Paradise Lost: Book VI (1674)

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Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battel against Satan and his Angels. The first Fight describ'd: Satan and his Powers retire under Night: He calls a Councel, invents devilish Engines, which in the second dayes Fight put Michael and his Angels to some disorder; but they at length pulling up Mountains overwhelm'd both the force and Machins of Satan: Yet the Tumult not so ending, God on the third day sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserv'd the glory of that Victory: Hee in the Power of his Father coming to the place, and causing all his Legions to stand still on either side, with his Chariot and Thunder driving into the midst of his Enemies, pursues them unable to resist towards the wall of Heaven; which opening, they leap down with horrour and confusion into the place of punishment prepar'd for them in the Deep: Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

ALL night the dreadless Angel unpursu'dThrough Heav'ns wide Champain held his way, till Morn,Wak't by the circling Hours, with rosie handUnbarr'd 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 Heav'nGrateful vicissitude, like Day and Night;Light issues forth, and at the other doreObsequious darkness enters, till her houreTo veile the Heav'n, though darkness there might wellSeem twilight here; and now went forth the MornSuch as in highest Heav'n, arrayd in GoldEmpyreal, from before her vanisht Night,Shot through with orient Beams: when all the PlainCoverd with thick embatteld Squadrons bright,Chariots and flaming Armes, and fierie SteedsReflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:Warr he perceav'd, warr in procinct, and foundAlready known what he for news had thoughtTo have reported: gladly then he mixtAmong those friendly Powers who him receav'dWith joy and acclamations loud, that oneThat of so many Myriads fall'n, yet oneReturnd not lost: On to the sacred hillThey led him high applauded, and presentBefore the seat supream; from whence a voiceFrom midst a Golden Cloud thus milde was heard.

Servant of God, well done, well hast thou foughtThe better fight, who single hast maintaindAgainst revolted multitudes the CauseOf Truth, in word mightier then they in Armes;And for the testimonie of Truth hast bornUniversal reproach, far worse to beareThen violence: for this was all thy careTo stand approv'd in sight of God, though WorldsJudg'd thee perverse: the easier conquest nowRemains thee, aided by this host of friends,Back on thy foes more glorious to returnThen scornd thou didst depart, and to subdueBy force, who reason for thir Law refuse,Right reason for thir Law, and for thir KingMessiah, who by right of merit Reigns.Go Michael of Celestial Armies Prince,And thou in Military prowess nextGabriel, lead forth to Battel these my SonsInvincible, lead forth my armed SaintsBy Thousands and by Millions rang'd for fight;Equal in number to that Godless crewRebellious, them with Fire and hostile ArmsFearless assault, and to the brow of Heav'nPursuing drive them out from God and bliss,Into thir place of punishment, the GulfOf Tartarus, which ready opens wideHis fiery Chaos to receave thir fall.

So spake the Sovran voice, and Clouds beganTo darken all the Hill, and smoak to rowlIn duskie wreathes, reluctant flames, the signeOf wrauth awak't: nor with less dread the loudEthereal Trumpet from on high gan blow:At which command the Powers Militant,That stood for Heav'n, in mighty Quadrate joyn"dOf Union irresistible, mov'd onIn silence thir bright Legions, to the soundOf instrumental Harmonie that breath'dHeroic Ardor to advent'rous deedsUnder thir God-like Leaders, in the CauseOf God and his Messiah. On they moveIndissolubly firm; nor obvious Hill,Nor streit'ning Vale, nor Wood, nor Stream dividesThir perfet ranks; for high above the groundThir march was, and the passive Air upboreThir nimble tread, as when the total kindOf Birds in orderly array on wingCame summond over Eden to receiveThir names of thee; so over many a tractOf Heav'n they march'd, and many a Province wideTenfold the length of this terrene: at lastFarr in th' Horizon to the North appeer'dFrom skirt to skirt a fierie Region, stretchtIn battailous aspect, and neerer viewBristl'd with upright beams innumerableOf rigid Spears, and Helmets throng'd, and ShieldsVarious, with boastful Argument portraid,The banded Powers of Satan hasting onWith furious expedition; for they weendThat self same day by fight, or by surprizeTo win the Mount of God, and on his ThroneTo set the envier of his State, the proudAspirer, but thir thoughts prov'd fond and vainIn the mid way: though strange to us it seemdAt first, that Angel should with Angel warr,And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meetSo oft in Festivals of joy and loveUnanimous, as sons of one great SireHymning th' Eternal Father: but the shoutOf Battel now began, and rushing soundOf onset ended soon each milder thought.High in the midst exalted as a GodTh' Apostat in his Sun-bright Chariot sateIdol of Majestie Divine, enclos'dWith Flaming Cherubim, and golden Shields;Then lighted from his gorgeous Throne, for now'Twixt Host and Host but narrow space was left,A dreadful intervall, and Front to FrontPresented stood in terrible arrayOf hideous length: before the cloudie Van,On the rough edge of battel ere it joyn,d,Satan with vast and haughtie strides advanc't,Came towring, armd in Adamant and Gold;Abdiel that sight endur'd not, where he stoodAmong the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,And thus his own undaunted heart explores.

