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By force, harh overcome but half his foe.
He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty cherubim; the sudden blaze 665 Far round illumin'd Hell: highly they rag'd Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance tow'ard the vault of Heav'n.
There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 670 Belch'd 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 wing'd with speed A numerous brigade hasten'd: as when bands 675 Of pioneers with spade and pickaxe arm'd Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field, Os 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
680 Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of Heav'n's pavement, trodden gold, Than aught divine or holy else enjoy'd In vision beatific: by him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught, 685 Ransack'd the center, and with impious hands Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth For treasures better bid.' Soon had his crew Open'd into the hill a spacious wound, And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let'none admire 690 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 Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, Learn how their greatest monuments of fame
695 And strength and art are easily out-donc 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, 700 That underneath had veins of liquid fire Sluc'd from the lake, a second multitude With wondrous art founded the massý ore, Seve’ring each kind, and scumm’d the bullion dross': A third as soon had form’d within the ground 705 A various nivald, and from the boiling cells
By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook,
720 Their kings, when Egype with Assyria strove In wealth and luxury. Th'ascending pile Stood fix'd her stately highth, and strait the doors Opening their brazen folds, discover wide Within her ample spaces o'er the smooth 725 And level pavement : from the arched roof Pendent by subele magic many a row Of starry lainps and blazing cressets fed With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded light As from a sky. The hasty multitude 730 Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise And some the architect: his hand was known In Heav'n by many a lowered structure high, Where scepter'd angels held their residence, And sat as princes, whom the supreme King 733
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Meanwhile the winged heralds by command
Defy'd the best of Panim chivalry
765 To mortal combat, or career with lance) Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. ' As becs In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides, Pour forth their populous youth about the hive 770 In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers 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
crowd 775 Swarm’d and 'were straiten'd; till the signal given, Behold a wonder! they but now who seem'di In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons, Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room Throng numberless, like that pygmcan race 789 Beyond the Indian mount, or faery elves, Whose midnight revels by a forest side Or fountain some belated peasant secs, Or dreams he sees, while over-head the Moon Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth Wheels her palecourse, they on their mirth and dance Intent, with jocund mụsic 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 791 Of that infernal court. "But far within, And in their own dimensions like themselves,