. Far otherwise the inviolable saints, In cubic phalanx firm, advanced entire, Invulnerable, impenetrably armed; Such high advantages their innocence Gave them above their foes, not to have sinned, Not to have disobeyed; in fight they stood

Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds and understanding sound,
Due seareh and consultation will disclose.'

"He sat; and in the assembly next uptood Nisroch, of principalities the prime: ! As one he stood escaped from eruel figlit, . Sore toiled, his riven arms to havoc hewn, J And cloudy in aspect thus answering spake. |' Deliverer from new lords, leader to free Enjoyment of our rights as gods; yet hard For gods, and too unequal work tve find, Against unequal arms to fight in pain, Against unpained, impassive; from which evd Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails Valour or strength, though matehless, quelled with


| Which all subdues, and makes remiss the han Js | Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well | Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,

Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pained

By wound, though from their place by violence But live content, which is the calmest life:

moved. I But pain is perfect misery, the worst

'Now night her course began, and over Heaven' Of evils, and excessive, overturns

Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed,

And silence on the odious din of war:

Under her cloudy covert both retired,

Victor and vanquished: on the foughten field

Michael and his angels prevalent

Encamping, placed in guard their watehes round,

Cherubic waving fires: on the other part,

Satan with his rebellions disappeared,

Far in the dark dislodged; and, void of rest,

His potentates tocouncil called by night;

And in the midst thus undismayed began.

"' O now in danger tried, now known in arms Not to be overpowered, companions dear, Found worthy not of liberty alone, Too mean pretence! but, what we more affoct, Honour, dominion, glory, and renown; Who have sustained one day in doubtful figbt (And if one day, why not eternal days?) What Heaven's Lord had power fullest to send Against us from about his throne, and judged Suflicient to subdue us to his will, But proves not so: then fallible, it seems, Of future we may deem him, though till now Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly armed,

, All patience. He who therefore can invent
With what more foreible we may offend
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.'

"Whereto with look composed Satan r 'Not uninvented that, which thou aright Believest so main to our suecess, I bring. Which' of us who beholds the bright surface Of this ctnereous mould whereon we stand, This continent of spacious Heaven, adorned With plant, fruit, flower, ambrosial, gems ... I


Whose eye so superficially surveys
These things as not to mind fromwhencetheyg.uw
Deep underground, materials dark and erude,
Of spirituous and fiery spume, till, touched
With Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot forth
So beauteous, owning to the ambient light 1
These in their dark nativity the deep
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;
Which into hollow engines long and round
Thick rammed, at th' other bore with touch of lire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth

Some disadvantage we endured and pain, - From far, with thundering noise, among ou' fix*

Till now not known, but, known, tut soon con- Such implements of mischief, as shall dash


Sii.ce now we find this our empyreal form
Incapable of mortal injury,
imperishable, and though piereed with wound,
Soon closing, and by native vigour healed.
Of nvil then so small, as easy think
The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
May serve tc better us, and worse our Toes,
,i >»iu:ti what between us made the odds,

To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarntrd
The Thunderer of his only dreaded belt.
Nor long shall lie our labour; yet ere dawn,
Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and council joined
Think nothing hard, much less to be despaired.'

"He ended, and his words their drooping cheer Enlightened, and their languished hope reviml Th' invention all admired, and each, bow i.r

To he the inventor mimed; Bo easy it seemed
Once fountl, which, yet unfound, most would have


Impossible: yet, haply, of thy race
In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one, intent on mischief, or inspired
With devilish machination, might devise
Lite instrument to plague the sons of men
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Forthwith from council to the work they flew;
None arguing stood: innumerable hands
Were ready; in a moment up they turned
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
The originals of nature in their erude
Conception ; sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and with subtle art,
Concocted and adjusted, they reduced
To blarkeyt grain, and into store conveyed:
Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this earth
Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone,
Whereof to found their engines and their balls
Of missive ruin ; part incentive reed
Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
So all, ere dayspring, under conscious night,
Seeret they finished, and in order set,
With silent eireumspection, unespied.
"Now when fair morn orient in Heaven ap-

Up rose the victor angels, and to arms
The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood
Of golden panoply, refulgent host,
Soon banded; others from the dawning hills
Look round, and scouts each coast light armed


Each quarter to desery the distant foe,
When; lodged, or whether fled, or if for fight,
In motion or in halt: him soon they met
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow
But firm battalion ; back with speediest sail
Zophiel, of cherubim the swiftest wing,
Came lining, and in mid air aloud thus eried.

:' Arm. warriors, arm for fight; the foe at hand,
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud
He comes, and settled in his face I sec
Sad resolution and secure: let each
His adamantine coat gird well, and each
Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,
Borne ev'n or high; for this day will pour down,
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower,
But rattling storm of arrows barhed with fire.'
"So warned he them, aware themselves, and


In order quit of all impediment;
Instant without disturb they took alarm,
And onward moved embattled; when, behold!
Xot distant far, with heavy pace the foe
Approaching, gross and huge, in hollow cub
Training his devili>h enginery, impaled

On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
A while; hut suddenly at head appeared
Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud.