O Heav'n! that such resemblance of the HighestShould yet remain, where faith and realtieRemain not; wherfore should not strength and mightThere fail where Vertue fails, or weakest proveWhere boldest; though to sight unconquerable?His puissance, trusting in th' Almightie's aide,I mean to try, whose Reason I have tri'dUnsound 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 foule,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 moreIncens't, and thus securely him defi'd.

Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reachtThe highth of thy aspiring unoppos'd,The Throne of God unguarded, and his sideAbandond at the terror of thy PowerOr potent tongue; fool, not to think how vainAgainst th' Omnipotent to rise in Arms;Who out of smallest things could without endHave rais'd incessant Armies to defeatThy folly; or with solitarie handReaching beyond all limit at one blowUnaided could have finisht thee, and whelmdThy Legions under darkness; but thou seestAll are not of thy Train; there be who FaithPrefer, and Pietie to God, though thenTo thee not visible, when I aloneSeemd in thy World erroneous to dissentFrom all: my Sect thou seest, now learn too lateHow few somtimes may know, when thousands err.

Whom the grand foe with scornful eye askanceThus answerd. Ill for thee, but in wisht houreOf my revenge, first sought for thou returnstFrom flight, seditious Angel, to receaveThy merited reward, the first assayOf this right hand provok't, since first that tongueInspir'd with contradiction durst opposeA third part of the Gods, in Synod metThir Deities to assert, who while they feelVigour Divine within them, can allowOmnipotence to none. But well thou comstBefore thy fellows, ambitious to winFrom me som Plume, that thy success may showDestruction to the rest: this pause between(Unanswerd least thou boast) to let thee know;At first I thought that Libertie and Heav'nTo heav'nly Soules had bin all one; but nowI see that most through sloth had rather serve,Ministring Spirits, traind up in Feast and Song;Such hast thou arm'd, the Ministrelsie of Heav'n,Servilitie with freedom to contend,As both thir deeds compar'd this day shall prove.

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern repli'd.Apostat, still thou errst, nor end wilt findOf erring, from the path of truth remote:Unjustly thou deprav'st 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 excellsThem whom he governs. This is servitude,To serve th' unwise, or him who hath rebelldAgainst his worthier, as thine now serve thee,Thy self not free, but to thy self enthrall'd;Yet leudly dar'st our ministring upbraid.Reign thou in Hell thy Kingdom, let mee serveIn Heav'n God ever blest, and his DivineBehests obey, worthiest to be obey'd,Yet Chains in Hell, not Realms expect: mean whileFrom mee returnd, 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 ShieldSuch ruin intercept: ten paces hugeHe back recoild; the tenth on bended kneeHis massie Spear upstaid; as if on EarthWinds under ground or waters forcing waySidelong, had push't a Mountain from his seatHalf sunk with all his Pines. Amazement seis'dThe Rebel Thrones, but greater rage to seeThus foil'd thir mightiest, ours joy filld, and shout,Presage of Victorie and fierce desireOf Battel: whereat Michael bid soundTh' 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 joyn'dThe horrid shock: now storming furie rose,And clamour such as heard in Heav'n till nowWas never, Arms on Armour clashing bray'dHorrible discord, and the madding WheelesOf brazen Chariots rag'd; dire was the noiseOf conflict; over head the dismal hissOf fiery Darts in flaming volies flew,And flying vaulted either Host with fire.So under fierie Cope together rush'dBoth Battels maine, with ruinous assaultAnd inextinguishable rage; all Heav'nResounded, and had Earth bin then, all EarthHad to her Center shook. What wonder? whenMillions of fierce encountring Angels foughtOn either side, the least of whom could weildThese Elements, and arm him with the forceOf all thir Regions: how much more of PowerArmie against Armie numberless to raiseDreadful combustion warring, and disturb,Though not destroy, thir happie Native seat;Had not th' Eternal King OmnipotentFrom his strong hold of Heav'n high over-rul'dAnd limited thir might; though numberd suchAs each divided Legion might have seemdA numerous Host, in strength each armed handA Legion; led in fight, yet Leader seemdEach Warriour single as in Chief, expertWhen to advance, or stand, or turn the swayOf Battel, open when, and when to closeThe ridges of grim Warr; no thought of flight,None of retreat, no unbecoming deedThat argu'd fear; each on himself reli'd,As onely in his arm the moment layOf victorie; deeds of eternal fameWere don, but infinite: for wide was spredThat Warr and various; somtimes on firm groundA standing fight, then soaring on main wingTormented all the Air; all Air seemd thenConflicting Fire: long time in eeven scaleThe Battel hung; till Satan, who that dayProdigious power had shewn, and met in ArmesNo equal, raunging through the dire attackOf fighting Seraphim confus'd, at lengthSaw where the Sword of Michael smote, and fell'dSquadrons at once, with huge two-handed swayBrandisht aloft the horrid edge came downWide wasting; such destruction to withstandHe hasted, and oppos'd the rockie OrbOf tenfold Adamant, his ample ShieldA vast circumference: At his approachThe great Arch-Angel from his warlike toileSurceas'd, and glad as hoping here to endIntestine War in Heav'n, the arch foe subdu'dOr Captive drag'd in Chains, with hostile frownAnd visage all enflam'd first thus began.

Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seestThese Acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,Though heaviest by just measure on thy selfAnd thy adherents: how hast thou disturb dHeav'ns blessed peace, and into Nature broughtMiserie, uncreated till the crimeOf thy Rebellion? how hast thou instill'dThy malice into thousands, once uprightAnd faithful, now prov'd false. But think not hereTo trouble Holy Rest; Heav'n casts thee outFrom all her Confines. Heav'n the seat of blissBrooks not the works of violence and Warr.Hence then, and evil go with thee alongThy ofspring, to the place of evil, Hell,Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broiles,Ere this avenging Sword begin thy doome,Or som more sudden vengeance wing'd from GodPrecipitate thee with augmented paine.

So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thusThe Adversarie. Nor think thou with windOf airie threats to aw whom yet with deedsThou canst not. Hast thou turnd the least of theseTo flight, or if to fall, but that they riseUnvanquisht, easier to transact with meeThat thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threatsTo chase me hence? erre not that so shall endThe strife which thou call'st evil, but wee styleThe strife of Glorie: which we mean to win,Or turn this Heav'n it self into the HellThou fablest, here however to dwell free,If not to reign: mean while thy utmost force,And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid,I flie not, but have sought thee farr and nigh.

