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Paradise Lost: Book 06 Analysis

Author: Poetry of John Milton Type: Poetry Views: 406

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All night the dreadless Angel, unpursued,Through Heaven's wide champain held his way; till Morn,Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy handUnbarred the gates of light.There is a caveWithin the mount of God, fast by his throne,Where light and darkness in perpetual roundLodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through HeavenGrateful vicissitude, like day and night;Light issues forth, and at the other doorObsequious darkness enters, till her hourTo veil the Heaven, though darkness there might wellSeem twilight here:And now went forth the MornSuch as in highest Heaven arrayed in goldEmpyreal; from before her vanished Night,Shot through with orient beams; when all the plainCovered with thick embattled squadrons bright,Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:War he perceived, war in procinct; and foundAlready known what he for news had thoughtTo have reported:Gladly then he mixedAmong those friendly Powers, who him receivedWith joy and acclamations loud, that one,That of so many myriads fallen, yet oneReturned not lost.On to the sacred hillThey led him high applauded, and presentBefore the seat supreme; from whence a voice,From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard.Servant of God. Well done; well hast thou foughtThe better fight, who single hast maintainedAgainst revolted multitudes the causeOf truth, in word mightier than they in arms;And for the testimony of truth hast borneUniversal reproach, far worse to bearThan violence; for this was all thy careTo stand approved in sight of God, though worldsJudged thee perverse:The easier conquest nowRemains thee, aided by this host of friends,Back on thy foes more glorious to return,Than scorned thou didst depart; and to subdueBy force, who reason for their law refuse,Right reason for their law, and for their KingMessiah, who by right of merit reigns.Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince,And thou, in military prowess next,Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sonsInvincible; lead forth my armed Saints,By thousands and by millions, ranged for fight,Equal in number to that Godless crewRebellious:Them with fire and hostile armsFearless assault; and, to the brow of HeavenPursuing, drive them out from God and bliss,Into their place of punishment, the gulfOf Tartarus, which ready opens wideHis fiery Chaos to receive their fall.So spake the Sovran Voice, and clouds beganTo darken all the hill, and smoke to rollIn dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the signOf wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loudEthereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow:At which command the Powers militant,That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joinedOf union irresistible, moved onIn silence their bright legions, to the soundOf instrumental harmony, that breathedHeroick ardour to adventurous deedsUnder their God-like leaders, in the causeOf God and his Messiah.On they moveIndissolubly firm; nor obvious hill,Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, dividesTheir perfect ranks; for high above the groundTheir march was, and the passive air upboreTheir nimble tread; as when the total kindOf birds, in orderly array on wing,Came summoned over Eden to receiveTheir names of thee; so over many a tractOf Heaven they marched, and many a province wide,Tenfold the length of this terrene:At last,Far in the horizon to the north appearedFrom skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretchedIn battailous aspect, and nearer viewBristled with upright beams innumerableOf rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shieldsVarious, with boastful argument portrayed,The banded Powers of Satan hasting onWith furious expedition; for they weenedThat self-same day, by fight or by surprise,To win the mount of God, and on his throneTo set the Envier of his state, the proudAspirer; but their thoughts proved fond and vainIn the mid way:Though strange to us it seemedAt first, that Angel should with Angel war,And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meetSo oft in festivals of joy and loveUnanimous, as sons of one great Sire,Hymning the Eternal Father:But the shoutOf battle now began, and rushing soundOf 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, enclosedWith 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 frontPresented stood in terrible arrayOf 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 stoodAmong the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,And thus his own undaunted heart explores.O Heaven! that such resemblance of the HighestShould yet remain, where faith and realtyRemain not:Wherefore should not strength and mightThere fail where virtue fails, or weakest proveWhere boldest, though to fight unconquerable?His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid,I mean to try, whose reason I have triedUnsound and false; nor is it aught but just,That he, who in debate of truth hath won,Should win in arms, in both disputes alikeVictor; though brutish that contest and foul,When reason hath to deal with force, yet soMost reason is that reason overcome.So pondering, and from his armed peersForth stepping opposite, half-way he metHis daring foe, at this prevention moreIncensed, and thus securely him defied.Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reachedThe highth of thy aspiring unopposed,The throne of God unguarded, and his sideAbandoned, at the terrour of thy powerOr potent tongue:Fool!not to think how vainAgainst the Omnipotent to rise in arms;Who out of smallest things could, without end,Have raised incessant armies to defeatThy folly; or with solitary handReaching beyond all limit, at one blow,Unaided, could have finished thee, and whelmedThy legions under darkness:But thou seestAll are not of thy train; there be, who faithPrefer, and piety to God, though thenTo thee not visible, when I aloneSeemed in thy world erroneous to dissentFrom all:My sect thou seest;now learn too lateHow few sometimes may know, when thousands err.Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance,Thus answered.Ill for thee, but in wished hourOf my revenge, first sought for, thou returnestFrom flight, seditious Angel! to receiveThy merited reward, the first assayOf this right hand provoked, since first that tongue,Inspired with contradiction, durst opposeA third part of the Gods, in synod metTheir deities to assert; who, while they feelVigour divine within them, can allowOmnipotence to none.But well thou comestBefore thy fellows, ambitious to winFrom me some plume, that thy success may showDestruction to the rest:This pause between,(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know,At first I thought that Liberty and HeavenTo heavenly souls had been all one; but nowI see that most through sloth had rather serve,Ministring 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.To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied.Apostate! still thou errest, nor end wilt findOf erring, from the path of truth remote:Unjustly thou depravest it with the nameOf servitude, to serve whom God ordains,Or Nature:God and Nature bid the same,When he who rules is worthiest, and excelsThem whom he governs.This is servitude,To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelledAgainst his worthier, as thine now serve thee,Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled;Yet lewdly darest our ministring upbraid.Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me serveIn Heaven God ever blest, and his divineBehests obey, worthiest to be obeyed;Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect:Mean whileFrom 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 fellOn the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield,Such ruin intercept:Ten paces hugeHe back recoiled; the tenth on bended kneeHis massy spear upstaid; as if on earthWinds under ground, or waters forcing way,Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat,Half sunk with all his pines.Amazement seisedThe rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to seeThus foiled their mightiest; ours joy filled, and shout,Presage of victory, and fierce desireOf battle:Whereat Michael bid soundThe Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vast of HeavenIt sounded, and the faithful armies rungHosanna to the Highest:Nor stood at gazeThe adverse legions, nor less hideous joinedThe horrid shock.Now storming fury rose,And clamour such as heard in Heaven till nowWas never; arms on armour clashing brayedHorrible discord, and the madding wheelsOf brazen chariots raged; dire was the noiseOf conflict; over head the dismal hissOf fiery darts in flaming vollies flew,And flying vaulted either host with fire.So under fiery cope together rushedBoth battles main, with ruinous assaultAnd inextinguishable rage.All HeavenResounded; and had Earth been then, all EarthHad to her center shook.What wonder? whenMillions of fierce encountering Angels foughtOn either side, the least of whom could wieldThese elements, and arm him with the forceOf all their regions:How much more of powerArmy against army numberless to raiseDreadful combustion warring, and disturb,Though not destroy, their happy native seat;Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent,From his strong hold of Heaven, high over-ruledAnd limited their might; though numbered suchAs each divided legion might have seemedA numerous host; in strength each armed handA legion; led in fight, yet leader seemedEach warriour single as in chief, expertWhen to advance, or stand, or turn the swayOf battle, open when, and when to closeThe ridges of grim war:No thought of flight,None of retreat, no unbecoming deedThat argued fear; each on himself relied,As only in his arm the moment layOf victory:Deeds of eternal fameWere done, but infinite; for wide was spreadThat war and various; sometimes on firm groundA standing fight, then, soaring on main wing,Tormented all the air; all air seemed thenConflicting fire.Long time in even scaleThe battle hung; till Satan, who that dayProdigious power had shown, and met in armsNo equal, ranging through the dire attackOf fighting Seraphim confused, at lengthSaw where the sword of Michael smote, and felledSquadrons at once; with huge two-handed swayBrandished aloft, the horrid edge came downWide-wasting; such destruction to withstandHe hasted, and opposed the rocky orbOf tenfold adamant, his ample shield,A vast circumference.At his approachThe great Arch-Angel from his warlike toilSurceased, and glad, as hoping here to endIntestine war in Heaven, the arch-foe subduedOr captive dragged in chains, with hostile frownAnd visage all inflamed first thus began.Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou seestThese acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,Though heaviest by just measure on thyself,And thyadherents:How hast thou disturbedHeaven's blessed peace, and into nature broughtMisery, uncreated till the crimeOf thy rebellion! how hast thou instilledThy malice into thousands, once uprightAnd faithful, now proved false!But think not hereTo trouble holy rest; Heaven casts thee outFrom all her confines.Heaven, the seat of bliss,Brooks not the works of violence and war.Hence then, and evil go with thee along,Thy offspring, to the place of evil, Hell;Thou and thy wicked crew! there mingle broils,Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom,Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God,Precipitate thee with augmented pain.So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thusThe Adversary.Nor think thou with windOf aery threats to awe whom yet with deedsThou canst not.Hast thou turned the least of theseTo flight, or if to fall, but that they riseUnvanquished, easier to transact with meThat thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threatsTo chase me hence? err not, that so shall endThe strife which thou callest evil, but we styleThe strife of glory; which we mean to win,Or turn this Heaven itself into the HellThou fablest; here however to dwell free,If not to reign:Mean while thy utmost force,And join him named Almighty to thy aid,I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.They ended parle, and both addressed for fightUnspeakable; for who, though with the tongueOf Angels, can relate, or to what thingsLiken on earth conspicuous, that may liftHuman imagination to such highthOf Godlike power? for likest Gods they seemed,Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms,Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven.Now waved their fiery swords, and in the airMade horrid circles; two broad suns their shieldsBlazed opposite, while Expectation stoodIn horrour:From each hand with speed retired,Where erst was thickest fight, the angelick throng,And left large field, unsafe within the windOf such commotion; such as, to set forthGreat things by small, if, nature's concord broke,Among the constellations war were sprung,Two planets, rushing from aspect malignOf fiercest opposition, in mid skyShould combat, and their jarring spheres confound.Together both with next to almighty armUp-lifted imminent, one stroke they aimedThat might determine, and not need repeat,As not of power at once; nor odds appearedIn might or swift prevention:But the swordOf Michael from the armoury of GodWas given him tempered so, that neither keenNor solid might resist that edge: it metThe sword of Satan, with steep force to smiteDescending, and in half cut sheer; nor staid,But with swift wheel reverse, deep entering, sharedAll his right side:Then Satan first knew pain,And writhed him to and fro convolved; so soreThe griding sword with discontinuous woundPassed through him:But the ethereal substance closed,Not long divisible; and from the gashA stream of necturous humour issuing flowedSanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed,And all his armour stained, ere while so bright.Forthwith on all sides to his aid was runBy Angels many and strong, who interposedDefence, while others bore him on their shieldsBack to his chariot, where it stood retiredFrom off the files of war:There they him laidGnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame,To find himself not matchless, and his prideHumbled by such rebuke, so far beneathHis confidence to equal God in power.Yet soon he healed; for Spirits that live throughoutVital in every part, not as frail manIn entrails, heart of head, liver or reins,Cannot but by annihilating die;Nor in their liquid texture mortal woundReceive, no more than can the fluid air:All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear,All intellect, all sense; and, as they please,They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or sizeAssume, as?kikes them best, condense or rare.Mean while in other parts like deeds deservedMemorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep arrayOf Moloch, furious king; who him defied,And at his chariot-wheels to drag him boundThreatened, nor from the Holy One of HeavenRefrained his tongue blasphemous; but anonDown cloven to the waist, with shattered armsAnd uncouth pain fled bellowing.On each wingUriel, and Raphael, his vaunting foe,Though huge, and in a rock of diamond armed,Vanquished Adramelech, and Asmadai,Two potent Thrones, that to be less than GodsDisdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their flight,Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail.Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoyThe atheist crew, but with redoubled blowAriel, and Arioch, and the violenceOf Ramiel scorched and blasted, overthrew.I might relate of thousands, and their namesEternize here on earth; but those electAngels, contented with their fame in Heaven,Seek not the praise of men:The other sort,In might though wonderous and in acts of war,Nor of renown less eager, yet by doomCancelled from Heaven and sacred memory,Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.For strength from truth divided, and from just,Illaudable, nought merits but dispraiseAnd ignominy; yet to glory aspiresVain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame:Therefore eternal silence be their doom.And now, their mightiest quelled, the battle swerved,With many an inroad gored; deformed routEntered, and foul disorder; all the groundWith shivered armour strown, and on a heapChariot and charioteer lay overturned,And fiery-foaming steeds; what stood, recoiledO'er-wearied, through the faint Satanick hostDefensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised,Then first with fear surprised, and sense of pain,Fled ignominious, to such evil broughtBy sin of disobedience; till that hourNot liable to fear, or flight, or pain.Far otherwise the inviolable Saints,In cubick phalanx firm, advanced entire,Invulnerable, impenetrably armed;Such high advantages their innocenceGave them above their foes; not to have sinned,Not to have disobeyed; in fight they stoodUnwearied, unobnoxious to be painedBy wound, though from their place by violence moved,Now Night her course began, and, over HeavenInducing darkness, grateful truce imposed,And silence on the odious din of war:Under her cloudy covert both retired,Victor and vanquished:On the foughten fieldMichael and his Angels prevalentEncamping, placed in guard their watches round,Cherubick waving fires:On the other part,Satan with his rebellious disappeared,Far in the dark dislodged; and, void of rest,His potentates to council called by night;And in the midst thus undismayed began.O now in danger tried, now known in armsNot to be overpowered, Companions dear,Found worthy not of liberty alone,Too mean pretence! but what we more affect,Honour, dominion, glory, and renown;Who have sustained one day in doubtful fight,(And if one day, why not eternal days?)What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to sendAgainst us from about his throne, and judgedSufficient to subdue us to his will,But proves not so:Then fallible, it seems,Of future we may deem him, though till nowOmniscient thought.True is, less firmly armed,Some disadvantage we endured and pain,Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemned;Since now we find this our empyreal formIncapable of mortal injury,Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound,Soon closing, and by native vigour healed.Of evil then so small as easy thinkThe remedy; perhaps more valid arms,Weapons more violent, when next we meet,May serve to better us, and worse our foes,Or equal what between us made the odds,In nature none:If other hidden causeLeft them superiour, while we can preserveUnhurt our minds, and understanding sound,Due search and consultation will disclose.He sat; and in the assembly next upstoodNisroch, of Principalities the prime;As one he stood escaped from cruel fight,Sore toiled, his riven arms to havock hewn,And cloudy in aspect thus answering spake.Deliverer from new Lords, leader to freeEnjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hardFor Gods, and too unequal work we find,Against unequal arms to fight in pain,Against unpained, impassive; from which evilRuin must needs ensue; for what availsValour or strength, though matchless, quelled with painWhich all subdues, and makes remiss the handsOf mightiest?Sense of pleasure we may wellSpare out of life perhaps, and not repine,But live content, which is the calmest life:But pain is perfect misery, the worstOf evils, and, excessive, overturnsAll patience.He, who therefore can inventWith what more forcible we may offendOur yet unwounded enemies, or armOurselves with like defence, to me deservesNo less than for deliverance what we owe.Whereto with look composed Satan replied.Not uninvented that, which thou arightBelievest so main to our success, I bring.Which of us who beholds the bright surfaceOf this ethereous mould whereon we stand,This continent of spacious Heaven, adornedWith plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold;Whose eye so superficially surveysThese things, as not to mind from whence they growDeep under ground, materials dark and crude,Of spiritous and fiery spume, till touchedWith Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot forthSo beauteous, opening to the ambient light?These in their dark nativity the deepShall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;Which, into hollow engines, long and round,Thick rammed, at the other bore with touch of fireDilated and infuriate, shall send forthFrom far, with thundering noise, among our foesSuch implements of mischief, as shall dashTo pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever standsAdverse, that they shall fear we have disarmedThe Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn,Effect shall end our wish.Mean while revive;Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joinedThink nothing hard, much less to be despaired.He ended, and his words their drooping cheerEnlightened, and their languished hope revived.The invention all admired, and each, how heTo be the inventer missed; so easy it seemedOnce found, which yet unfound most would have thoughtImpossible:Yet, haply, of thy raceIn future days, if malice should abound,Some one intent on mischief, or inspiredWith devilish machination, might deviseLike instrument to plague the sons of menFor sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.Forthwith from council to the work they flew;None arguing stood; innumerable handsWere ready; in a moment up they turnedWide the celestial soil, and saw beneathThe originals of nature in their crudeConception; sulphurous and nitrous foamThey found, they mingled, and, with subtle