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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, inyents 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 so 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 the wall of Heaven: which opening, they cap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the deep. Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

BOOK VI.

ALL night the dreadless Angel, unpursued,
Through Heav'n's wide champain held his way; till miorn,
Wak'd 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 Heaven
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night;
Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour,

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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 thro' with orient beams; when all the plain,
Cover'd with thick embattl'd squadrons bright,
Chariots and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view.
War he perceiv'd, was in procinct, and found
Already known, what he for news had thought
To have reported: gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly Pow'rs, who him receiv’d
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
That of so many myriads fall’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. y . 30
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 approv'd in sight of God, though worlds
Judge 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 rang'd for fight,
Equal in number to that Godless crew
Rebellious; them with fire and hostile arms
Fearless assault, and to the brow of Heaven
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 Sov'reigu voice, and clouds began
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll
In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign.
Of wrath awak'd; 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, moy'd on,
In silence, their bright legions to the sound . .!
Of instrumental barmony, that breath'd

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Heroic ardour to advent'rous deeds,
Under their God-like leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move,
Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill,
Nor strait’ning vale, 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, 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 th' 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 D e
Of rigid spears, and helmets throng’d, and shields
Various, with boastful argument portray'd,
The banded Pow'rs' of Satan, hasting on
With furious expedition; for they ween’d 12*
That self-same day by fight, or by surprise,
To win the mount of God, and on his throne
To set the envier of his state, the proud
Aspirer; but their thoughts prov'd fond and vain
In the midway: though strange to us it seem'd
At first, 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,
Jdol of majesty divine, enclos'd
With flaming Cherubim and golden shields; ..

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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 advanc'd,
Came tow'ring, arm’d in adamant and gold.
Abdiel that sight endur'd not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, hent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores.

“¢0 Heav'n!' that such resemblance of the Highest
Should yet remain, where faith and reality
Remain not. Wherefore should not strength and miyht
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 try'd
Unsound and false; nor is it ought but just,
That he 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 armed peers
Forth stepping opposite, half way he met
His daring foe, at this prevention more
Incens’d, and thus securely him defy'd.

"! Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reach'd
The height of thy aspiring unoppos’d,
The throne of God unguarded, and his side
Abandon’d at the terror of thy power
Or potent tongue: fool, not to think how vain .
Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms;
Who out of smallest things could without end
Have rais’d incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or with solitary hand,

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