They ended parle, and both addrest 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 seemd,Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, armsFit to decide the Empire of great Heav'n.Now wav'd thir fierie Swords, and in the AireMade horrid Circles; two broad Suns thir ShieldsBlaz'd opposite, while expectation stoodIn horror; from each hand with speed retir'dWhere erst was thickest fight, th' Angelic throng,And left large field, unsafe within the windOf such commotion, such as to set forthGreat things by small, If Natures concord broke,Among the Constellations warr were sprung,Two Planets rushing from aspect maligneOf fiercest opposition in mid Skie,Should combat, and thir jarring Sphears confound.Together both with next to Almightie Arme,Uplifted imminent one stroke they aim'dThat might determine, and not need repeate,As not of power, at once; nor odds appeerdIn might or swift prevention; but the swordOf Michael from the Armorie of GodWas giv'n him temperd so, that neither keenNor solid might resist that edge: it metThe sword of Satan with steep force to smiteDescending, and in half cut sheere, nor staid,But with swift wheele reverse, deep entring shar'dAll his right side; then Satan first knew pain,And writh'd him to and fro convolv'd; so soreThe griding sword with discontinuous woundPass'd through him, but th' Ethereal substance clos'dNot long divisible, and from the gashA stream of Nectarous humor issuing flow'dSanguin, such as Celestial Spirits may bleed,And all his Armour staind ere while so bright.Forthwith on all sides to his aide was runBy Angels many and strong, who interpos'dDefence, while others bore him on thir ShieldsBack to his Chariot; where it stood retir'dFrom off the files of warr; there they him laidGnashing for anguish and despite and shameTo find himself not matchless, and his prideHumbl'd by such rebuke, so farr beneathHis confidence to equal God in power.Yet soon he heal'd; for Spirits that live throughoutVital in every part, not as frail manIn Entrailes, Heart or Head, Liver or Reines;Cannot but by annihilating die;Nor in thir liquid texture mortal woundReceive, no more then can the fluid Aire:All Heart they live, all Head, all Eye, all Eare,All Intellect, all Sense, and as they please,They Limb themselves, and colour, shape or sizeAssume, as likes them best, condense or rare.

Mean while in other parts like deeds deservdMemorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,And with fierce Ensignes pierc'd the deep arrayOf Moloc furious King, who him defi'd,And at his Chariot wheeles to drag him boundThreatn'd, nor from the Holie One of Heav'nRefrein'd his tongue blasphemous; but anonDown clov'n to the waste, with shatterd ArmesAnd uncouth paine fled bellowing. On each wingUriel and Raphael his vaunting foe,Though huge, and in a Rock of Diamond Armd,Vanquish'd Adramelec, and Asmadai,Two potent Thrones, that to be less then GodsDisdain'd, but meaner thoughts learnd in thir flight,Mangl'd with gastly wounds through Plate and Maile,Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoyThe Atheist crew, but with redoubl'd blowAriel and Arioc, and the violenceOf Ramiel scorcht and blasted overthrew.I might relate of thousands, and thir namesEternize here on Earth; but those electAngels contented with thir fame in Heav'nSeek not the praise of men: the other sortIn might though wondrous and in Acts of Warr,Nor of Renown less eager, yet by doomeCanceld from Heav'n and sacred memorie,Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.For strength from Truth divided and from Just,Illaudable, naught merits but dispraiseAnd ignominie, yet to glorie aspiresVain glorious, and through infamie seeks fame:Therfore Eternal silence be thir doome.

And now thir Mightiest quelld, the battel swerv'd,With many an inrode gor'd; deformed routEnter'd, and foul disorder; all the groundWith shiverd armour strow'n, and on a heapChariot and Charioter lay overturndAnd fierie foaming Steeds; what stood, recoyldOrewearied, through the faint Satanic HostDefensive scarse, or with pale fear surpris'd,Then first with fear surpris'd and sense of paineFled ignominious, to such evil broughtBy sin of disobedience, till that hourNot liable to fear or flight or paine.Far otherwise th' inviolable SaintsIn Cubic Phalanx firm advanc't entire,Invulnerable, impenitrably arm'd:Such high advantages thir innocenceGave them above thir foes, not to have sinnd,Not to have disobei'd; in fight they stoodUnwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'dBy wound, though from thir place by violence mov'd.

Now Night her course began, and over Heav'nInducing darkness, grateful truce impos'd,And silence on the odious dinn of Warr:Under her Cloudie covert both retir'd,Victor and Vanquisht: on the foughten fieldMichael and his Angels prevalentEncamping, plac'd in Guard thir Watches round,Cherubic waving fires: on th' other partSatan with his rebellious disappeerd,Far in the dark dislodg'd, and void of rest,His Potentates to Councel call'd by night;And in the midst thus undismai'd began.

O now in danger tri'd, now known in ArmesNot to be overpowerd, Companions deare,Found worthy not of Libertie alone,Too mean pretense, but what we more affect,Honour, Dominion, Glorie, and renowne,Who have sustaind one day in doubtful fight(And if one day, why not Eternal dayes?)What Heavens Lord had powerfullest to sendAgainst us from about his Throne, and judg'dSufficient 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 arm'd,Some disadvantage we endur'd and paine,Till now not known, but known as soon contemnd,Since now we find this our Empyreal formIncapable of mortal injurieImperishable, and though peirc'd with wound,Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.Of evil then so small as easie thinkThe remedie; perhaps more valid Armes,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 mindes, and understanding sound,Due search and consultation will disclose.

