Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed]

Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor the abyss
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
Full counsel must mature : Peace is despair'd;
For who can think submission ? War then, war
Open or understood must be resolved.

He spake: and, to confirm his words, out flew
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
Of mighty Cherubim ; the sudden blaze
Far round illumined Hell: highly they raged
Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms
Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war,
Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top
Belch'd fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire
Shone with a glossy scurf; undoubted sign
That in his womb was hid metallic ore,
The work of sulphur. Thither, wing'd with speed,
A numerous brigade hasten'd: as when bands
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe arm’d,
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on;
Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From Heaven ; for e’en in Heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold,
Than ought divine or holy else enjoy'd
In vision beatific: by him first
Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands
Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth
For treasures, better hid. Soon had his crew
Open'd into the hill a spacious wound,
And digg'd out ribbs of gold. Let none admire
That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
Deserye the precious bane. And here let those,
Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings,

Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,
And strength, and art, are easily outdone
By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour,
What in an age they with incessant toil
And hands innumerable scarce perform.
Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
With wondrous art founded the massy ore,
Severing each kind, and scumm'd the bullion dross:
A third as soon had form’d within the ground
A various mould, and from the boiling cells
By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook;
As in an organ, from one blast of wind,
To many a row of pipes the soundboard breathes,

non out of the Earth, a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven;
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo, such magnificence
Equal'd in all their glories, to enshrine
Belus or Serapis, their Gods'; or seat.
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile
Stood fix'd her stately height; and straight the doors,
Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement; from the arched roof
Pendant by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazen cressets, fed
With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky. The hasty multitude
Admiring enter'd and

work some praise,

And some the architect: his hand was known
In Heaven by many a tower'd structure high,
Where sceptred Angels held their residence,
And sat as princes: whom the Supreme King
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard, or unadored,
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 o'er the crystal battlements; from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropp'd from the zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos the Ægean isle : thus they relate,
Erring; for he with his rebellious rout
Fell long before ; nor aught avail'd him now
To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in Hell.

Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command
Of sov'reign power, with awful ceremony
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council, forthwith to be held
At Pandemonium; the high capital
Of Satan and his peers; their summons callid
From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice the worthiest; they anon,
With hundreds and with thousands, trooping came,
Attended : all access was throng'd; the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold
Wont ride in arm'd and at the Soldan's chair
Defied the best of Panim chivalry
To mortal combat, or career with lance,)
Thick swarm'd, both on the ground and in the air
Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »