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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 might: he calls a council, inveuts devilish engines, which in the second day's figbt 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 bis Son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory. He in the power of bis Father coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his cbariot and Thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them unable to resist towards the wall of beaven ; 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 unpursned
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 hear's
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 full'n 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 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 mv 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 clonds 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 stood 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 hreathed
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 valt, 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 Eun 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 tirst, 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 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,

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

“There was war in heaven, Michael

and bis angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angela and prevailed not," Soo Rov, zu 7, 8,

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Idol' of Majesty divine, enclosed
With flaming Cherubim and golden shields:
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now
'Twixt 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 advanced,
Came tow'ring, arm'd in adamant and gold :
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores.

O heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest
Should yet remain, where faith and reälty?
Remain not; wherefore should not strength and might
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 aught but just,
That be, who in debate of truth hath won,
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
Victor : though brutish that contest and foul,
When reason hath to deal with force, yet so
Most reason is that reason overcome.

So pondering, and, from his armèd peers
Forth stepping opposite, half way he met
His daring foe, at this prevention more
Incensed, and thus securely him defied.

Proud, art thou met ? thy hope was to have reach'd
The highth of thy aspiring unopposed,
The throne of God unguarded, and his side
Abandon'd at the terror c# 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

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1 For Counterfeit--false deity.

? Reality.

Have raised incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly ; or, with solitary hand
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow
Unaided could have finish'd thee, and whelmid.
Thy legions under darkness : but thou seest
All are not of thy train; there be, who failb
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 provoked, since first that tongue
Inspired 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 heav'n
To heav'nly souls had been all one; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Minist'ring spirits, train'd up in feast and song;
Such hast thou arm’d, the minstrelsy of heav'n,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compared this day shall prove

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

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