He sat; and in th' assembly next upstoodNisroc of Principalities the prime;As one he stood escap't from cruel fight,Sore toild, his riv'n Armes to havoc hewn,And cIoudie 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 findAgainst unequal armes to fight in paine,Against unpaind, impassive; from which evilRuin must needs ensue; for what availesValour or strength, though matchless, quelld 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 perfet miserie, the worstOf evils, and excessive, overturnesAll patience. He who therefore can inventWith what more forcible we may offendOur yet unwounded Enemies, or armeOur selves with like defence, to me deservesNo less then for deliverance what we owe.

Whereto with look compos'd Satan repli'd.Not uninvented that, which thou arightBelievst 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 Heav'n, adorndWith Plant, Fruit, Flour Ambrosial, Gemms & Gold,Whose Eye so superficially surveyesThese things, as not to mind from whence they growDeep under ground, materials dark and crude,Of spiritous and fierie spume, till touchtWith Heav'ns ray, and temperd they shoot forthSo beauteous, op'ning to the ambient light.These in thir dark Nativitie the DeepShall yield us pregnant with infernal flame,Which into hallow Engins long and roundThick-rammd, at th' other bore with touch of fireDilated and infuriate shall send forthFrom far with thundring noise among our foesSuch implements of mischief as shall dashTo pieces, and orewhelm whatever standsAdverse, that they shall fear we have disarmdThe Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.Nor long shall be our labour, yet ere dawne,Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joindThink nothing hard, much less to be despaird.He ended, and his words thir drooping chereEnlightn'd, and thir languisht hope reviv'd.Th' invention all admir'd, and each, how heeTo be th' inventer miss'd, so easie it seemdOnce found, which yet unfound most would have thoughtImpossible: yet haply of thy RaceIn future dayes, if Malice should aboun,Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'dWith dev'lish machination might deviseLike instrument to plague the Sons of menFor sin, on warr and mutual slaughter bent.Forthwith from Councel to the work they flew,None arguing stood, innumerable handsWere ready, in a moment up they turndWide the Celestial soile, and saw beneathTh' originals of Nature in thir crudeConception; Sulphurous and Nitrous FoameThey found, they mingl'd, and with suttle Art,Concocted and adusted they reduc'dTo blackest grain, and into store convey'd:Part hidd'n veins diggd up (nor hath this EarthEntrails unlike) of Mineral and Stone,Whereof to found thir Engins and thir BallsOf missive ruin; part incentive reedProvide, pernicious with one touch to fire.So all ere day-spring, under conscious NightSecret they finish'd, and in order set,With silent circumspection unespi'd.Now when fair Morn Orient in Heav'n appeerdUp rose the Victor Angels, and to ArmsThe matin Trumpet Sung: in Arms they stoodOf Golden Panoplie, refulgent Host,Soon banded; others from the dawning HillsLookd round, and Scouts each Coast light-armed scoure,Each quarter, to descrie the distant foe,Where lodg'd, or whither fled, or if for fight,In motion or in alt: him soon they metUnder spred Ensignes moving nigh, in slowBut firm Battalion; back with speediest SailZophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,Came flying, and in mid Aire aloud thus cri'd.

Arme, Warriours, Arme 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 settl'd in his face I seeSad resolution and secure: let eachHis Adamantine coat gird well, and eachFit well his Helme, gripe fast his orbed Shield,Born eevn or high, for this day will pour down,If I conjecture aught, no drizling showr,But ratling storm of Arrows barbd with fire.So warnd he them aware themselves, and soonIn order, quit of all impediment;Instant without disturb they took Allarm,And onward move Embattelld; when beholdNot distant far with heavie pace the FoeApproaching gross and huge; in hollow CubeTraining his devilish Enginrie, impal'dOn every side with shaddowing Squadrons Deep,To hide the fraud. At interview both stoodA while, but suddenly at head appeerdSatan: And thus was heard Commanding loud.

