Зображення сторінки

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 flight
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

[ocr errors]

Were done, but infinite; for wide was
That war, and various; sometimes on firm ground
A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing,
Tormented all the air; all air seem'd 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 confus'd, at length
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and fell'd
Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway
Brandish'd aloft, the horrid edge came down
Wide-wasting; such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos'd the rocky orb
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,
A vast circumference. At his approach
The great arch-angel from his warlike toil
Surceas'd, and glad, as hoping here to end
Intestine war in heaven, the arch-foe subdued
Or captive dragg'd in chains, with hostile frown

And visage all inflam'd, first thus began:

« Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt Unnam'd in heaven, now plenteous, as thou seest

These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,

[ocr errors]

Guerrier si pare un condottiero, un duce
Sperto a inoltrar, a star, tornar lo sforzo
Della battaglia, aprir, serrare i passi
Di cruda pugna: niun pensier di fuga,
Niun di ritratta, ned un fatto indegno
Che tema accenni; ognuno in se s'affida,
Come in sua mano il gran momento posi
Della vittoria: opre d'eterna fama
Compiérsi ed infinite; ampia si spande
La pugna e varia; ora sul fermo suolo
Lottaro immoti, ora a gran vol spiegando
Tempestan l'aria, e l'aria sembra allora
Turbin di foco. In lance ugual la pugna
Molto pendè, finchè Satan che possa
Quel dì avea mostra ingente, e niuno in armi
Trovato egual, entrato ú più la lotta
Fervea di serafin commisti, alfine

Vide ù la spada di Michel percote,
E squadre a un colpo atterra; alto brandito
Con lena ad ambe man l'orrendo acciaro
Cadea sterminator; ruina tanta
Volò a cessar, ed orbe alpestre oppose
Di decuplo adamante, il suo gran scudo
Vasto e rotondo. Al suo venire il magno
Arcangelo arrestò l'oprar guerriero,
E lieto, omai finir l'interna guerra
Sperando in cielo, vinto o catenato
Il rubel duce, con nemico ciglio,
E volto acceso a dir così comincia:

Autor di mal, pria di tua colpa ignoto Nome nel cielo, ed or si atroce a queste Prove di odiosa guerra, odiosa a tutti,

[ocr errors]

Though heaviest by just measure on thyself,
And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb'd
Heaven's blessed peace, and into nature brought
Misery uncreated till the crime

Of thy rebellion! how hast thou instill'd
Thy malice into thousands, once upright
And faithful, now prov'd false ! but think not here.
To trouble holy rest; heaven, the seat of bliss,
From all her confines: heaven, the seat of bliss,
Brooks not the works of violence and war.
Hence then, and evil go with thee along,
Thy offspring, to the place of evil, Hell;
Thou and thy wicked crew! there mingle broils,
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom,

Or some more sudden vengeance, wing'd from God,
Precipitate the with augmented pain. »

So spake 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 turn'd the least of these

To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise
Unvanquish'd, easier to transact with me

That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats.
To chase me hence? err not, that so shall end
The strife which thou call'st 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 nam'd Almighty to thy aid,
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.


Ma grave più per te e pei tuoi seguaci
Con giusto pondo; a che turbar tu pace
Si bella in cielo, ed in natura addurre
Dannaggi non creati fino al crime
Di tua ribellion? A che il veleno
Tuo reo spirare in tanti un di sì giusti
E fidi, or traditori? L'alma pace

Non creder qui turbare; il ciel ti caccia
Da suoi confini: il ciel di gioia ostello
Opre non vuol di violenza e guerra.
Quinci va dunque e teco vada il male
Tua prole, alla region del male, a inferno;
Tu e tua rea ciurma! ribellion la trama
Pria che il mio ferro ultor la tua condanna
Imprenda, o ratto più il furor di Dio
Tosto ti piombi fra più crudi affanni. »
Si disse il prence angelico; e il nemico
A lui così:

« Non creder tu con vane Minacce d'atterrir chi ancor con l' opre Non potesti. De' miei il men prode hai forse Fugato tu o prostrato, ch' egli invitto Non risorgesse, e me trattar confidi Più facile, imperando, e con minacce Da qui cacciarmi? oh! si, tal fin la pugna Avrà che tu di male, e noi di gloria Pugna chiamiam: vincer vogliamo, o questo Cielo stesso mutare in quello inferno Che vaneggi; pur qui abitar francati Se non regnar. Tue forze estreme e il tuo Onnipossente or chiama a tua difesa ; Non fuggo io già, te ormai di falda in falda. »

They ended parle, and both address'd 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 seem'd,
Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, arms,
Fit to decide the empire of great heaven.

Now way'd their fiery swords, and in the air
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields
Blaz'd opposite, while expectation stood

In horror; from each hand with speed retir'd,
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 almigty arm
Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aim'd
That might determine, and not need repeat,
As not of power at once; nor odds appear'd
In might or swift prevention: but the sword
Of Michael from the armoury of God
Was given him temper'd 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 staid,

But with swift wheel reverse deep entering, shar'd

All his right side: then Satan first knew pain,

« НазадПродовжити »