Immagini della pagina

Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms
Against such hellish mischief fit l'oppose.
Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power,
Which God hath in his mighty angels plac'd!)
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills
(For earth hath this variety from heaven,
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale,)
Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew;
From their foundations loos’oing to and fro
They pluck'd the seated hills with all their load,
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
Uplifting bore them in their hands. Amaze,
Be sure, and terror seiz'd the rebel host,
When coming towards them so dread they saw
The bottom of the mountains upward turn'd;
Till on those cursed engines' triple row
They saw them whelm'd, and all their confidence
Under the weight of mountains buried deep;
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads
Main promontories flung, which in the air
Came shadowing, and oppress’d whole legions arm’d;
Their armour help'd their harm, crush'd in and bruis’d
Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain
Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,
Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind
Out of such prison, though spirits of purest light,
Purest at first, now gross by sioning grown,
The rest, in imitation, to like arms
Betook them, and the neighb’ring hills uptore;
So bills amid the air encounter'd hills,
Hurld to and fro with jaculation dire,
That under ground they fought in dismal shade ;
Infernal noise! war seem'd a civil game
To this uproar; horrid confusion heap'
Upon confusion rose. And now all heaven
Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread,
Had not th' Almighty Father, where he sits
Shrin'd in his sanctuary of heaven secure,
Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
This tumult, and permitted all, advis'd;
That his great purpose he might so fulfil,

To honour his anointed Son aveng'd
Upon his enemies, and to declare
All power on him transferr'd: whence to his Son,
Th'assessor of his throne be thus began :

“. Effulgence of my glory, Son helor'd!
Son, in whose face invisible is beheld,
Visibly, what by deity I am,
And in whose hand what by decree I do,
Second Omnipotence! two days are past
Two days, as we compute the days of heaven,
Since Michael and his powers went forth to tame
These disobedient. Sore hath been their fight,
As likeliest was, when two such foes met arm'd;
For to themselves I left them, and thou know'st
Equal in their creation they were form’d,
Saave what sin hath impair’d, which yet hath wrought
Insensibly, for I suspend their doom;
Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last
Endless, and no solution will be found.
War wearied bath perform'd what war can do,
And to disorder'd rage let loose the reins,
With mountains as with weapons arm’d, which makes
Wild work in heaven, and dangerous to the main.
Two days are therefore pass'd, the third is thine;
For thee I have ordain'd it, and thus far
Have suffer'd, that the glory may be thine
Of ending this great war, since none but thou
Can end it. Into thee such virtue and grace
Immense I have transfus'd, that all may know
In heaven and hell thy power above compare;
And this perverse commotion govern'd thus,
To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir
Of all things, to be Heir, and to be King
By sacred unction, thy deserved right.
Go then, thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might,
Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels
That shake heaven's basis, bring forth all my war,
My bow and thunder, my almighty arms
Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh;
Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out
From all heaven's bounds into the utter deep :

There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
God, and Messiab his anointed King.'

" He said, and on his Son with rays direct
Shone full; he all his Father full expressid
Ineffably into bis face receiv'd;
And thus the filial Godhead answ'ring spake :

O Father, O supreme of heavenly thrones,
First, bigbest, boliest, best! thou always seek'st
To glorify thy Son, I always thee,
As is most just; this I my glory' account,
My exaltation, and my whole delight,
That thou in me, well pleas'd, declar’st thy will
Ful6}ld, which to fulfil is all my bliss.
Sceptre and power, thy giving, I assume,
And gladlier sball resign, when in the end
Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee
For ever, and in me all whom thou lov'st.
But whom thou bat'st I hate, and can put on,
Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,
Arni’d with thy might, rid heaven of these rebellid,
To their prepar'd ill mansion driven down,
To chains of darkness, and th' undying worm,
That from thy just obedience could revolt,
Whom to obey is happiness entire.
Then shall thy saints unmix'd, and from the impure
Far separate, circling thy holy mount,
Unfeigned ballelujahs to thee sing,
Hymns of high praise, and I amoug them chief.'

So said, tie, o'er his sceptre bowing, rose From the right band of glory where he sat i And the third sacred morn began to shine, Dawning through heaven. Forth rush'd with whirlThe chariot of paternal Deity, [wind sound Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn, Itself instinet with spirit, but convoy'd By four cherubic shapes; four faces each Had wondrous; as with stars their bodies all And wings were set with eyes, with eyes the wheels Of beryl, and careering fires between; Over their heads a crystal firmament,

[ocr errors]

Whereon a sapphire throne inlaid with pure
Amber, and colours of the showery arch.
He in celestial panoply all arm'd
Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,
Ascended, at his right hand Victory
Sat eagle-wing'd; beside himn hung his bow
And quiver with three-bolted thunder stor’d,
And from about him fierce effusion roll'd
Of smoke and bickering flame and sparkles dire.
Attended with ten thousand thousand saints
He onward came; far off his coming shone ;
And twenty thousand (I their number heard)
Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen :
He on the wings of cherub rode sublime
On the crystalline sky, in sapphire thron'd,
Illustrious far and wide; but by his own
First seen. Them unexpected joy surpriz'd,
When the great ensign of Messiah blaz'd
Aloft by angels borne, his sign in heaven;
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduc'd
His army, circumfus'd on either wing,
Under their head embodied all in one,
Before him Power Divine his way prepar'd :
At his command th' uprooted hills retir'd
Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went
Obsequious; heaven his wonted face renew'd,
And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smil'd.
This saw bis hapless foes, but stood obdur'd,
And to rebellious fight rallied their powers
Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.
In heavenly spirits could such perverseness dwell?
But, to convince the proud what signs avail,
Or wonders move th' obdurate to relent!
They, harden'd more by what might most reclaim,
Grieving to see his glory, at the sight
Took envy; and, aspiring to his height,
Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail
Against God and Messiah, or to fali
In universal ruin last; and now
To final battle drew, disdaining flight,

Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God
To all his host on either isand thus spake:

"Stand still in bright array, ye saints! here stand,
Ye angels arm'd, this day from battle rest ;
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause ;
And as ye have receiv'd, so have ye done
Invincibly; but of this cursed crew
The punishment to other bands belongs;
Vengeance is nis, or whose he sole appoints.
Number to this day's work is not ordain'd,
Nor multitude; stand only and behold
God's indignation on these godless pour'd
By me: not you, but me, they have despis'd,
Yet envied; against me is all their rage,
Because the Father, to' whom in heaven supreme
Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains,
Hath lionour'd me according to his will.
Therefore to me their doom he bath assign'd;
That they may have their wish, to try with me
In battle which the stronger proves ; they all,
Or I alone against them, since by strength
They measure all, of other excellence
Not emulous, nor care who them excels;
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.'

“ So spake the Son, and into terror chang'd His count’nance, too severe to be beheld, And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the Four spread out their starry wings, With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. He on his impious foes right onward drove, Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels The steadfast empyrean shook throughout, A!) but the throne itself of God.

Full soon Among them he arriv'd, in his right liand Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent Before hiin, such as in their souls infix'd Plagues; they, astonish’d, all resistance lost, A71 courage; down their idle weapons droppid;


« IndietroContinua »