"' Vanguard, to right and left the front unfoM
That all may see who hate us, how we seek
Peace and composure, and with open breast
Stand ready to receive them, if they like
Our overture, and turn not back perverse:
But that I doubt; however, witness Heaven!
Heaven, witness thou anon! while we discharge
Freely our part: ye who appointed stand,
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
What we propound,and loud that all may hear!'

"So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scaree Had ended, when to right and left the front Divided, and to either flank retired; Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange, A triple mounted row of pillars laid On wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed, Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir, With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled,) Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths With hideous orifice gaped on us wide, Portending hollow truce: at each behind A seraph stood, and in his hand a reed Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense, Collected stood within our thoughts amused, Not long; for sudden all at once their reeds Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame, But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appeared, From those deep-throated engines belehed, whoae


Embowelled with outrageous noise the air,
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul
Their devilish glut'chained thunderbolts and hail
Of iron globes; which on .the victor host
Levelled, with such impetuous fury smote,
That whom they hit, none on their feet might

stand, Though standing else as rocks, but down they


By thousands, angel on arehangel rolled;
The sooner for their arms; unarmed, they might
Have easily, as spirits, evaded swift
By quick contraction or remove; hut now
Foul dissipation followed, and foreed rout;
Nc-r served it to relax their serried files.
What should they dol if on they rushed, repniV
Repeated, and indecent overthrow
Doubled, would render them yet more despised,
And to their foes a laughter; for in view
Stood ranked of seraphim another row,
n posture to displode their second tie.
Of thunder: hack defeated to return
They worse abhorred. Satan beheld then pughi
And to his mates thus in derision called.

"O friends! why came not on theae victors


Erewhile they fierce were coming; and when we
To entertain them fnir with open front
And breast (what could we more?) propounded


Of composition, straight they changed their minds,
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,
As they would dance; yet for a dunce they seemed
Somewhat extravagant and wild, perhaps
Foi joy of offered peace: hut I suppose,
If our proposals once again were heard,
We should compel them to a quick result.'

"To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood.
'Leader! the terms we sent were terms of weight,
Of hard contents, and full of force urged home,
Such as we might perceive amused them all,
And stumbled many: who receives them right
Had need from head to foot well understand;
Not understood, this gift they have besides,
They show us when our foes walk not upright.'

"So they among themselves in pleasant vein Stood scoffing, heightened in their thoughts beyond All doubt of victory: eternal might To mateh with their inventions they presumed So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn, And all his host derided, while they stood A while in trouble: but they stood not long; Rage prompted them at length, and found them


Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power,
Which God hath in his mighty angels placed!)
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills
(For earth hath this variety from Heaven
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale,)
Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew;
I.'rum their foundations loosening to and fro,
They plucked the seated hills with all their load,
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
Uplifting bore them in their hands: amaze,
lie sure, and terror, seized the rebel host,
When coming towards them so dread they saw
The bottom of the mountains upward turned;
Tdl on those cursed engines' triple row
They saw them whelmed, and all their confidence
Under the weight of mountains buried deep;
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads
Mum promontories flung, which in the air
Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions

amvl; Their armour helped their harm, erushed in and

bruised Into their substance pent, which wrought them


Implacable, and many a dolorous groan;
Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind
Out of such prison. though spirits of purest light,

The rest, in imitation, to like arms
Betook them, and the neighbouring hills uptore;
So hills amid the air encountered hills,
Hurled to and fro with jarulation dire,
That under ground they fought in dismal shade;
Infernal noise! war seemed a civil game
To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped
Upon confusion rose: and now all Heaven
Had gone to wreck, with ruin overspread,
Had not the almighty Father, where he sits
Shrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure
Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
This tumult, and permitted all, advised:
That his great purpose he might so fulfil,
To honour his anointed Son, avenged
Upon his enemies, and to declare
All power on him transferred: whence to hisS«n,
Th' assessor of his throne, he thus began.
"' Eflulgence of my glory, Son beloved,
Son, in whose face invisible is beheld,
Visibly, what by deity I am,
And in whose hand what by deeree I do,
Second Omnipotence! two days are past,
Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven,
Since Michael and his powers went forth to tame
These disobedient: sore hath Iran their fight,
As likeliest was, when two such foes met armed;
For to themselves I left them, and thou knowest,
Equal in their creation they were formed,
Save what sin hath impaired, which yet ball


Insensibly,for I suspend their doom;
Whence in perpetual fight they needs must ',.-.:
Endless, and no solution will be found:
War wearied hath performed what war can do,
And to disordered rage let looso the icins,
With mountains and with weapons armed, which


Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main.
Two days are therefore past, the third is thine; I have ordained it, and thus far
Have suffered, that the glory may be thine
Of ending this great war, since none but Thou
Can end it. Into thee such virtue and grace
Immense I have transfused, that all may know
In Heaven and hell thy power above compare;
And, this perverse commotion governed thus,
To manifest thec worthiest to be heir
Of all things; to be Heir and to be King
By saered unction, by deserved right.
Go then, thou mightiest, in thy Father's might,
Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels
That shake Heaven's basis, bring forth all rav ma
My bow and thunder, my almighty arms
Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh;
Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out
From all Heaven's bounds into the upper deep.
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise

Purest at first, now gims by sinning grown. | God, and Messiah his anointed Kin>;'

« PreviousContinue »