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A forest huge of spears, and thronging helms
Appear’d, and serried shields in thick array
Of depth immeasurable: anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
Of Autes and soft recorders; such as rais'd
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle, and instead of rage
Deliberate valour breath’d, firm and unmov'd
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat ; 555
Nor wanting pow'r to mitigate and swage
With solemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow' and pain
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they
Breathing united force with fixed thought
Mov'd on in silence to soft pipes, that charm'd
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; and now
Advanc'd in view they stand, a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old with order'd spear and shield, 563
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose : He through the armed files
Darts his experienc'd eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views, their order due,
Their visages and statures as of Gods,
Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and hard’ning in his strength
Glories : for never since created man,
Met such embodied force, as nam'd with these
Could merit more than that small infantry 575
Warr’d on by cranes ; though all the giant brood

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Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were join'd
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side
Mix'd with auxiliar Gods; and what resounds
In fable or romance of Uther's son,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptiz’d or infidel,
Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
When Charlemain with all his peerage

fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd
Their dread commander : he above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a tow'r; his form had not yet lost
All her original brightness, nor appear'd
Less than Arch-Angel ruin'd, and th' excess
Of glory' obscur’d; as when the sun new risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon
In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darken'd so, yet shone
Above them all th’ Arch-Angel : but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd, and care

Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
* Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge : cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather

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(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain,
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc'd
Of Heav'n, and from eternal splendours fung 610
For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither’d: as when Heav'n's fire
Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth though bare
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepar'd
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half inclose him round
With all his peers : attention held them mute.
Thrice he assay'd, and thrice in spite of scorn
Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth : at last 620
Words interwove with sighs, found out their way.

O MYRiads of immortal Spi'rits, O Powers
Matchless, but with th' Almighty, and that strife
Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire,
As this place testifies, and this dire change,
Hateful to utter : but what pow'r of mind,
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd,
How such united force of Gods, how such
As stood like these, could ever know repulse ?
For who can yet believe, though after loss,
That all these puisant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied Heav'n, shall fail to re-ascend
Self-rais'd, and repossess their native seat?
For me be witness all the host of Heav'n,

635 If counsels different, or dangers shunn'd

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By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns
Monarch in Heav'n, till then as one secure
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute,
Consent or custom, and his regal state

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Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal'd,
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own,
So as not either to provoke, or dread
New war, provok'd; our better part remains 645
To work in close design, by fraud or guile,
What force effected not : that he no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife 650
There went a fame in Heav'n that he ere long
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation, whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the sons of Heaven :
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere :
For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial Spi'rits in bondage, nor th' abyss
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
Full counsel must mature : Peace is despair'd, 660
For who can think submission ? War, then, War
Open or understood must be resolv’d.

He spake : and to confirm his words, out flew
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
Of mighty Cherubim ; the sudden blaze
Par round illumin'd Hell: highly they rag'd

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Against the High'est, and fierce with grasped arms
Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war,
Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 670
Belch'd fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire
Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign
That in his womb was hid metallic ore,
The work of sulphur. Thither wing'd with speed
A numerous brigade hasten'd: as when bands
Of pioneers with spade and pickax arm'd
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on,
Mammon, the least erected Spi'rit that fell
From Heav'n, for e'en in Heav'n his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more 681
The riches of Heav'n's pavement, trodden gold,
Than ought divine or holy else enjoy'd
In vision beatific: by him first
Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands
Rifled the bowels of their mother earth
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
Open'd into the hill a spacious wound,
And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire 690
That riches grow in Hell; that soil may

best Reserve the precious bane. And here let those Who boast in mortal things, and wond'ring tell Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,

695 And strength and art are easily out-done

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