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“To whom, in brief, thus Abdiel stern replied: Apostate! still thou err'st, nor end wilt find Of erring, from the path of truth remote: Unjustly thou depravest it with the name Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains, Or Nature: God and Nature bid the same, When he who rules is worthiest, and excels Them whom he governs. This is servitude, To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebell'd Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, Thyself not free, but to thyself inthrall’d; Yet lewdly darest our ministering upbraid. Reign thou in hell, thy kingdom; let me serve, In heaven, God ever blest, and his divine Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd; Yet chains in hell, not realms, expect: meanwhile, From me return'd, as erst thou saidst, from flight, 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 sight, Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield, Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge He back recoil'd; the tenth on bended knee His massy spear upstay’d; as if, on earth, Winds under ground, or waters forcing way, Sidelong, had push'd a mountain from his seat, Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seized The rebel thrones, but greater rage, to see Thus foild their mightiest ; ours joy fill'd, and shout, Presage of victory, and fierce desire

Or battle : whereat Michaël bid sound
The archangel trumpet; through the vast of heaven
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 shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour, such as heard in heaven till now
Was never; arms on armour clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise
Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew,
And, flying, vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rush'd
Both battles main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage. All heaven
Resounded; and, had earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder? when
Millions of fierce encountering 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
Army 'gainst army, numberless, to raise
Dreadful combustion warring; and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent,
From his strong hold of heaven, high overruled
And limited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem'd
A numerous host; 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 argued fear; each on himself relied,
As only in his arm the moment lay
Of victory. Deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread
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 confused, 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 opposed the rocky orb
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,
A vast circumference. At his approach
The great archangel from his warlike toil
Surceased, 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 inflamed, first thus began:

· Author of evil unknown till thy revolt, Unnamed in heaven, now plenteous, as thou seest

These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
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’a
Thy malice into thousands, once upright
And faithful, now proved false? But think not

here
To trouble holy rest; heaven casts thee out
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 thee 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 named Almighty to thy aid,
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.'

“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 moved, in stature, motion, arms, Fit to decide the empire of great heaven. Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air Made horrid circles: two broad suns their shields Blazed opposite, while Expectation stood In horror: from each hand with speed retired, 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 aspéct malign Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound. Together both, with next to almighty 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

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