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Great things by small, if, nature's concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planets, rushing from aspéct malign
Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky
Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound.
Together both with next to almighty arm
Uplifted 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 swift prevention: But the sword
Of Michael from the armory 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, shared
All his right side: Then Satan first knew pain,
And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore
The griding sword with discontinuous wound
Pass'd through him: But the etherial substance closed,
Not long divisible; and from the gash
A stream of nectarous humour issuing flow'd
Sanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed,
And all his armour stain'd, erewhile so bright.
Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run
By Angels many and strong, who interposed
Defence, while others bore him on their shields
Back to his chariot, where it stood retired
From off the files of war: There they him laid
Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame,

To find himself not matchless, and his pride
Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath
His confidence to equal God in power.
Yet soon he heal'd; for Spirits that live throughout
Vital in every part, not as frail man
In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,
Cannot but by annihilating die;
Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound
Receive, 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 size
Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.

Meanwhile in other parts like deeds deserved
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,
And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array
Of Moloch, furious king; who him defied,
And at his chariot-wheels to drag bim bound
Threaten'd, nor from the Holy One of Heaven
Refrain’d his tongue blasphemous; but anon
Down cloven to the waist, with shatter'd arms
And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing
Uriel, and Raphaël, his vaunting foe,
Though huge, and a rock of diamond arm’d,
Vanquish'd Adramelech, and Asmadai,
Two potent Thrones, that to be less than Gods
Disdain'd, but meaner thoughts learn'd in their flight,
Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail.
Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy
The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow

Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence
Of Ramiel scorch'd and blasted, overthrew.
I might relate of thousands, and their names
Eternize here on earth; but those elect
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven,
Seek not the praise of men : The other sort,
In might though wondrous and in acts of war,
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom
Cancel'd from Heaven and sacred memory,
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
For strength from truth divided, and from just,
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise
And ignominy; yet to glory aspires
Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame:
Therefore eternal silence be their doom.

And now, their mightiest quell'd, the battle swerved,
With many an inroad gored; deformed rout
Enter'd, and foul disorder'; all the ground
With shiver'd armour strown, and on a heap
Chariot and charioteer lay overturn'd,
And fiery-foaming steeds; what stood recoil'd
O’er-wearied, through the faint Satanic host
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised,
Then first with fear surprised and sense of pain,
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought
By sin of disobedience; till that hour
Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain.
Far otherwise the inviolable Saints,
In cubic phalanx firm, advanced entire,
Invulnerable, impenetrably arm'd;

Such high advantages their innocence
Gave them above their foes; not to have sinn’d,
Not to have disobey'd; in fight they stood
Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'd
By wound, though from their place by violence moved.

Now night her course began, and, over Heaven
Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed,
And silence on the odious din of war:
Under her cloudy covert both retired,
Victor and vanquish'd: On the foughten field
Michaël and his Angels prevalent
Encamping, placed in guard their watches round,
Cherubic waving fires: On the other part,
Satan with his rebellious disappear’d,
Far in the dark dislodged; and, void of rest,
His potentates to council call’d by night;
And in the midst thus undismay'd began.

O now in danger tried, now known in arms Not to be overpower'd, Companions dear, Found worthy not of liberty alone, Too mean pretence! but what we more affect, Honour, dominion, glory, and renown; Who have sustain’d one day in doubtful fight, (And if one day, why not eternal days?) What Heaven's Lord had powerfulest to send Against us from about his throne, and judged Sufficient to subdue us to his will, But proves not so: Then fallible, it seems, Of future we may deem him, though till now Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm'd,

Some disadvantage we endured and pain,
Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemn’d;
Since now we find this our empyreal form
Incapable of mortal injury,
Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound,
Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
Of evil then so small as easy think
The 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 cause
Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose.

He sat; and in the assembly next upstood
Nisroch, of Principalities the prime;
As one he stood escaped from cruel fight,
Sore toild, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And cloudy in aspéct thus answering spake.

Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right as Gods: yet hard
For Gods, and too unequal work we find,
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain'd, impassive; from which evil
Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails
Valouror strength, though matchless,quell'd with pain
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,

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