Page images
PDF
EPUB

Embowelled with outrageous noise the air,
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul
Their devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail
Of'iron globes; which, on the victor host

590
Levelled, 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 rolled,
The sooner for their arms. Unarmed, they might
Have easily, as Spirits, evaded swift
By quick contraction or remove; but now
Foul dissipation followed, and forced rout;
Nor served it to relax their serried files.
What should they do? If on they rushed, repulse 600
Repeated, and indecent overthrow
Doubled, would render them yet more despised,
And to their foes a laughter-for in view
Stood ranked of Seraphim another row,
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 called :-

"O friends, why come not on these victors proud ? Erewhile they fierce were coming ; and, when we, 610 To entertain them fair with open front And breast (what could we more ?), propounded terms Of composition, straight they changed their minds, Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell, As they would dance. Yet for a dance they seemed Somewhat extravagant and wild ; perhaps For joy of offered peace.

But I suppose, If our proposals once again were heard, We should compel them to a quick result.'

“ To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood :• Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight, 621 Of hard contents, and full of force urged home,

Such as we might perceive amused them all,
And stumbled many. Who receives them right
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 among themselves in pleasant vein Stood scoffing, highthened in their thoughts beyond All doubt of victory ; Eternal Might

630 To match with their inventions they presumed 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 placed !) Their arms away they threw, and to the hills (For Earth hath this variety from Heaven 640 Of pleasure situate in hill and dale) Light as the lightning-glimpse they ran, they flew; From their foundations, loosening to and fro, They plucked the seated hills, with all their load, Rocks, waters, woods, and, by the shaggy tops Uplifting, bore them in their hands. Be sure, and terror, seized the rebel host, When coming towards them so dread they saw The bottom of the mountains upward turned, Till on those cursed engines' triple row

650 They saw them whelmed, 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 Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed. Their armour helped their harm, crushed in and bruised, Into their substance pent—which wrought them pain Implacable, and many

dolorous groan,

Amaze,

Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind
Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light, 660
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 encountered hills,
Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire,
That underground they fought in dismal shade :
Infernal noise ! war seemed a civil game
To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped
Upon confusion rose. And now all Heaven
Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread, 670
Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits
Shrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure,
Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
This tumult, and permitted all, advised,
That his great purpose he might so fulfil,
To honour his Anointed Son, avenged
Upon his enemies, and to declare
All power on him transferred. Whence to his Son,
The assessor of his throne, he thus began :-

“ Effulgence of my glory, Son beloved, 680
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 passed,
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 armed :
For to themselves I left them; and thou know'st
Equal in their creation they were formed, 690
Save what sin hath impaired—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.

War wearied hath performed what war can do,
And to disordered rage let loose the reins,
With mountains, as with weapons, armed ; which

makes
Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main.
Two days are, therefore, passed; the third is thine :
For thee I have ordained it, and thus far

700 Have suffered, 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 transfused, that all may know In Heaven and Hell thy power above compare, And this perverse commotion governed thus, To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir Of all things—to be Heir, and to be King By sacred unction, thy deserved right. Go, then, thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might; 710 Ascend my chariot; guide the rapid wheels That shake Heaven's basis ; bring forth all my war; My bow and thunder, my almighty arms, Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh ; Pursue these Sons of Darkness, drive them out From all Heaven's bounds into the utter Deep; There let them learn, as likes them, to despise God, and Messiah his anointed King.'

“He said, and on his Son with rays direct
Shone full. He all his Father full expressed 720
Ineffably into his face received ;
And thus the Filial Godhead answering spake :-

“O Father, O Supreme of Heavenly Thrones,
First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou always seek'st
To glorify thy Son; I always thee,
As is most just. This I my glory account,
My exaltation, and my whole delight,
That thou in me, well pleased, declar'st thy will
Fulfilled, which to fulfil is all my bliss.

Sceptre and power, thy giving, I assume, 730
And gladlier shall resign when in the end
Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee
For ever, and in me all whom thou lov'st.
But whom thou hat'st I hate, and can put on
Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
Image of thee in all things : and shall soon,
Armed with thy might, rid Heaven of these rebelled,
To their prepared ill mansion driven down,
To chains of darkness and the undying worm,
That from thy just obedience could revolt, 740
Whom to obey is happiness entire.
Then shall thy Saints, unmixed and from the impure
Far separate, circling thy holy Mount,
Unfeigned halleluiahs to thee sing,
Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.'

“So said, he, o'er his sceptre bowing, rose
From the right hand of Glory where he sat ;
And the third sacred morn began to shine,
Dawning through Heaven. Forth rushed with whirl.

wind sound The chariot of Paternal Deity,

750 Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel ; undrawn, Itself instinct with spirit, but convoyed By four cherubic Shapes. Four faces each Had wondrous; as with stars, their bodies all And wings were set with eyes ; with eyes the wheels Of beryl, and careering fires between; Over their heads a crystal firmament, Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure Amber and colours of the showery arch. He, in celestial panoply all armed Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought, Ascended ; at his right hand Victory Sat eagle-winged; beside him hung his bow, And quiver, with three-bolted thunder stored ;

760

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »