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And broken chariot wheels : so thick bestrown,
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He call d so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded. Princes, Potentates,
Warriors, the flower of Heaven, once yours, now lost,
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal Spirits ; or have ye chosen this place
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the conqueror? who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood,
With scatter'd arms and ensigns; till anon
His swift pursuers from heaven-gates discern
The advantage, and, descending, tread us down,
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf.
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!


All these and more came flocking; but with looks
Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appear'd
Obscure, some glimpse of joy, to have found their chief
Not in despair ; which on his countenance cast
Like doubtful hue; but he, his wonted pride
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently rais'd
Their fainting courage, and dispell’d their fears.
Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound
Of trumpets loud and clarions be uprear'd
His mighty standard: that proud honor claim'd
Azazel as his right, a cherub tall ;
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurl'd
The imperial ensign; which, full high advanc'd,
Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich emblaz'd,
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds :
At which the universal host up-sent

A shout, that tore Hell's concave, and beyond Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. All in a moment through the gloom were seen Ten thousand banners rise into the air With orient colors waving : with them rose 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 flutes and soft recorders ; such as rais'd To height of noblest temper heroes old Arming to battle; and instead of rage Deliberate valor breathd, firm and unmou'd With dread of death to flight or foul retreat, Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sòrrow, 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; 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 stature as of gods ; Their number last he sums. And now his heart Distends with pride, and hardening 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 Warr'd on by cranes ; though all the giant brood Of Phlegra with the 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 tower : his form had yet not lost,
All her original brightness ; nor appeard
Less than arch-angel ruin'd, and the excess
Of glory obscurd: 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. Darkend so, yet shone
Above them all the 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.


Nor was his name unheard, or unador'd
In ancient Greece ;—and in Ausonian land
Men call’d him Mulciber ; and how he fell
From heaven, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer oer the crystal battlements. From morn
To noon he fell ;from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropt from the zenith like a falling star.


Their rising all at once was as the sound
Of thunder heard remote.



Meanwhile the adversary of God and man,
Satan, with thoughts inflam'd of highest design,
Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of hell
Explores his solitary flight: sometimes
He scours the right-hand coast, sometimes the left;
Now shaves with level wing the deep; then soars
Up to the fiery concave towering high.
As when far off at sea a fleet descried
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs; they, on the trading flood,
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,
Ply stemming nightly towards the pole: So seemed
Far off the flying Fiend.


The other shape
If shape it might be call d that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd,
For each seem'd either: black it stood as Night,
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful dart; what seem'd his head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat

The monster moving onward came as fast
With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode,
The undaunted Fiend what this might be admir'd,
Admir'd, not feard; God and his Son except,
Created thing naught valued he, nor shunn'd;
And with disdainful look thus first began :-

“Whence and what art thou, execrable shape!
That dar’st, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way

To yonder gates ? through them I mean to pass,
That be assur'd, with leave unask'd of thee:
Retire, or taste thy folly ; and learn by proof,
Hell-born! not to contend with Spirits of Heaven.”

To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied:
“ Art thou that Traitor-angel; art thou he
Who first broke peace in heaven, and faith, till then
Unbroken; and in proud rebellious arms
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons
Conjur'd against the Highest; for which both thou
And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd
To waste eternal days in wo and pain ?
And reckon’st thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven,
Hell-doom'd! and breath'st defiance here and scorn,
Where I reign king, and to enrage thee more,
Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive! and to thy speed add wings,
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart,
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before."

So spake the grizly Terror, and in shape,
So speaking and so threatening, grew ten-fold
More dreadful and deform. On the other side
Incens'd with indignation, Satan stood
Unterrified; and like a comet burn'd,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands
Vo second stroke intend ; and such a frown
Each cast at the other, as when two black clouds
With Heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on
Over the Caspian, then stand front to front,
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow
To join their dark encounter in mid air :
So frown'd the mighty combatants, that hell
Grew darker at their frown ; so match'd they stood;
For never but once more was either like
To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds
Had been achiev'd, whereof all hell had rung,
Had not the snaky Sorceress that sat
Fast by hell-gate, and kept the fatal key,
Risen, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.

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