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Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 190
On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield
Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge
He back recoild; the tenth on bended knee
His massy spear upstay'd; as if on earth
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way
Sidelong had push'd a mountain from his seat
Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd
The rebel thrones, but greater rage to see
Thus foild their mightiest: ours joy fill'd, and shout,
Presage of victory, and fierce desire

201
Of battle: whereat Michaël bid sound
Th'arch-angel trumpet; through the vast of Heav'n
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the High’est: nor stood at gaze.
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock: now storming fury rose,
And clamor such as heard in Heav'n till now
Was never; arms on armor 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
Of fiery darts in flaming vollies flew,
And flying vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rush'd
Both battles main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage; all Heav'n
Resounded, and had Earth been then, all Earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder? when
Millions of fire-encount'ring Angels fought 220
On either side, the least of whom could wield
These elements, and arm him with the force
Of all their region : how much more of power
Army' against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not th' eternal King omnipotent
From his strong hold of Heav'n high over-ruld
And limited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem'd 230
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,
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

240
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 power had shown, and met in arms
No equal, ranging through the dire attack
Of fighting Seraphim confus'd, at length 249
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and fell'd
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,
A vast circumference: at his approach
The great arch-angel 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,
Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
The acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
Though heaviest by just measure on thyself
And thy adherents: how hast thou disturbid
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

270 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 broils, Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom, Or some more sudden vengeance, wing’d from God,

Precipitate thee with augmented pain. 280

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 Unvanquish'd, easier to transacı with me That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats To chase me hence ? err not that so shall end The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style The strife of glory; which we mean to win, 290 Or turn this Heav'n itself into the Hell Thou fablest, here however to dwell free, If not to reign: meanwhile thy uimost force, And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid, I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.

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 height

300 Of godlike pow'r? for likest gods they seem'd, Stood they or mov’d, in stature, motion, arms, Fit to decide the empire of great

Heav'n. Now waved 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 retird, Where erst was thickest fight, th' angelic throng, And left large field, 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 planets 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 swift prevention : but the sword 320
Of Michael, from the armory 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
Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor stay'd
*But with swift wheel reverse, deep ent'ring shar'd
All his right side : then Satan first knew pain,
And writh'd to and fro convolv’d; so sore
The griding sword with discontinuous wound
Pass'd through him: but th'ethereal substance closid,
Not long divisible; and from the gash

331 A stream of necta’rous humor issuing flow'd Sanguine, such as celestial spi'rits

may

bleed, And all his armor stain'd ere while so bright, Forthwith on all sides to his aid was ruh By angels many' and strong, who interpos'd Defence, while others bore him on their shields Back to his chariot, where it stood retir'd From off the files of war; there they him laid

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