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We know no time when we were not as now;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised
By our own quick’ning power, when fatal course
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native heav'n, ethereal sons.
Our puissance is our own, our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
Who is our equal: then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begird th' Almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings carry to th' anointed king;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.

He 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
Encompass'd round with foes, thus answer'd bold.

O alienate from God, O spirit accurst,
Forsaken of all good, I see thy fall
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved
In this perfidious 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 vouchsafed, other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recall :
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 fly
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 unmoved,

Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
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 aught;
And with retorted scorn his back he turn'd
On those proud tow'rs to swift destruction doom'd.

1

BOOK V I.

THE ARGUMENT.

Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battle against Satan and his angels. The first fight described : Satan and his powers retire under night: he calls a council, invents devilish engines, which in the second day's fight put Michael and his angels to some disorder ; but they at length pulling up mountains overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan; yet the tumult not 80 ending, God on the third day sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory. He in the power of his Father coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them unable to resist towards tho wall of heaven ; which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the deep. Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

All night the dreadless angel unpursued
Through heav'n’s wide champaign held his way,

till morn,
Waked by the circling hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light. There is a cave
Within the mount of God, fast by his throne,
Where light and darkness in perpetual round
Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through heav'n
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night:
Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour
To veil the heav'n, though darkness there might well
Seem twilight here; and now went forth the morn
Such as in highest heav'n, array'd in gold
Empyreal, from before her vanish'd night,
Shot through with orient beams : when all the plain
Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright,
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view.
War he perceived, war in procinct, and found
Already known what he for news had thought
To have reported: gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly powers, who him received
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
That of so many myriads fall’n get 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 approved in sight of God, though worlds
Judged 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 ranged for fight;
Equal in number to that godless crew
Rebellious; them with fire and hostile arms
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 sovereign voice, and clouds began To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll In dusky wreaths reluctant flames, the sign Of wrath awaked: nor with less dread the loud Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow :

At which command the powers militant : That stond for heav'n, in mighty quadrate join'd

Of union irresistible, moved on
In silence their bright legions, to the sound

Of instrumental harmony, that breathed
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 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 apbore
Their nimble tread; as when the total kind
Of birds in orderly array on wing
Came summon'd over Eden to receive
Their names of thee: so over many a tract
Of heav'n they march’d, and many a province wide
Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last
Far in the horizon to the north appear'd
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretch'd
In battailous 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 hasting on
With furious expedition; for they ween'd
That self-same day, by fight or by surprize,
To win the mount of God, and on his throne
To set the envier of his state, the proud
Aspirer ; but their thoughts proved 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 hostingo 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,

1 Here is an allusion to the designs and mottoes on shields. ? Mustering of hosts or armies.

“There was war in heaven; Michael

and bis angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not," &c.

See Rev. xii. 7, 8, 9,

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