תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

h

Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow .. : 140
Unaided could have finish'd thee, and whelm'd
Thy legions under darkness. But thou seest
All are not of thy train; there be who faith
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, Jer
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 provok’d, since first that tongue,
Inspir'd 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 Heaven
To heav'nly souls had been all one; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Minist’ring Spi'rits, train'd up in feast and song;
Such hast thou arm'd, the minstrelsy of Heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove.'

" To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern reply'd.
Apostate, still thou err’st, nor end will 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,

165

When he who rules is worthiest, and excels : .
Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
To serve th' unwise, or him who hath rebell'a**
Against his worthier, as thine now. serve thee,

180
Thyself not free, but to thyself inthrall’d; ..
Yet lewdly dar’st our minist'ring upbraid. Consent torsiu;
Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me serve
In Heav'n God ever blest, and his divine , ;
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd; . . 383
Yet chains in Hell, not realms expect: meanwhile
From me return’d, as erst thou saidst, from ffight, .
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.'

“ So say’ing, a noble stroke be lifted high, . .
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fel . 890
On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield,
Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge

[ocr errors]

Winds under ground; or waters forcing wav. Pas nd
Sidelong had push'd a mountain from his seat,
Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'

d i
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage to see
Thus foil'd their mightiest; ours joy fill’d, and shout, 200
Presage of victory, and fierce desire
Of battle: whereat Michaël bid sound
Th’ Archangel trumpet; through the vast of Heaven
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosannah to the High'est; nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in Heav'n till now
Was never; arms on armour clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels:

210
Of brazen chariots rag'd; dire was the noise,
Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss

et Of fiery darts in flaming vollies flew,

205

And, flying, vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery, cope together rush'd Vood.

215
Both battles main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage; all Heaven
Resounded, and had Earth been then, all Earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder? when
Millions of fierce encountering Angels fought

220
On either side, the least of whom could wield mapiga
These elements, and arm him with the force
Of all their regions : how much more of power
Army' against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturh,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not th' eternal King omnipotent
From his strong hold of Heav'n high over-rul'd
And limited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem'd .
A numerous host, in strength each armed hand
A legion, led in fight, yet leader seem'd,
Each warrior single as in chief, expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the "sway ****
Of battle, open when, and when to close
The ridges of grim war: no thought of flight, 110
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argued fear; each on himself rely'd,
As only in his arm the moment lay
Of victory, Deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite ; for wide was spread
That war and various, sometimes on firm ground
A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing,
Tormented all the air; all air seem'd then
Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale
The battle hung; till Satan, who that day
Prodigious pow'r had shown, and met in arms
No equal, ranging through the dire attack
Of fighting Seraphim confus'd, at length
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felld 2.50 pct

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

255

Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway,
Brandish'd aloft, the horrid edge came down
Wide wasting ; such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos’d the rocky orb
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,

255
A vast circumference. At his approach
The great Archangel from his warlike toil
Surceas'd, and glad as hoping here to end
Intestine war in Heav'n, th' arch-foe subdu'd,
Or captive dragg’d in chains, with hostile frown,. 260
And visage all inflam’d, first thus began.
“Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,

What
Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
Though heaviest by just measure on thyself : 265
And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb’d
Heav'n's blessed peace, and into nature brought
Misery, uncreated till the crime
Of thy rebellion ? how hast thou instill'd
Thy malice into thousands, once upright
And faithful, now prov'd false?' But think not here
To trouble holy rest; Heav'n casts thee out
From all her confines. Heav'n, the seat of bliss,
Brooks not the works of violence and war:
Hence then, and evil go with thee along,
Thy offspring, to the place of evil, Hell,
Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle hroits,
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom,
Or some more sudden vengeance wing'd from God
Precipitate thee with augmented pain !

“So spake the prince of Angels; to whom thus
The Adversary. "Nor think thou with wind
Of airy threats to awe whom yet with deeds
Thou canst not. Hast thou turn'd the least of these
To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise

285
Unvanquish'd, easier to transact with me
That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats

270

275

To chase me hence? err not that so shall end
The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style
Tbe strife of glory; which we mean to win,
Or turn this Heav'n itself into the Hell
Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,
If not to reign : meanwhile thy utmost force,
And join him nam’d Almighty to thy aid,
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.'

.295
“ They ended parle, and both address’d for fight
Unspeakable ; for who, though with the tongue
Of Angels, can relate, or to what things
Liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift
Human imagination to such heiglit
Of Godlike pow'r ? for likest God they seem'd. .
Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, arms,
Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven.
Now wav'd their fiery swords, and in the air
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields
Blaz'd opposite, while expectation stood
In horror; from each hand with speed retir’d,
Where erst was thickest fight, th' angelic throng,
And left large fields, unsafe within the wind
Of such commotion; such as, to set forth . 310
Great things by small, if nature's concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planes rushing from aspéct malign
Of fiercest opposition in mid-sky
Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound."
Together both with next to almighty arm
Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aim'd
That might determine, and not need repeat,
As not of pow'r at once ; nor odds appear'd
In might or swift prevention : but the sword
Of Michael, from the armoury of God,
Was giv'n him temper'd so, that neither keen
Nor solid might resist that edge : it met .
The sword of Satan with steep force to smite

320

« הקודםהמשך »