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Already known, what he for news had thought
To have reported. Gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly powers, who bim receiv'd
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
That of so many myriads fallen, yet one
Return'd not lost. On to the sacred hill
They led him high applauded, and present
Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice,
From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard :

" • Servant of God! well done, well hast thou fought
The better fight, who single hast maintain'd
Against revolted multitudes the cause
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms;
And for the testimony' of truth hast borne
Universal reproach, far worse to bear
Than violence: for this was all thy care
To stand approv'd in sight of God, though worlds
Judg'd thee perverse. The easier conquest now
Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
Back on thy foes more glorious to return,
Than scorn'd thou didst depart, and to subdue
By force, who reason for their law refuse,
Right reason for their law, and for their king
Messiah, 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 sons
Invincible; lead forth my armed saints,
By thousands and by millions rang'd for fight,
Equal in number to that godless crew
Rebellious; 'them with fire and hostile arms
Fearless assault, and to the brow of heaven
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss
Into their place of punishment, the gulf
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
Ilis fiery Chaos to receive their fall.'

“ So spake the Sovereign voice, and clouds began To darken all the hill, and sinoke to roll In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign Of wrath awak'd; nor with less dread the loud Ethereal trumpet from on bigh 'gan blow;


At which command the powers militant,
That stood for heaven, in mighty quadrate join'd
Of union irresistible, mov'd on
In silence their bright legions, to the sound
Of instrumental harmony, that breath'd
Heroic ardour to advent'rous deeds
Under their godlike leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move
Indissolubly firm ; nor obvious bill,
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 heaven they march’d, and many 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 battallious aspect, and nearer view
Bristled with upright beams innumerable
Of rigid spears, and helmets throng'd, and shields
Various, with boastful argument pourtray'd
The banded powers of Satan, lasting 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 midway: 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 begap, 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, enclosed

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With flaming cherubim and golden shields:
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now
'Twist host and host but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval, and front to front
Presented stood in terrible array
Of hideous length: 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 :

666 heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest Should yet remain, where faith and reality

Remain not: wherefore should not strength and
There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable ?
His puissance, trusting in th' Almighty's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have tried
Unsound and false ; nor is it ought but just,
That he who in debate of truth bath won,
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
Victor; through brutish that.contest and foul,
When reason bath 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
Iucens'd, and thus securely him detied:

". Proud, art thou met? thy hope vas to have
The height of thy aspiring unopposid, (reach'd
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 band,
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow
Unaided could have finish'd thee, and whelni'll
Thy legions under darkness. But thou seest

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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 to assert; who, while they feel
Vigour divine within them, can allow
Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st
Before thy fellows, ambitious 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 heaven
To heavenly souls had been all one ; but now
I see that most through sloth bad rather serve,
Minis'tring spirits, train'd up in feast and song;
Such bast thou arm'd, the minstrelsy of heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove.

66 To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied : * Apostate, still thou err’st, 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 bim who hath rebell'd Against his wortbier, as thine now serve thee, Thyself not free, but to thyself inthrallid; Yet dewdly dar’st our ministring upbraid. Reign thou in hell, thy kingdom; let me serve


In heaven God ever bless'd, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd ;
Yet chains in hell, nor realms expect: meanwhile
From me return'd, as erst thou said 'st, 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 fell
On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield,
Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge
He back recoil'd; the tenth on bended knee
His massy spear upstay'd; as if on earth
Winds under ground, or waters foreing 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 foil'd their mightiest; ours joy fill'd and sloud
Presage of victory, and fierce desire
Of battle: whereat Michael bid sound
Th’archangel trumpet: through the vast of heaven
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosannab to the Highest; nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in heaven till now
Was never ; aims on armouy clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots rag'l; dire was the noise
Of conflict; over bead the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in faming volleys flew,
And flying, vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rushid
Both battles main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage; all leaven
Resounded, and liad earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder ? when
BIillions of fierce encou 'ring ange's fouglit
On either side, the least of whom could wield
These elements, and arm him with the force
Of all their regions : how much more of power
Army' against army, Dumberless to raise

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