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515 “ To blackest grain, and into store convey'd :

“Part, hidden veins digg'd up (nor hath this earth
“ Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone,
“Whereof to found their engines, and their balls

“Of missive ruin: part incentive reed
520 “Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.

“So all, ere day-spring, under conscious night
“Secret they finish’d, and in order set
“ With silent circumspection, unespied.

“Now when fair morn orient in heaven appear'd, 525 “ Up rose the victor-angels, and to arms

“ The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood
“Of golden panoply, refulgent host !
“Soon banded: others from the dawning hills

“Look'd round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour530 “ Each quarter, to descry the distant foe

“Where lodg’d, or whither fled, or if for fight,
“In motion, or in halt: him soon they met
“ Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow

“ But firm battalion. Back with speediest sail 535 “ Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,

“ Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried :

“Arm, warriors—arm for fight! the foe at hand, “Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit

“ • This day: fear not his flight; so thick a cloud 540

He comes, and settled in his face I see
"Sad resolution, and secure. Let each
“• His adamantine coat gird well, and each
“Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,

“Borne even, or high; for this day will pour down, 545 “If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower,

“But rattling storm of arrows barb'd with fire.'

“ So warn’d he them, aware themselves; and soon “ In order, quit of all impediment,

“ Instant without disturb they took alarm, 550 And onward mov'd embattled: when, behold!

Not distant far with heavy pace the foe

Approaching gross, and huge, in hollow cube

“ Training his devilish engin'ry, impal'd

“On every side with shadowing squadrons deep 555

" To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
“ A while; but suddenly at head appear'd
“Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud:

“• Vanguard! to right and left the front unfold;

" That all may see who hate us, how we seek 560 “ Peace and composure: and, with open breast,

“Stand ready to receive them, if they like
«« Our overture, and turn not back perverse;
"But that I doubt: however, witness heaven,

“Heaven witness thou anon, while we discharge 565 “Freely our part! Ye, who appointed stand,

“. Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
“ • What we propound, and loud that all may hear.'

“ So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce

“Had ended; when to right and left the front 570 “Divided, and to either flank retir'd:

Which to our eyes discover'd, new and strange,
“A triple mounted row of pillars laid
On wheels, (for like to pillars most they seem'd,

“ Or hollow'd bodies made of oak, or fir,
575 With branches lopt, in wood or mountain fell’d,)

“ Brass, iron, stony mould; had not their mouths
“ With hideous orifice gap'd on us wide,
Portending hollow truce: at each behind

“A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed
580 “Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense,

“ Collected stood within our thoughts amus'd ;
“ Not long, for sudden all at once their reeds
“ Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied

“ With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame, 585 “But soon obscur'd with smoke, all heaven appear'd,

“From those deep-throated engines belch'd, whose roar
“Embowell'd with outrageous noise the air,
“ And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul

“ Their devilish glut-chain'd thunderbolts and hail 590 “Of iron globes, which, on the victor host

“ Levellid, with such impetuous fury smote,
“ That, whom they hit, none on their feet might stand,

Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell

“By thousands—angel on archangel rollid-
595 “ The sooner for their arms: unarm’d, they might

“ Have easily, as spirits, evaded swift
By quick contraction, or remove; but now
“Foul dissipation follow'd, and forc'd rout;

“ Nor serv'd it to relax their serried files.
600 “ What should they do? if on they rush'd, repulse

“Repeated, and indecent overthrow
“Doubled, would render them yet more despis’d,
And to their foes a laughter; for, in view,

“ Stood rank'd of Seraphim another row, 605 “In posture to displode their second tire

“ Of thunder: back defeated to return
They worse abhorred.

Satan beheld their plight,
“ And to his mates thus in derision cail'd :

“O friends! why come not on these victors proud ? 610 “Erewhile they fierce were coming; and when we,

«• To entertain them fair with open front
“6 And breast, (what could we more?) propounded terms
“Of composition, straight they chang'd their minds,

" " Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell, 615 "• As they would dance; yet for a dance they seem'd

“Somewhat extravagant and wild; perhaps
“ • For joy of offer'd peace: but I suppose,
“ If our proposals once again were heard,

“We should compel them to a quick result.' 620 “ To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood:

• Leader! the terms we sent were terms of weight, “Of hard contents, and full of force urg'd home; “Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,

And stumbled many: who receives them right, 625 “Had need from head to foot well understand;

“Not understood, this gift they have besides-
". They show us when our foes walk not upright.'

“ So they amongst themselves in pleasant vein

635

“ Stood scoffing, heighten'd in their thoughts beyond 630 “ All doubt of victory: eternal Might

“ To match with their inventions they presum'd

So easy! and of his thunder made a scorn,
“And all his host derided, while they stood
“A while in trouble : but they stood not long;

Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms

Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
“ Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power,
“ Which God hath in his mighty angels plac'd !)

“Their arms away they threw, and to the hills 640" (For earth hath this variety from heaven

Of pleasure, situate in hill and dale,)

Light as the lightning glimpse they ran—they flew; “ From their foundations loos’ning to and fro,

They pluck'd the seated hills, with all their load645 “Rocks, waters, woods; and, by the shaggy tops

“Uplifting, bore them in their hands. Amaze,
“ Be sure, and terror, seiz'd the rebel host,
“ When, coming towards them, so dread they saw
“ The bottom of the mountains upward turn'd;
“ Till on those cursed engines' triple row
“ They saw them whelm'd, and all their confidence
“ Under the weight of mountains buried deep-
“ Themselves invaded next, and on their heads

“ Main promontories flung, which in the air 655 “ Came shadowing, and oppress'd whole legions arm'd :

“ Their armour help'd their harm, crush'd in and bruis'd
“ Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain
“ Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,

Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind
“Out of such prison, though spirits of purest light-
“Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.
“ The rest, in imitation, to like arms
“ Betook them, and the neighbouring hills uptore:

“ So hills amid the air encounter'd hills, 665 “Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire;

“ That underground they fought in dismal shade:

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“ Infernal noise! war seem'd a civil game
“ To this uproar; horrid confusion heap'd

· Upon confusion rose. And now all heaven 670 " Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread,

“ Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits
“Shrin'd in his sanctuary of heaven secure,
“ Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen

“ This tumult, and permitted all, advis'd; 675

" That his great purpose he might so fulfil,
“ To honour his anointed Son, aveng'd
“Upon his enemies, and to declare
"All power on him transferr'd: whence to his Son,
“The assessor of his throne, he thus began :

“Effulgence of my glory, Son belov'd !
"Son, in whose face invisible is beheld
“• Visibly what by Deity I am,
" And in whose hand what by decree I do:
“Second omnipotence! two days are past,

(Two days, as we compute the days of heaven,)
"Since Michael, and his Powers, went forth to tame
". These disobedient: sore hath been their fight,
"" As likeliest was, when two such foes met arm'd;

“For to themselves I left them: and thou know'st 690 “Equal in their creation they were form'd,

“ "Save what sin hath impair'd; which yet hath wrought
“Insensibly, for I suspend their doom :
" Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last

Endless, and no solution will be found.
695 “War wearied hath perform'd what war can do,

" And to disorder'd rage let loose the reins,
. With mountains, as with weapons, arm’d; which makes
“ • Wild work in heaven, and dangerous to the main.

“. Two days are therefore past, the third is thine : 700 " For thee I have ordain'd it: and thus far

“Have suffer'd, that the glory may be thine
“Of ending this great war, since none but thou
"Can end it. Into thee such virtue, and grace
"• Immense, I have transfus'd, that all may know

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