art,Concocted and adusted they reducedTo blackest grain, and into store conveyed:Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this earthEntrails unlike) of mineral and stone,Whereof to found their engines and their ballsOf missive ruin; part incentive reedProvide, pernicious with one touch to fire.So all ere day-spring, under conscious night,Secret they finished, and in order set,With silent circumspection, unespied.Now when fair morn orient in Heaven appeared,Up rose the victor-Angels, and to armsThe matin trumpet sung:In arms they stoodOf golden panoply, refulgent host,Soon banded; others from the dawning hillsLook round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour,Each quarter to descry the distant foe,Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight,In motion or in halt:Him soon they metUnder spread ensigns moving nigh, in slowBut firm battalion; back with speediest sailZophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried.Arm, Warriours, arm for fight; the foe at hand,Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuitThis day; fear not his flight;so thick a cloudHe comes, and settled in his face I seeSad resolution, and secure:Let eachHis adamantine coat gird well, and eachFit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,Borne even or high; for this day will pour down,If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower,But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire.So warned he them, aware themselves, and soonIn order, quit of all impediment;Instant without disturb they took alarm,And onward moved embattled:When behold!Not distant far with heavy pace the foeApproaching gross and huge, in hollow cubeTraining his devilish enginery, impaledOn every side with shadowing squadrons deep,To hide the fraud.At interview both stoodA while; but suddenly at head appearedSatan, and thus was heard commanding loud.Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold;That all may see who hate us, how we seekPeace and composure, and with open breastStand ready to receive them, if they likeOur overture; and turn not back perverse:But that I doubt; however witness, Heaven!Heaven, witness thou anon! while we dischargeFreely our part: ye, who appointed standDo as you have in charge, and briefly touchWhat we propound, and loud that all may hear!So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarceHad ended; when to right and left the frontDivided, and to either flank retired:Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange,A triple mounted row of pillars laidOn wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed,Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir,With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled,)Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouthsWith hideous orifice gaped on us wide,Portending hollow truce:At each behindA Seraph stood, and in his hand a reedStood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense,Collected stood within our thoughts amused,Not long; for sudden all at once their reedsPut forth, and to a narrow vent appliedWith nicest touch.Immediate in a flame,But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appeared,From those deep-throated engines belched, whose roarEmbowelled with outrageous noise the air,And all her entrails tore, disgorging foulTheir devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hailOf iron globes; which, on the victor hostLevelled, with such impetuous fury smote,That, whom they hit, none on their feet might stand,Though standing else as rocks, but down they fellBy thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rolled;The sooner for their arms; unarmed, they mightHave easily, as Spirits, evaded swiftBy quick contraction or remove; but nowFoul dissipation followed, and forced rout;Nor served it to relax their serried files.What should they do? if on they rushed, repulseRepeated, and indecent overthrowDoubled, would render them yet more despised,And to their foes a laughter; for in viewStood ranked of Seraphim another row,In posture to displode their second tireOf thunder:Back defeated to returnThey worse abhorred.Satan beheld their plight,And to his mates thus in derision called.O Friends! why come not on these victors proudEre while they fierce were coming; and when we,To entertain them fair with open frontAnd breast, (what could we more?) propounded termsOf composition, straight they changed their minds,Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,As they would dance; yet for a dance they seemedSomewhat extravagant and wild; perhapsFor 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,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 veinStood scoffing, hightened in their thoughts beyondAll doubt of victory:Eternal MightTo match with their inventions they presumedSo easy, and of his thunder made a scorn,And all his host derided, while they stoodA while in trouble:But they stood not long;Rage prompted them at length, and found them armsAgainst 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 HeavenOf 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 topsUp-lifting bore them in their hands:Amaze,Be sure, and terrour, seized the rebel host,When coming towards them so dread they sawThe bottom of the mountains upward turned;Till on those cursed engines' triple-rowThey saw them whelmed, and all their confidenceUnder the weight of mountains buried deep;Themselves invaded