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Rebellious. Them with fire and hostile arms 50
Fearless assault; and, to the brow of Heaven
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss
Into their place of punishment, the gulf
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
His fiery chaos to receive their fall.'

“So spake the Sovran Voice; and clouds began
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll
In dusky wreaths reluctant flames, the sign
Of wrath awaked ; nor with less dread the loud
Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow.
At which command the Powers Militant
That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joined
Of union irresistible, moved on
In silence their bright legions to the sound
Of instrumental harmony, that breathed
Heroic ardour to adventurous deeds
Under their godlike leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah,

On they move, Indissolubly firm ; nor obvious hill, Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides 70 Their perfect ranks ; for high above the ground Their march was, and the passive air upbore Their nimble tread. As when the total kind Of birds, in orderly array on wing, Came summoned over Eden to receive Their names of thee; so over many a tract Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide, Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last, Far in the horizon, to the north, appeared From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretched 80 In battailous aspect; and, nearer view, Bristled with upright beams innumerable Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shields Various, with boastful argument portrayed, The banded Powers of Satan hasting on

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With furious expedition : for they weened
That self-same day, by fight or by surprise,
To win the Mount of God, and on his throne
To set the envier of his state, the proud
Aspirer. But their thoughts proved fond and vain 90
In the mid-way; though strange to us it seemed
At first that Angel should with Angel war,
And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire,
Hymning the Eternal Father. But the shout
Of battle now began, and rushing sound
Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
High in the midst, exalted as a God,
The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, enclosed
With flaming Cherubim and golden shields;
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne—for now
'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval, and front to front
Presented stood, in terrible array
Of hideous length. Before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it joined,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced,
Came towering, armed in adamant and gold.
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores :-

660 Heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest
Should yet remain, where faith and realty
Remain not! Wherefore should not strength and might
There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable ?
His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have tried
Unsound and false ; nor is it aught but just


I 20

That he who in debate of truth hath won
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
Victor. Though brutish that contést and foul,
When reason hath to deal with force, yet so
Most reason is that reason overcome.'

“ So pondering, and from his armed peers
Forth-stepping opposite, half-way he met
His daring foe, at this prevention more
Incensed, and thus securely him defied :

130 “Proud, art thou met? Thy hope was to have reached The highth of thy aspiring unopposedThe throne of God unguarded, and his side Abandoned at the terror of thy power Or potent tongue.

Fool! not to think how vain
Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms;
Who, out of smallest things, could without end
Have raised incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or with solitary hand,
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow,

Unaided could have finished thee, and whelmed
Thy legions under darkness ! But thou seest
All are not of thy train ; there be who faith
Prefer, and piety to God, though then
To thee not visible when I alone
Seemed in thy world erroneous to dissent
From all : my Sect thou seest ; now learn too late
How few sometimes may know when thousands err.'

“Whom the grand Foe, with scornful eye askance, Thus answered :—'Ill for thee, but in wished hour 150 Of my revenge, first sought for, thou return'st From flight, seditious Angel, to receive Thy merited reward, the first assay Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose A third part of the Gods, in synod met Their deities to assert : who, while they feel

Vigour divine within them, can allow
Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

From me some plume, that thy success may show
Destruction to the rest. This pause between
(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know.-
At first I thought that Liberty and Heaven
To heavenly souls had been all one; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Ministering Spirits, trained up in feast and song :
Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of heaven-
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.' 170

“ 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 deprav'st 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 servitudeTo serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelled Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, 180 Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled ; Yet lewdly dar'st 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 obeyed. Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect : meanwhile, From me returned, 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

190 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 recoiled ; the tenth on bended knee
His massy spear upstayed : as if, on earth,
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way,
Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat,
Half-sunk with all his pines. Amazement seized
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to see
Thus foiled their mightiest ; ours joy filled, and shout,
Presage of victory, and fierce desire
Of battle : whereat Michaël bid sound
The Archangel trumpet. Through the vast of Heaven
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosannah to the Highest ; nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in Heaven till now
Was never ; arms on armour clashing brayed
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots raged ; dire was the noise
Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew,
And, flying, vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rushed
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 against 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 numbered such


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