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Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not th' eternal King omnipotent

From his strong hold of heaven high overrul'd
And limited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem'd
A numerous host, in strength each armed hand
A legion; led in fight, yet leader seem'd,
Each warrior single as in chief, expert

When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
Of 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, his ample shield,
A vast circumference. At his approach
The great archangel, from his warlike toil
Surceas'd, and glad, as hoping here to end
Intestine war in heaven, th' arch-foe subdu'd,
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,
Though heaviest by just measure on thyself

And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb'd
Heaven'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 casts thee out
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 thee with augmented pain!'

"So spake the prince of angels; to whom thus
The adversary: Nor think thou with wind
Of 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.'
"They ended parle, aud 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

Of 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 hand with speed retir'd,
Where erst was thickest fight, th' angelic throng,
And left large field, unsafe within the wind
Or 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
Of fiercest opposition, in mid-sky

Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound.
Together both with next t' 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 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 stay'd,
But with swift wheel reverse, deep ent'ring shar'd
All his right side: then Satan first knew pain,
And writh'd him to and fro convolv'd: so sore
The griding sword with discontinuous wound
Pass'd thro' him; but th' ethereal substance clos'd,
Not long divisible; and from the gash

A stream of nect'rous humour issuing flow'd
Sanguine, such as celestial spirits may bleed,
And all his armour stain'd, ere while so bright.
Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run
By angels many' and strong, who interpos'd
Defence, while others bore him on their shields
Back to his chariot, where it stood retir'd
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 deserv'd
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,
And with fierce ensigns pierc'd the deep array
Of Moloch, furious king; who him defied,
And at his chariot-wheels to drag him 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 Raphael his vaunting foe,
Though huge, and in a rock of diamond arm'd
Vanquish'd Adramelech and Asmadai,

Pwo potent thrones, that to be less than gods
Disdain'd, but meaner thoughts learn'd in their flight,
Mangled with ghastly wounds thro' plate and mail.
Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy

The athiest 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
Cancell'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 With many an inroad gor'd; deformed rout [swerv'd, 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'erwearied, through the faint Satanic host
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surpris'd,
Then first with fear surpris'd 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, th' inviolable saints
In cubic phalanx firm advanc'd 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, tho' from their place by violence mov'd. "Now night her course began, and over heaven Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos'd,

And silence on the odious din of war;

Under her cloudy covert both retir'd,

Victor and vanquish'd.

On the foughten field

Michael and his angels prevalent

Encamping, plac'd in guard their watches round
Cherubic waving fires: on th' other part
Satan with his rebellious disappear'd,

Far in the dark dislodg'd; 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 powerfullest to send
Against us from about his throne, and judg'd
Sufficient to subdue us to his will,

But proves not so: then fallible, it seems,
Of future we may deen him, though till now

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