next, and on their headsMain promontories flung, which in the airCame shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed;Their armour helped their harm, crushed in and bruisedInto their substance pent, which wrought them painImplacable, and many a dolorous groan;Long struggling underneath, ere they could windOut of such prison, though Spirits of purest light,Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.The rest, in imitation, to like armsBetook them, and the neighbouring hills uptore:So hills amid the air encountered hills,Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire;That under ground they fought in dismal shade;Infernal noise! war seemed a civil gameTo this uproar; horrid confusion heapedUpon confusion rose:And now all HeavenHad gone to wrack, with ruin overspread;Had not the Almighty Father, where he sitsShrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure,Consulting on the sum of things, foreseenThis tumult, and permitted all, advised:That his great purpose he might so fulfil,To honour his anointed Son avengedUpon his enemies, and to declareAll power on him transferred:Whence to his Son,The Assessour of his throne, he thus began.Effulgence of my glory, Son beloved,Son, in whose face invisible is beheldVisibly, 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 tameThese disobedient:Sore hath been their fight,As likeliest was, when two such foes met armed;For to themselves I left them; and thou knowest,Equal in their creation they were formed,Save what sin hath impaired; which yet hath wroughtInsensibly, for I suspend their doom;Whence in perpetual fight they needs must lastEndless, and no solution will be found:War wearied hath performed what war can do,And to disordered rage let loose the reinsWith mountains, as with weapons, armed; which makesWild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main.Two days are therefore past, the third is thine;For thee I have ordained it; and thus farHave suffered, that the glory may be thineOf ending this great war, since none but ThouCan end it.Into thee such virtue and graceImmense I have transfused, that all may knowIn Heaven and Hell thy power above compare;And, this perverse commotion governed thus,To manifest thee worthiest to be HeirOf all things; to be Heir, and to be KingBy sacred unction, thy deserved right.Go then, Thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might;Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheelsThat shake Heaven's basis, bring forth all my war,My bow and thunder, my almighty armsGird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh;Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them outFrom all Heaven's bounds into the utter deep:There let them learn, as likes them, to despiseGod, and Messiah his anointed King.He said, and on his Son with rays directShone full; he all his Father full expressedIneffably 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'stTo 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, declarest thy willFulfilled, which to fulfil is all my bliss.Scepter and power, thy giving, I assume,And gladlier shall resign, when in the endThou shalt be all in all, and I in theeFor ever; and in me all whom thou lovest:But whom thou hatest, I hate, and can put onThy terrours, 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,Whom to obey is happiness entire.Then shall thy Saints unmixed, and from the impureFar 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 scepter bowing, roseFrom the right hand of Glory where he sat;And the third sacred morn began to shine,Dawning through Heaven.Forth rushed with whirlwind soundThe chariot of Paternal Deity,Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn,Itself instinct with Spirit, but convoyedBy four Cherubick shapes; four faces eachHad wonderous; as with stars, their bodies allAnd wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheelsOf beryl, and careering fires between;Over their heads a crystal firmament,Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pureAmber, and colours of the showery arch.He, in celestial panoply all armedOf radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,Ascended; at his right hand VictorySat eagle-winged; beside him hung his bowAnd quiver with three-bolted thunder stored;And from about him fierce effusion rolledOf smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire:Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,He onward came; far off his coming shone;And twenty thousand (I their number heard)Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen;He on the wings of Cherub rode sublimeOn the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned,Illustrious far and wide; but by his ownFirst seen:Them unexpected joy surprised,When the great ensign of Messiah blazedAloft by Angels borne, his sign in Heaven;Under whose conduct Michael soon reducedHis army, circumfused on either wing,Under their Head imbodied all in one.Before him Power Divine his way prepared;At his command the uprooted hills retiredEach to his place; they heard his voice, and wentObsequious; Heaven his wonted face renewed,And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smiled.This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdured,And to rebellious fight rallied their Powers,Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.In heavenly Spirits could such perverseness dwell?But to convince the proud what signs avail,Or