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Of Phlegra with th'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,

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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

590
Stood like a tow'r; his form had not yet lost
All her original brightness, nor appear'd
Less than Arch-Angel ruin'd, and th' excess
Of glory' obscur'd; 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. Darken'd so, yet shone
Above them all th’ Arch-Angel : but his face 600
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: cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather

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(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain,
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc’d
Of Heav'n, and from eternal splendours flung 610
For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither'd: as when Heav'n's fire
Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth though bare
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepard
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half inclose him round
With all his peers : attention held thein mute.
Thrice he assay'd, and thrice in spite of scorn
Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth : at last 620
Words interwove with sighs found out their way.

O Myriads of immortal Spi'rits, O Powers
Matchiess, but with th’ Almighty, and that strife
Was not inglorious, though th’ event was dire,
As this place testifies, and this dire change,
Hateful to utter: but what pow'r of mind,
Fereseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd,
How such united force of Gods, how such
As stood like these, could ever know repulse ? 630
For who can yet believe, though after loss,
That all these puisant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied Heav'n, shall fail to re-ascend
Self-rais'd, and repossess their native seat?
For me be witness all the host of Heav'n,
If counsels different, or dangers shunn'd

649

By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns
Monarch in Heav'n, till then as one secure
Sa on his throne, upheld by old repute,
Consent or custom, and his regal state
Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal’d,
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall,
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own,
So as not either to provoke, or dread
New war, provok’d; our better part remains
To work in close design, by fraud or guile,
What force effected not: that he no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife 650
There went a fame in Heav'n that he ere long
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation, whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the sons of Heaven
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:
For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial Spi'rits in bondage, nor th' abyss
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
Full counsel must mature: Peace is despair'd, 660
For who can think submission! War, then, War
Open or understood must be resolv'd.

He spake: and to confirm his words, out flew
Millions of Aaming swords, drawn from the thighs
Of mighty Cherubim ; the sudden blaze
Far round illumin'd Hell: highly they rag'da

Against the High'est, and fierce with grasped arms Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling dehance toward the vault of Heaven.

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 670 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 675 Of pioneers with spade and pickax arm’d Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field, Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on, Mammon, the least erected Spi'rit that fell From Heav'n, for e'en in Heav'n his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more 681 The riches of Heav'n'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 ribs of gold. Let none admire 690 That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best Reserve the precious bane. And here let those Who boast in mortal things, and wond'ring tell Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, And strength and art are easily out-done

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 prepard, 700
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluic'd 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 fill'd each hollow nook,
As in an organ from one blast of wind
To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge

710
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet syn:phonies 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 freeze, with bossy sculptures graven ;
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor
great

Alcairo such magnificence Equal'd in all their glories, to inshrine Belus or Serapis their Gods, or seat

7.20 Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile Stood fix'd her stately height, and straight the doors Opening their brazen folds discover wide Within her ample space, o’er the smooth And level pavement ; from the arcled roof

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