תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

620

625

Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last.
Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way.

“ O Myriads of immortal Spi'rits, 0 powers
Matchless, but with th' Almighty; and that strife
Was not inglorious, though the event was dire,
As this place testifies, and this dire change,
Hateful to utter: but what pow'r of mind,
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd
How such united force of Gods, how such
As stood like these, could ever know repulse?
For who can yet believe, though after loss,
That all these puissant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied Heav'n, shall fail to re-ascend,
Self-rais'd, and re-possess their native seat?
For me be witness all the host of Heav'n,
If counsels different, or danger shunn'd
By, me, have lost our hopes. But he, who reigns
Monarch in Heav'n, till then as one secure
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute,
Consent or custom, and his regal state
Put forth at full, but still his strength conceald,
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own,
So as not either to provoke, or dread
New war, provok'd ; our better part remains
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 rise V
There went a fame in Heav'n that he ere long ?
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation, whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the sons of Heaven ;
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhapsi!
Our first cruption, thither or elsewhere;

640

650 .

For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial Spi'rits in bondage, nor th' abyss
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
Full counsel must mature; Peace is despair'd,
For who can think subinission? War then, War
Open or understood, must be resolv'd.”

He spake: and, to confirm his words, out flew
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs .
Of mighty Cherubim ; the sudden blaze
Far round illumin'd Hell : highly they rag'd
Against the High’est, and fierce with grasped arms
Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war,
Hurling defiance tow’ard the vault of Heaven. .
There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top

670
Belch'd fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire w i
Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign Ceile astille
That in his womb was hid metallic ore,
The work of sulphur. Thither, wing'd with speed,
A numerous brigade hasten'd; as when bands
Of pioneers, with spade and pickax arm'd,
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on;
Mammon, the least erected Spi'rit that fell
From Heav'n; for e'en in Heav'n his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more

681
The riches of Heav'n's pavement, trodden gold,
Than ought divine or holy else enjoy'd
In vision beatifie : by him first .
Men also, and by his suggestion taught,

685 -
Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands
lilled the bowels of their mother earth
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
Open'd into the hill a spacious wound,
And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire
That riches grow in Hell ; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those,
Who boast in mortal things, and, wond'ring, tell

675

690

Of Babel and the works of Memphian kings, .
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,
And strength and art, are easily out-done
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 prepar'd,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire

U L 900
Sluic'd from the lake, a second multitude the best
With wondrous art founded the massy ore,... -
Severing each kind, and scumm’d the bullion dross : Lenzer
A third as soon had form'd within the ground
A various mould, and from the boiling cells i n 705
By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook,
As in an organ from one blast of wind
To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound

710

710
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid.
With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or freze, with bossy sculptures gravery ;. 7.715
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo, such magnificence
Equall'd in all their glories, to inshrine
Belus or Serapis their Gods, or seat
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile
Stood fix'd her stately height; and straight the doors,
Op'ning their brazen folds, discover wide ai n
Within her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof,
Pendant 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,

720

[ocr errors]

Admiring, enter'd; and the work some praise
And some the architect : his hand was known
In Heav'n by many a tow'red structure high,
Where scepter'd angels held their residence,
And sat as princes, whom the supreme King
Exalted to such pow'r and gave to rule,

935
Each in his hierarchy the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unador'd
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men call'd him Mulciber, and how he fell
From Heav'n 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
Dropt from the zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos th' Ægean isle: thus they relate,

745
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before : nor ought avail'd him now
T' have built in Heav'n high tow'rs; nor did he 'scape.
By all his engines, but was leadlong sent 1992 SC Sub Mens
With his industrious crew to build in Hell.

750
Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command
Of sov'reign pow'r, with awsul ceremony
And trumpets' sound, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers : their summons callid
From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice, the worthiest ; they anon
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came
Attended : all access was throng'd, the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a cover'd field, where champions hold
Wont ride in arm’d, and at the Soldan's chair
Defy'd the best of Panim chivalry
To mortal combat or career with lance)
Thick swarm’d both on the ground and in the air,

1 765

air,

[ocr errors]

Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees i
In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides,
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive we Obama
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers 770
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New-rubb'd with balm, expatiate and confer
Their state affairs ; so thick the airy crowd
Swarm’d and were straiten'd ; till the signal giv'n, 775
Behold a wonder! they, but now who seem'd
In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng'd numberless ; like that pygmean race -
Beyond the Indian mount, or fairy elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while over-head the moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course, they, on their mirth and dance 785
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal Spi'rits to smallest forms
Reduc'd their shapes immense, and were at large,
Though without number, still amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat,
A thousand Demi-gods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then,
And summons read, the great consult began.

730

END OF THE FIRST BOOK.

« הקודםהמשך »