Зображення сторінки

Aspirer, but their thoughts prov'd fond and vain
In the mid way: though strange to us it seem'd
At first, that angel should with angel war,
And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimous, as fons of one great fire
Hymning th'eternal Father: but the shout
Of battle now began, and rushing found
Of onset ended foon each milder thought.
High in the midst exalted as a god
Th'apostat in his sun-bright chariot sat
Idol of majesty divine, enclos'd
With flaming cherubim, and golden shields;
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now
'Twixt hoft and host but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval, and front to front.
Presented stood in terrible array
Of hideous.length: before the cloudie van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it join'd,
Satan with vast and haughtie strides advanc't,
Came towring, arm'd in adamant and gold ;
Abdiel that light endur'd not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores.
O heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest i
Should yet remain, where faith and realtie
Remain not; wherefore Mould not strength and might;
There fail where vertue fails, or weakest prove
Where boldest; though to fight unconquerable ! :
His puissance, trusting in th’Almightie's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have tri'd

Unfound and false ; nor is it aught but just,
That he who in debate of truth hath won,
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
Victor ; though brutish that contest and foule,
When reason hath to deal with force, yet so
Most reason is that reason overcome.
So pondering, and from his armed peers
Forth stepping opposite, half way he met
His daring foe, at this prevention more
Incens't, and thus securely him defi’d.

Proud, art thou met ?. thy hope was to have reacht
The highth of thy aspiring unoppos'd,
The throne of God unguarded, and his side
Abandon'd at the terror of thy power
Or potent tongue ; fool, not to think how vain
Against th'Omnipotent to rise in arms ;
Who out of smallest things. could without end
Have rais’d incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or with solitarie hand
Reaching beyond all limit at one blow
Unaided could have finish't thee, and whelm'd
Thy legions under darkness; but thou seeft
All are not of thy train; there be who faith
Prefer, 'and pietie to-God, though then
To thee not visible, when I alone
Seem'd in thy world erroneous to diffent
From all : my sect thou leest, now learn too late
How few sometimes may know, when thoufands err.

Whom the grand fee with fcornful eye afkance
Thus answer'd. Ill for thee, but in wifht hour
Of my revenge, first fought for thou returnst

[ocr errors]

From Aight, feditious angel, to receive
Thy merited reward, the first assay
Of this right hånd provok’t, since first that tongue
Inspir’d with contradiction durst oppose
A third part of the Gods, in fynod met
Their deities to affert, who while they feel
Vigour divine within them, can allow
Omnipotence to none. But well thou comst
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
From me some plume, that thy success may show
Destruction to the rest : this pause between
(Unanswer'd least thou boast) to let thee know;
At first I thought that liberty and heav'n
To heav'ni?

souls had been all one ; but now
I see that most through noth had rather serve,
Ministring spirits, traind up in feast, and fong ;
Such haft thou arm'd, the minstrelfie of heav'n,
Sérvilitie with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove.
To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern repli’d.
A postát, fill thou err'it, nòr end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote :
Unjustly thou’deprav'st it with the name
Of servitude to serve whom God ordains,
Or nature; Gòd and nature bid the same,
When he who rules is worthiest, and excells
Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
To serve th’unwise, or him who hath rebellid :
Against his worthier, as thine.now serve thee,»
Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralld;
Yet leudly darst our ministring upbraid,

[ocr errors]

Reign thou in hell thy kingdom, let me ferve In heav'n God ever blest, and his divine Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd, Yet chains in hell, not realms expect : mean while From me return'd as erst thou saidft, from fight, This greeting on thy impious crest receive. . So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell On the proud crest of Satan, that no fight, Nor motion of swift thought, less could his field Such ruin intercept : ten paces huge He back recoil'd; the tenth on bended knee His massie spear upstaid ; as if on earth Winds under ground or waters forcing way Sidelong, had puth't a mountain from his feat Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd The rebel thrones, but greater rage to see Thus foild their mightiest, ours joy filld, and hout, Presage of victory and fierce desire Of battle : whereat Michael bid found Th’arch-angel trumpet; through the vast of heav'n It sounded, and the faithful armies rung Hosanna to the highest: nor stood at gaze The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd The horrid Thock : now storming fury rose, And clamour such as heard in heav'n till now Was never, arms on armour clashing bray'd Horrible discord and the madding wheels Of brazen chariots rag'd ; dire was the noise Of conflict ; over head the dismal hiss Of fiery darts in fiaming volies few,

And flying vaulted either host with fire,
So under fierie cope together rush'd
Both battles maine, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage ; all heav'n
Refounded, and had earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre Mook, what wonder? when
Millions of fierce encountring angels fought
On either side, the least of whom could wield
These elements, and arm him with the force
Of all their regions : how much more of power
Armie against armie numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happie native seat;
Had not th'eternal King omnipotent
From his strong hold of heav'n high over-rul'd
And limited their might ; though number'd fuch
As each divided legion might have seem'd
A numerous hoft, in strength each armed hand
A legion, led in fight, yet leader seem'd
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 argu;d fear; each on himself reli’d,
As onely in his arm the moment lay
Of victorie ; deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite : for wide was spred
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

« НазадПродовжити »