תמונות בעמוד

He prepares to speak.

He now prepared 615 To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half enclose him round With all his peers; attention held them mute. Thrice he essayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn, Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth; at last $20 Words interwove with sighs found out their way:—

'O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers Matchless, but with the Almighty! — and that

Was not inglorious, though the event was dire,
As this place testifies, and this dire change 625
Hateful to utter. But what power of mind,
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have feared
How such united force of gods, how such
As stood like these, could ever know repulse? 030
For who can yet believe, though after loss,
That all these puissant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to reascend

They may yet Self-raised, and repossess their native seat?

return. For me, ^e witness all the host of Heaven, 635

If counsels different, or danger shunned

By me, have lost our hopes. But He who reigns

Monarch in Heaven, till then as one secure

Sat on His throne, upheld by old repute,

Consent, or custom, and His regal state 640

Put forth at full, but still His strength concealed —

Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.

Fraud must Henceforth His might we know, and know our

effect what ow

force could

not. So as not either to provoke, or dread

Their strife was glorious.

The issue was unexpected.

New war provoked; our better part remains 645

To work in close design, by fraud or guile,

What force effected not; that He no less

At length from us may find, who overcomes

By force hath overcome but half his foe.

Space may produce new worlds; whereof so

rife G50

There went a fame in Heaven that He ere long The new

° world Intended to create, and therein plant mentioned.

A generation whom his choice regard

Should favor equal to the Sons of Heaven.

Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps 655

Our first eruption — thither, or elsewhere;

For this infernal pit shall never hold They must

Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor the Abyss escape.

Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts „ „_ . ^ . 6 s No thought of

Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired; 660 submission.

For who can think submission? War, then, war

Open or understood, must be resolved.'

He spake; and, to confirm his words, outflew

Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs The flash of

Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze 665 SWOTds and

o '> > smiting of

Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged shields.
Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms
Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war,
Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 6TM
Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire
Shone with a glossy scurf — undoubted sign
That in his womb was hid metallic ore,
The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed, projected.

[graphic][merged small]

A numerous brigade hastened, as when bands
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed,
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
Or cast a rampart.

Mammon led them on —

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

They mine,
and smelt,
and cast.

Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From Heaven; tor even in Heaven his looks and
thoughts^ TW

Were always downward bent, admiring more „

ine riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold,

TharTaught divine or holy else enjoyed

In vision beatific. Bv him first

Men also, and by his suggestion taught, 885

Ransacked the Centre, and with impious hands

Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth

For treasures better hid.

Soon had his cre.w
Opened into the hill a spacious wound,
And digged out ribs of gold. L_etnone admire m(>

hat riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those
Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings,
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, s96
And strength, and art, are easily outdone
By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour
What in an age they, with incessant toil -

And hands innumerable, scarce perform.
Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared, 7W>

That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
With wondrous art founded the massy ore,

Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion

A third as soon had formed within the ground 705
A various mold, and from the boiling cells
By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook;
As in an organ, from one blast of wind,
To many a row of pipes the soundboard breathes.

Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalationMwith the sound

[ocr errors]

ium rises.

Of dulcet symphonies ana voices sweet —

Built like a temple, where pilasters round

Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid

With golden architrave; nor did there want 6 4 715

Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven; _ , ,

The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon Piindemon

Nor great Alcairo such magnificence

Equaled in all their glories, to enshrine

Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat 720

Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove

In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile

Stood fixed her stately highth; and straight the

Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth 725

And level pavement; from the arched roof
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky.

The hasty multitude 730

Admiring entered; and the work some praise,
And some the architect. His hand was known

In Heaven by many a towered structure high,

Where sceptred Angels held their residence,

And sat as Princes, whom the Supreme King 735

Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,

Each in his hierarchy, the Orders bright. The architect ,I , , ,

was Mulciber Nor was his -name unheard or unadored

otherwise jn ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land

Vulcan °8 °r Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell 74°

From heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove.

Sheer o'er the crystal battlements; from morn

To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,

A summer's day; and with the setting sun

Dropped from the zenith, like a falling star, 74S

On Lemnos, the iEgaean isle. Thus they relate,

Erring; for he with this rebellious rout

Fell long before; nor aught availed him now

To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he


By all his engines, but was headlong sent, 7B0

With his industrious crew, to build in Hell.

Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command Of sovran power, with awful ceremony And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim The summons A solemn oouncil forthwith to be held TM

to the council.

At Pandemonium, the high capital

Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called

From every band and squared regiment

By place or choice the worthiest; they, anon,

The internal With hundreds and with thousands trooping estates con-"

„„„ came TM>

« הקודםהמשך »