wonders move the obdurate to relent?They, hardened more by what might most reclaim,Grieving to see his glory, at the sightTook envy; and, aspiring to his highth,Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraudWeening to prosper, and at length prevailAgainst God and Messiah, or to fallIn universal ruin last; and nowTo final battle drew, disdaining flight,Or faint retreat; when the great Son of GodTo all his host on either hand thus spake.Stand still in bright array, ye Saints; here stand,Ye Angels armed; this day from battle rest:Faithful hath been your warfare, and of GodAccepted, fearless in his righteous cause;And as ye have received, so have ye done,Invincibly:But of this cursed crewThe punishment to other hand belongs;Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints:Number to this day's work is not ordained,Nor multitude; stand only, and beholdGod's indignation on these godless pouredBy me; not you, but me, they have despised,Yet envied; against me is all their rage,Because the Father, to whom in Heaven s'premeKingdom, and power, and glory appertains,Hath honoured me, according to his will.Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned;That they may have their wish, to try with meIn battle which the stronger proves; they all,Or I alone against them; since by strengthThey measure all, of other excellenceNot emulous, nor care who them excels;Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.So spake the Son, and into terrour changedHis countenance too severe to be beheld,And full of wrath bent on his enemies.At once the Four spread out their starry wingsWith dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbsOf his fierce chariot rolled, as with the soundOf torrent floods, or of a numerous host.He on his impious foes right onward drove,Gloomy as night; under his burning wheelsThe stedfast empyrean shook throughout,All but the throne itself of God.Full soonAmong them he arrived; in his right handGrasping ten thousand thunders, which he sentBefore him, such as in their souls infixedPlagues:They, astonished, all resistance lost,All courage; down their idle weapons dropt:O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rodeOf Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate,That wished the mountains now might be againThrown on them, as a shelter from his ire.Nor less on either side tempestuous fellHis arrows, from the fourfold-visaged FourDistinct with eyes, and from the living wheelsDistinct alike with multitude of eyes;One Spirit in them ruled; and every eyeGlared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fireAmong the accursed, that withered all their strength,And of their wonted vigour left them drained,Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen.Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checkedHis thunder in mid volley; for he meantNot to destroy, but root them out of Heaven:The overthrown he raised, and as a herdOf goats or timorous flock together throngedDrove them before him thunder-struck, pursuedWith terrours, and with furies, to the boundsAnd crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide,Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosedInto the wasteful deep:The monstrous sightStruck them with horrour backward, but far worseUrged them behind:Headlong themselves they threwDown from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrathBurnt after them to the bottomless pit.Hell heard the unsufferable noise, Hell sawHeaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fledAffrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deepHer dark foundations, and too fast had bound.Nine days they fell:Confounded Chaos roared,And felt tenfold confusion in their fallThrough his wild anarchy, so huge a routIncumbered him with ruin:Hell at lastYawning received them whole, and on them closed;Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fireUnquenchable, the house of woe and pain.Disburdened Heaven rejoiced, and soon repairedHer mural breach, returning whence it rolled.Sole victor, from the expulsion of his foes,Messiah his triumphal chariot turned:To meet him all his Saints, who silent stoodEye-witnesses of his almighty acts,With jubilee advanced; and, as they went,Shaded with branching palm, each Order bright,Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given,Worthiest to reign:He, celebrated, rodeTriumphant through mid Heaven, into the courtsAnd temple of his Mighty Father thronedOn high; who into glory him received,Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.Thus, measuring things in Heaven by things on Earth,At thy request, and that thou mayest bewareBy what is past, to thee I have revealedWhat might have else to human race been hid;The discord which befel, and war in HeavenAmong the angelick Powers, and the deep fallOf those too high aspiring, who rebelledWith Satan; he who envies now thy state,Who now is plotting how he may seduceThee also from obedience, that, with himBereaved of happiness, thou mayest partakeHis punishment, eternal misery;Which would be all his solace and revenge,As a despite done against the Most High,Thee once to gain companion of his woe.But listen not to his temptations, warnThy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard,By terrible example, the rewardOf disobedience; firm they might have stood,Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.


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