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Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings carry to th' anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy fight.
Ile said, and as the sound of waters deep,
Hoarse murmur echo'd to his words applause
Through the infinite host; nor less for that
The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone
Incompass'd round with foes, thus answer'd bold:
O alienatc from God! O sp'rit accurs'd!
Forsaken of all good; I see thy fall
Determin'd, and thy hapless crew involv'd .
In this perfitious fraud, contagion spread
Both of thy crime and punishment: henceforth
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws
Will not be now vouchsaf'd; other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recal; .
That golden sceptre, which thou didst reject,
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise :
Yet not for thy advice or threats. I fiy
These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath
Impendent, raging into sudden flame,
Distinguish not: for soon expect to feel
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
Then who created thee lamenting learn,;.
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know. ..
So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found . .
Among the faithless, faithful only he;
Among innumerable false, unmov'd,
Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterrify'd,
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal:
Nor number, nor example, with him wrought "
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind
Though single. From amidst them forth he pass'd,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustain'd
Superior, nor of violence fear'd ought;
And with retorted scorn his back' he torn'd 'heures in
On those proud tow'rs to swift destruction dogm'd. s ro
And thou in military prowess next,
Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sons
Invincible, lead forth my armed saints,
Bs thousands and by millions, rang'd for fighty.
Equal in number to that godless crew,
Rebellious: them with fire and hostile arins
Fearless assault; and to the brow of heav'n
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 sov'reign voice, and clouds began
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll
In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign
Of wrath awak'd: nor with less dread the loud
Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow :
At which command the powers militant,
That stood for heav'n, in mighty quadrate join'd
Of union irresistible, moy'd on
In silence their bright legions, to the sound
of instrumental harmony, that breath'd
Heroic ardour to advent'rous deeds
Under their god-like leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move
Indissolubly firun ; nor obvious hill,
Nor strait’ning vale, nor wood, nor stream divides
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 summond over Eden, to receive
Their names of thee; so over many a tract
Of heav'n they march'd, and inapy a province wide,
Tenfold the length of this terrene : at last
Far in th'horizon to the north appear'd
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretch'd
In battalious aspect, and nearer view
Bristled with upright beams innumerable
Of rigid spears, and helmets throng'd, and shields
Various, with boastful argument portray'd,
The banded pow'rs of Satan hasting on
With furious expedition ; for they ween'd
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 prov'd fond and vain
In the mid-way: though strange to us it seem'd
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 th'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
Th’ apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
idol of majesty divine, inclos'd
With flaming Cherubiin 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 Jength: before the cloudy van
On the rough edge of battle ere it join'd,
Satan with vast and haughty strides advanc'd
Came tow'ring, arm'd in adamant and gold;
Abdiel that sight endur'd not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores:
O heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest
Should yet remain, where faith and reality
Remain not: wherefore should not strength and might
There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove
Where boldest, though to fight unconquerable?
His puissalice, trusting in th' Alinighty's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have try'd
L'nsound and false; nor is it ought but just,
That he who in debate of truth hath won
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
Victor; though brutish that contest, 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
Incens'd, and thus securely him defy'd:
Proud, art thou met! thy hope was to have reach'd The height of thy aspiring unopposid, The throne of God unguarded, and his side Abandon'd at the terror of thy power Or potent tongue: fool, not to think how vain Against th’Omnipotent to rise in arms; Who out of smallest things could without end Have rais'd incessant armies to defeat Thy folly; or with solitary hand Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow Unaided could have finish'd thee, and whelin'd 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 Seem'd 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 answer'd: Ill for thee, but in wish'd hour 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 provok'd, since first that tongue, Inspir'd with contradiction, durst oppose. A third part of the Gods, in synod met Their deities t'assert, who, while they feel Vigour divine within them, can allow Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st Before thy fellows, ainbitious to win From me some plume, that thy success may show Destruction to the rest ; this pause between (Unanswer'd lest thou boast) to let thee know;
At first I thought that liberty and heav'n
To heav'nly souls had been all one; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Minist'ring sp'rits, train'd up in feast and song;
Such hast thou arm'd, the minstrelsy of heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove.
To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern reply'd :
Apostate, still thou errist, 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 servitude,
To serve th’unwise, or him who hath rebell'd
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
Thyself not free, but to thyself inthrall'd;
Yet lewdly dar'st our minist'ring upbraid.
Reign thou in hell, thy kingdom; let me serve
In heav'n God ever blest, and his divine
Hehests obey, worthiest to be obey'd ;
Yet chains in hell, not realms, expect: meanwhile
From me return'd, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
This greeting on thy impious crest receivé.
So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight, Nor motion of swift thought, less could bis shield Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge He back recojld: the tenth on bended knee His massy spear upstay'd; as if on earth Winds under ground, or waters forcing way, Sidelong had push'd a mountain from his seat, Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd The rebel thrones, but greater rage to see Thus foild their mightiest; ours joy fill'd, and shout, Presage of victory, and fierce desire Of battle: whereat Michael bid sound Ch’ Arch-angel trumpet; through the vast of heav'n