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Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.
In heav'nly Spi'rits could such perverseness dwell?
But to convince the proud what signs avail,
Or wonders move th' obdurate to relent? 790
They harden'd more by what might most reclaim,
Grieving to see his glory, at the sight
Took envy; and aspiring to his height,
Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud
Weaning to prosper, and at length prevail
Against God and Messiah, or to fall
In universal ruin last ; and now
To final battle drew disdaining flight,
Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God
To all his host on either hand thus spake: 800
Stand still in bright array,'ye Saints, here stand
Ye Angels arm'd, this day from battle rest ;
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause,
And as ye have receiv’d, so have ye
done Invincibly; but of this cursed crew The punishment to other hand belongs; Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints : Number to this day's work is not ordain'd Nor multitude; stand only and behold 810 God's indignation on these godless pour'd Ry me; not you but me they have despis’d, Yet envied; against me is all their rage, Because the Father, to’ whom in Heav'n supreme Kingdom and power and glory appertains, Hath honor'd me according to his will.
Therefore to me their doom he hath assignd;
That they may bave their wish, to try with me
In battle which the stronger provęs, they all,
Or. I alone against them, since by strength
They measure all, of other excellence
Not emulous, nor care who them excels ;
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.
So spake the Son, and into terror chang'd
His count'nance too severe to be beheld,
And full of wrath bent on his enemies.
At once the Four spread out their starry wings
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs
Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. 830
He on his impious foes right onward drove,
Gloomy as Night: under his burning wheels
The stedfast empyréan sbook throughout,
All but the throne itself of God. Full soon
Among them he arriv’d, in his right hand
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he senç
Before him, such as in their souls infix'd
Plagues; they astonish'd all resistance lost,
All courage ; down their idle weapons dropt ;
O'er shields and helms and helmed heads he rode
Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostráte, 841
That wish?d the mountains now might be again
Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
His arrows, from the fourfold-visag'd Four
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; One spirit in them ruld, and every eye Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire · Among th’accurs’d, that wither'd all their strength, And of their wonted vigor left them drain'd, 851 Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n. Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd His thunder in mid volley; for he meant Not to destroy, but root them out of Heav'n: The overthrown he rais'd, and as a herd Of goats or timorous flock together throng'd Diove them before him thunder-struck, pursu'd With terrors and with furies to the bounds And crystal wall of Heav'n, which opening wide, Roll'd inward, and a spacious gap disclos'd 861 Into the wasteful deep; the monstrous sight Struck them with horror backward, but far worse Urg'd them behind; headlong themselves they threw Down from the verge of Heav'n; eternal wrath Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.
Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, Hell saw Heav'n ruining from Heav'n, and would have fled Affrighted; but strict fate had cast too deep Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. 870 Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roard, And felt tenfold confusion in their fall Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout Incumber'd him with ruin. Hell at last Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd; Hell their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.
Disburden'd Heav'n rejoic'd, and soon repair'd
Her mural breach, returning whence it roll’d.
Sole victor from th' expulsion of his foes 880
Messiah his triumphal chariot turn'd:
To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts,
With jubilee advanc’d; and as they went,
Shaded with branching palm, each order bright,
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given,
Worthiest to reign : he celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid Heav'n, into the courts
And temple of his mighty Father, thron'd 890
On high; who into glory him receiv’d,
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
Thus measuring things in Heav'n by things on
At thy request, and that thou may'st beware (earth
By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd
What might have else to human race been hid;
The discord which befel, and war in Heav'ı
Among th' angelic Powers, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring, who rebell’d
With Satan; be who now envies thy state, 900
Who now is plotting how he may seduce
Thee also from obedience, that with him
Bereav'd of happiness thou may'st partake
His punishment, eternal misery ;
Which would be all his solace and revenge,
As a despite done against the Most High,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations, warn
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to’ have heard
By terrible example the reward
910 Of disobedience: firm they might have stood, Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.