Vanguard, to Right and Left the Front unfould;That all may see who hate us, how we seekPeace and composure, and with open brestStand readie to receive them, if they likeOur overture, and turn not back perverse;But that I doubt, however witness Heaven,Heav'n witness thou anon, while we dischargeFreely our part; yee 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 retir'd.Which to our eyes discoverd new and strange,A triple mounted row of Pillars laidOn Wheels (for like to Pillars most they seem'dOr hollow'd bodies made of Oak or FirrWith branches lopt, in Wood or Mountain fell'd)Brass, Iron, Stonie mould, had not thir mouthesWith hideous orifice gap't 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 amus'd,Not long, for sudden all at once thir ReedsPut forth, and to a narrow vent appli'dWith nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,But soon obscur'd with smoak, all Heav'n appeerd,From those deep throated Engins belcht, whose roarEmboweld with outragious noise the Air,And all her entrails tore, disgorging fouleThir devilish glut, chaind Thunderbolts and HailOf Iron Globes, which on the Victor HostLevel'd, with such impetuous furie smote,That whom they hit, none on thir feet might stand,Though standing else as Rocks, but down they fellBy thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rowl'd;The sooner for thir Arms, unarm'd they mightHave easily as Spirits evaded swiftBy quick contraction or remove; but nowFoule dissipation follow'd and forc't rout;Nor serv'd it to relax thir serried files.What should they do? if on they rusht, repulseRepeated, and indecent overthrowDoubl'd, would render them yet more despis'd,And to thir foes a laughter; for in viewStood rankt of Seraphim another rowIn posture to displode thir second tireOf Thunder: back defeated to returnThey worse abhorr'd. Satan beheld thir plight,And to his Mates thus in derision call'd.

O Friends, why come not on these Victors proud?Ere while they fierce were coming, and when wee,To entertain them fair with open FrontAnd Brest, (what could we more?) propounded termsOf composition, strait they chang'd thir minds,Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,As they would dance, yet for a dance they seemdSomwhat extravagant and wilde, perhapsFor joy of offerd peace: but I supposeIf our proposals once again were heardWe should compel them to a quick result.

To whom thus Belial in like gamesom 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 stumbl'd many, who receives them right,Had need from head to foot well understand;Not understood, this gift they have besides,They shew us when our foes walk not upright.

So they among themselves in pleasant veineStood scoffing, highthn'd in thir thoughts beyondAll doubt of Victorie, eternal mightTo match with thir inventions they presum'dSo easie, 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 powerWhich God hath in his mighty Angels plac'd)Thir Arms away they threw, and to the Hills(For Earth hath this variety from Heav'nOf pleasure situate in Hill and Dale)Light as the Lightning glimps they ran, they flew,From thir foundations loosning to and froThey pluckt the seated Hills with all thir load,Rocks, Waters, Woods, and by the shaggie topsUp lifting bore them in thir hands: Amaze,Be sure, and terrour seis'd the rebel Host,When coming towards them so dread they sawThe bottom of the Mountains upward turn'd,Till on those cursed Engins triple-rowThey saw them whelm'd, and all thir confidenceUnder the weight of Mountains buried deep,Themselves invaded next, and on thir headsMain Promontories flung, which in the AirCame shadowing, and opprest whole Legions arm'd,Thir armor help'd thir harm, crush't in and bruis'dInto thir substance pent, which wrought them painImplacable, and many a dolorous groan,Long strugling 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 ArmesBetook them, and the neighbouring Hills uptore;So Hills amid the Air encounterd HillsHurl'd to and fro with jaculation direThat under ground, they fought in dismal shade;Infernal noise; Warr seem'd a civil GameTo this uproar; horrid confusion heaptUpon confusion rose: and now all Heav'nHad gon to wrack, with ruin overspred,Had not th' Almightie Father where he sitsShrin'd in his Sanctuarie of Heav'n secure,Consulting on the sum of things, foreseenThis tumult, and permitted all, advis'd:That his great purpose he might so fulfill,To honour his Anointed Son aveng'dUpon his enemies, and to declareAll power on him transferr'd: whence to his SonTh' Assessor of his Throne he thus began.Effulgence of my Glorie, Son belov'd,Son in whose face invisible is beheldVisibly, what by Deitie I am,And in whose hand what by Decree I doe,Second Omnipotence, two dayes are past,Two dayes, as we compute the dayes of Heav'n,Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tameThese disobedient; sore hath been thir fight,As likeliest was, when two such Foes met arm'd;For to themselves I left them, and thou knowst,Equal in their Creation they were form'd,Save what sin hath impaird, which yet hath wroughtInsensibly, for I suspend thir doom;Whence in perpetual fight they needs must lastEndless, and no solution will be found:Warr wearied hath perform'd what Warr can do,And to disorder'd rage let loose the reines,With Mountains as with Weapons arm'd, which makesWild work in Heav'n, and dangerous to the maine.Two dayes are therefore past, the third is thine;For thee I have ordain'd it, and thus farrHave sufferd, that the Glorie may be thineOf ending this great Warr, since none but ThouCan end it. Into thee such Vertue and GraceImmense I have transfus'd, that all may knowIn Heav'n and Hell thy Power above compare,And this perverse Commotion governd 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 Fathers might,Ascend my Chariot, guide the rapid WheelesThat shake Heav'ns basis, bring forth all my Warr,My Bow and Thunder, my Almightie ArmsGird on, and Sword upon thy puissant Thigh;Pursue these sons of Darkness, drive them outFrom all Heav'ns 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 Rayes directShon full, he all his Father full expresstIneffably into his face receiv'd,And thus the filial Godhead answering spake.

