Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanic host
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surpris'd,
Then first with fear surpris'd, 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, advanc'd entire,
Invulnerable, impenetrably arm'd;

Such high advantages their innocence

Gave them above their foes; not to have sinn'd,
Not to have disobey'd; in fight they stood

Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'd

By wound, though from their place by violence mov'd.
Now night her course began, and over heaven
Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos'd,
And silence on the odious din of war:

Under her cloudy covert both retir'd,
Victor and vanquish'd. On the foughten field
Michael and his angels prevalent

Encamping, plac'd in guard their watches round,
Cherubic waving fires: on the other part,
Satan with his rebellious disappear'd,

Far in the dark dislodg'd; and, void of rest,
His potentates council call'd by night;
And in the midst thus undismay'd began:

« O now in danger tried, now known in arms
Not to be overpower'd, companions dear,
Found worthy not of liberty alone,

Too mean pretence! but what we more affect,
Honour, dominion, glory and renown;
Who have sustain'd one day in doubtful fight,

Chi stava ancor; più l'oste di Satano
Schermo non ha, e da pallida paura

"

Compresa allor la prima volta e senso
Di duol fuggì scornata; a tanto addotta
Da pravo inobbedir, benchè finora
Non vinta mai da tema o fuga o pena.
Con altra sorte i fidi stuoli avanzano
In cubica falange salda integra,
Invulneranda e impenetranda in arme;
Di tanto l'innocenza lor li estolle
Sui lor nemici; ei non peccar, nè alteri
Disobbediro; e in pugna stero invitti
Non servi a piaga o a duol, sebben dal loco
Loro talor per violenza mossi.

Ma già la notte incombe e di tenebra
Velando il ciel, gioconda tregua impone
E silenzio all'odiato suon di guerra;
Sotto il suo nero ammanto entrambi accoglie
E vinto e vincitore. Sul pugnato
Campo Michele i suoi vincenti spirti
Accampando, locò a sue guardie intorno
Cherubi fiammeggianti. All' altro lato -
Si dileguò Satan co' suoi rubelli

Lontan sloggiando al buio; e inquieto i suoi
Grandi chiamò per assemblea notturna,
Ove tra lor si intrepido comincia:

«Or ne' perigli corsi, or noto è in arme
L'alto vostro valor, compagni amati,
Ben degni inver di libertà non solo,
Si chiesta a dritto, ma qual più bramiamo,
D'onor, d'impero, d'alta gloria e fama;
Voi sosteneste un giorno in dubbia pugna.

[ocr errors]

(And if one day, why not eternal days?)
What heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send
Against us from above his throne, and judg'd
Sufficient 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 arm'd,
Some disadvantage we endur'd and pain,

Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemn'd;
Since now we find this our empyreal form

Incapable of mortal injury,

Imperishable, and, though pierc'd with wound,
Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
Of evil then so small as easy think
The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
Or equal what between us made the odds,
In nature none: if other hidden cause
Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose. »

He sat; and in the assembly next upstood
Nisroch, of principalities the prime ;

As one he stood escap'd from cruel fight,
Sore toil, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And cloudy in aspect thus answering spake :

« Deliverer from new lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right as gods; yet hard
For gods, and too unequal work we find,
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain'd, impassive; from which evil

[ocr errors]

(E se un giorno, perchè non giorni eterni?)
Quanto il Signor del ciel di maggior possa
Contro ne spinse dal suo trono, e tanto
Stimollo a soggiogarne ai suoi voleri,
Ma tal non fu; fallibil dunque, ei sembra,
È in preveder chi noi finor pensammo
Tutto saper. Men fermi, è vero, in arme
Durammo alcun svantaggio e duolo ignoto
Finor, ma che spreggiar sapemmo ancora ;
Chè omai proviam la nostra empirea forma
Non serva a letal danno, ed immortale,
E benchè scissa da ferite, tosto

Si salda e per natio vigor risana.
Di mal si poco ancor cercare è lieve
Il rimedio più forse valide armi,
Più violenti dardi in nuova pugna
Meglio diranno a noi, peggio al nemico,
O fato egual; chè egual ci die' natura
La forza: chè s' altra cagione occulta
Li fe' maggiori, or che serbiamo illese
Le nostre menti e l'intelletto intégro
Studio atto a noi la scoprirà e consiglio. »

Ei sede; e presso a lui in senato alzossi
Nisroco, fra que' prenci a niun secondo;
Ei ste', qual chi campato a cruda lotta,
Dolorando, con armi peste e infrante,
E nubiloso in volto si rispose:

« Liberator da nuovi donni, e duce A francar la ragion di numi; è dura Per numi ancor, troppo, è ineguale impresa, Pugnar contro armi disuguali in duolo, Contro chi duol non può patir; ruina

Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails

Valour or strength, though matchless, quell'd with pain
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
Of mightiest! Sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
But live content, which is the calmest life;
But pain is perfect misery, the worst

Of evils, excessive, overturns

All patience. He, who therefore can invent
With what more forcible 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 compos'd Satan replied;
«Not uninvented that, which thou aright
Believ'st so main to our success, I bring.
Which of us who heholds the bright surface
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand,
This continent of spacious heaven, adorn'd
With plan, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold:
Whose eye so superficially surveys

These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till, touch'd
With heaven's ray, and temper'd, they shoot forth
So beauteous, opening to the ambient light?
These in their dark nativity the deep
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;
Which, into hollow engines, long and round,
Thick ramm'd, at the other bore with touch of fire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth

From far, with thundering noise, among our foes

« НазадПродовжити »