Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Each warrior single as in chief, expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
or battle; open when, and when to close
The ridges of grim war: no thought of flight,
None of retreat , no unbecoming deed
That argued fear; each on himself relied,
As only in his arm the moment lay
Of victory : deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread
That war, and various; sometimes on firm ground
A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing,
Tormented all the air; all air seem'd then
Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale
The battle hung, till Satan, who that day
Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms
No equal, ranging through the dire attack
Of fighting seraphim confus'd, at length
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and fell'd
Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway
Brandish'd aloft, the horrid edge came down
Wide-wasting; such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos'd the rocky orb
of tenfold adamant, bis ample shield,
A vast circumference. At his approach
The great arch-angel from his warlike toil
Surceas'd, and glad , as hoping here to end
Intestine war in heaven, the arch-foe subdued
Or captive dragg'd in chains, with hostile frown
And visage all inflam'd, first thus began :

« Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt, Unnam'd in heaven, now plenteous, as thou seest These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,

Guerrier si pare un condottiero , un duce
Sperto a inoltrar, a star, tornar lo sforzo
Della battaglia , aprir, serrare i passi
Di cruda pugna : niun pensier di fuga,
Niun di ritratta , ned un fatto indegno
Che tema accenni; ognuno in se s'affida,
Come in sua mano il gran momento posi
Della vittoria : opre d'eterna sama
Compiérsi ed infinite ; ampia si spande
La pugna e varia; ora sul fermo suolo
Lottaro immoti, ora a gran vol spiegando
Tempestan l'aria, e l' aria sembra allora
Turbin di foco. In lance ugual la pugna
Molto pendè, finchè Satan che possa
Quel dì avea mostra ingente , e niuno in armi
Trovato egual, entrato ú più la lotta
Fervea di serafin commisti , alfine
Vide ù la spada di Michel percote ,
E squadre a un colpo atterra; alto brandito
Con lena ad ambe man l' orrendo acciaro
Cadea sterminator; ruina tanta
Vold a cessar, ed orbe alpestre oppose
Di decuplo adamante, il suo gran scudo
Vasto e rotondo. Al suo venire il magno
Arcangelo arrestò l'oprar guerriero,
E lieto, omai finir l'interna guerra
Sperando in cielo, vinto o catenato
Il rubel duce, con nemico ciglio,
E volto acceso a dir cosi comincia:

« Autor di mal, pria di tua colpa ignoto Nome nel cielo, ed or si atroce a queste Prove di odiosa guerra, odiosa a tutti ,

Though heaviest by just measure on thyself,
And thy adherents : how hast thou disturb'd
IIcaven's blessed peace, and into nature brought
Misery uncreated till the crime
of thy rebellion ! how hast thou instill'd
Thy malice into thousands, once upright
And faithful, now prov'd false ! but think not here
To trouble holy rest; heaven, the seat of bliss,
From 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, wing'd from God, Precipitate the with augmented pain. »

So spake the prince of angels; to whom thus The adversary :

« Nor thiok thou with wind Or airy threats to awe, whom yet with deeds Thou canst not. Hast thou turn'd the least of these To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise Unvanquish’d, easier to transact with me That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats To chase me hence ? err not, that so shall end The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style The strife of glory; which we mean to win, Or turn this heaven itself into the hell Thou fablest ; here however to dwell free, If not to reign: meanwhile thy utmost force, And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid, I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.

[ocr errors]

Ma grave più per te e pei tuoi seguaci
Con giusto pondo; a che turbar tu pace
Si bella in cielo, ed in natura addurre
Danuaggi non creati fino al crime
Di tua ribellion? A che il veleno
Tuo reo spirare in tanti un di si giusti
E fidi, or traditori? L'alma pace
Non creder qui turbare ; il ciel ti caccia
Da suoi confini: il ciel di gioia ostello
Opre non vuol di violenza e guerra.
Quinci va dunque e teco vada il male
Tua prole, alla region del male , a inferno;
Tu e tua rea ciurma ! ribellion la trama
Pria che il mio ferro ultor la tua condanna
Imprenda, o ratto più il furor di Dio
Tosto ti piombi fra più crudi affanni. »

Si disse il prence angelico; e il nemico
A lui cosi :

« Non creder tu con vane
Minacce d'atterrir chi ancor con l'opre
Non potesti. De' miei il men prode hai forse
Fugalo tu o prostrato , ch' egli invitto
Non risorgesse, e me trattar confidi
Più facile , imperando , e con minacce
Da qui cacciarmi ? oh! si, tal fin la pugna
Avrà che tu di male, e noi di gloria
Pugna chiamiam: vincer vogliamo, o questo
Cielo stesso mutare in quello inferno
Che vaneggi; pur qui abitar francati
Se non regnar. Tue forze estreme e il tuo
Onnipossente or chiama a tua difesa;
Non fuggo io giả , te ormai di salda in falda. »

[ocr errors]

They ended parle, and both address'd for fight Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue Of angels, can relate, or to what things Liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift Human imagination to such height Or godlike power? for likest Gods they seem'd, Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, arms, Fit to decide the empire of great heaven.

Now wav'd their fiery swords, and in the air Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields Blaz'd opposite, while expectation stood In horror ; from each band with speed retir'd, Where erst was thickest fight, the angelic throng, And left large field, unsafe within the wind Of such commotion; such as ( to set forth Great things by small) if nature's concord broke, Among the constellations war were sprung, Two planets, rushing from aspect malign or fiercest opposition, in mid sky Should combat, and their jarring spberes confound.

Together both with next to almigty arm Uplisted imminent, one stroke they aim'd That might determine, and not need repeat, As not of power at once; nor odds appear'd In might or swist prevention : but the sword Of Michael from the armoury of God Was given him temper'd so, that neither keen Nor solid might resist that edge, it met The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite Descending, and in half cut sheer' ; nor staid, But with swift wheel reverse deep entering, shar'd All his right side: then Satan first knew pain,

« ZurückWeiter »