O Father, O Supream of heav'nly Thrones,First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou alwayes seekstTo glorifie thy Son, I alwayes thee,As is most just; this I my Glorie account,My exaltation, and my whole delight,That thou in me well pleas'd, declarst thy willFulfill'd, 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 mee all whom thou lov'st:But whom thou hat'st, I hate, and can put onThy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,Armd with thy might, rid heav'n of these rebell'd,To thir prepar'd ill Mansion driven downTo chains of darkness, and th' undying Worm,That from thy just obedience could revolt,Whom to obey is happiness entire.Then shall thy Saints unmixt, and from th' impureFarr separate, circling thy holy MountUnfained Halleluiahs to thee sing,Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.So said, he o're his Scepter bowing, roseFrom the right hand of Glorie where he sate,And the third sacred Morn began to shineDawning through Heav'n: forth rush'd with whirlwind soundThe Chariot of Paternal Deitie,Flashing thick flames, Wheele within Wheele undrawn,It self instinct with Spirit, but convoydBy four Cherubic shapes, four Faces eachHad wondrous, as with Starrs thir bodies allAnd Wings were set with Eyes, with Eyes the wheelsOf Beril, and careering Fires between;Over thir heads a chrystal Firmament,Whereon a Saphir Throne, inlaid with pureAmber, and colours of the showrie Arch.Hee in Celestial Panoplie all armdOf radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,Ascended, at his right hand VictorieSate Eagle-wing'd, beside him hung his BowAnd Quiver with three-bolted Thunder stor'd,And from about him fierce Effusion rowldOf smoak and bickering flame, and sparkles dire;Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,He onward came, farr off his coming shon,And twentie thousand (I thir number heard)Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen:Hee on the wings of Cherub rode sublimeOn the Chrystallin Skie, in Saphir Thron'd.Illustrious farr and wide, but by his ownFirst seen, them unexpected joy surpriz'd,When the great Ensign of Messiah blaz'dAloft by Angels born, his Sign in Heav'n:Under whose conduct Michael soon reduc'dHis Armie, circumfus'd on either Wing,Under thir Head imbodied all in one.Before him Power Divine his way prepar'd;At his command the uprooted Hills retir'dEach to his place, they heard his voice and wentObsequious, Heav'n his wonted face renewd,And with fresh Flourets Hill and Valley smil'd.This saw his hapless Foes but stood obdur'd,And to rebellious fight rallied thir PowersInsensate, hope conceiving from despair.In heav'nly Spirits could such perverseness dwell?But to convince the proud what Signs availe,Or Wonders move th' obdurate to relent?They hard'nd more by what might most reclame,Grieving to see his Glorie, at the sightTook envie, and aspiring to his highth,Stood reimbattell'd fierce, by force or fraudWeening to prosper, and at length prevaileAgainst God and Messiah, or to fallIn universal ruin last, and nowTo final Battel 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 standYe Angels arm'd, this day from Battel rest;Faithful hath been your warfare, and of GodAccepted, fearless in his righteous Cause,And as ye have receivd, so have ye donInvincibly; but of this cursed crewThe punishment to other hand belongs,Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints;Number to this dayes work is not ordain'dNor multitude, stand onely and beholdGods indignation on these Godless pourdBy mee, not you but mee they have despis'd,Yet envied; against mee is all thir rage,Because the Father, t' whom in Heav'n supreamKingdom and Power and Glorie appertains,Hath honourd me according to his will.Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assig'n'd;That they may have thir wish, to trie with meeIn Battel which the stronger proves, they all,Or I alone against them, since by strengthThey measure all, of other excellenceNot emulous, nor care who them excells;Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.

So spake the Son, and into terrour chang'dHis count'nance too severe to be beheldAnd full of wrauth bent on his Enemies.At once the Four spred out thir Starrie wingsWith dreadful shade contiguous, and the OrbesOf his fierce Chariot rowld, as with the soundOf torrent Floods, or of a numerous Host.Hee on his impious Foes right onward drove,Gloomie as Night; under his burning WheelesThe stedfast Empyrean shook throughout,All but the Throne it self of God. Full soonAmong them he arriv'd; in his right handGrasping ten thousand Thunders, which he sentBefore him, such as in thir Soules infix'dPlagues; they astonisht all resistance lost,All courage; down thir idle weapons drop'd;O're Shields and Helmes, and helmed heads he rodeOf Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate,That wisht 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-visag'd Foure,Distinct with eyes, and from the living WheelsDistinct alike with multitude of eyes,One Spirit in them rul'd, and every eyeGlar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fireAmong th' accurst, that witherd all thir strength,And of thir wonted vigour left them draind,Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n.Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'dHis Thunder in mid Volie, for he meantNot to destroy, but root them out of Heav'n:The overthrown he rais'd, and as a HeardOf Goats or timerous flock together throngdDrove them before him Thunder-struck, pursu'dWith terrors and with furies to the boundsAnd Chrystal wall of Heav'n, which op'ning wide,Rowld inward, and a spacious Gap disclos'dInto the wastful Deep; the monstrous sightStrook them with horror backward, but far worseUrg'd them behind; headlong themselves they threwDown from the verge of Heav'n, Eternal wrauthBurnt after them to the bottomless pit.

Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, Hell sawHeav'n ruining from Heav'n and would have fledAffrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deepHer dark foundations, and too fast had bound.Nine dayes they fell; confounded Chaos roard,And felt tenfold confusion in thir fallThrough his wilde Anarchie, so huge a routIncumberd him with ruin: Hell at lastYawning receavd them whole, and on them clos'd,Hell thir fit habitation fraught with fireUnquenchable, the house of woe and paine.Disburd'nd Heav'n rejoic'd, and soon repairdHer mural breach, returning whence it rowld.Sole Victor from th' expulsion of his FoesMessiah his triumphal Chariot turnd:To meet him all his Saints, who silent stoodEye witnesses of his Almightie Acts,With Jubilie advanc'd; and as they went,Shaded with branching Palme, each order bright,Sung Triumph, and him sung Victorious King,Son, Heir, and Lord, to him Dominion giv'n,Worthiest to Reign: he celebrated rodeTriumphant through mid Heav'n, into the CourtsAnd Temple of his migihtie Father Thron'dOn high: who into Glorie him receav'd,Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.

Thus measuring things in Heav'n by things on EarthAt thy request, and that thou maist bewareBy what is past, to thee I have reveal'dWhat might have else to human Race bin hid;The discord which befel, and Warr in Heav'nAmong th' Angelic Powers, and the deep fallOf those too high aspiring, who rebelldWith Satan, hee who envies now thy state,Who now is plotting how he may seduceThee also from obedience, that with himBereavd of happiness thou maist partakeHis punishment, Eternal miserie;Which would be all his solace and revenge,As a despite don against the most High,Thee once to gaine Companion of his woe.But list'n not to his Temptations, warneThy weaker; let it profit thee to have heardBy terrible Example the rewardOf disobedience; firm they might have stood,Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.

© John Milton