Paradise Lost

by John Milton

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Book VI

All night the dreadless Angel unpursu'd
  Through Heav'ns wide Champain held his way, till Morn,
  Wak't by the circling Hours, with rosie hand
  Unbarr'd the gates of Light. There is a Cave
  Within the Mount of God, fast by his Throne,
  Where light and darkness in perpetual round
  Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heav'n
  Grateful vicissitude, like Day and Night;
  Light issues forth, and at the other dore
  Obsequious darkness enters, till her houre
  To veile the Heav'n, though darkness there might well
  Seem twilight here; and now went forth the Morn
  Such as in highest Heav'n, arrayd in Gold
  Empyreal, from before her vanisht Night,
  Shot through with orient Beams: when all the Plain
  Coverd with thick embatteld Squadrons bright,
  Chariots and flaming Armes, and fierie Steeds
  Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:
  Warr he perceav'd, warr in procinct, and found
  Already known what he for news had thought
  To have reported: gladly then he mixt
  Among those friendly Powers who him receav'd
  With joy and acclamations loud, that one
  That of so many Myriads fall'n, yet one
  Returnd not lost: On to the sacred hill
  They led him high applauded, and present
  Before the seat supream; from whence a voice
  From midst a Golden Cloud thus milde was heard.
    Servant of God, well done, well hast thou fought
  The better fight, who single hast maintaind
  Against revolted multitudes the Cause
  Of Truth, in word mightier then they in Armes;
  And for the testimonie of Truth hast born
  Universal reproach, far worse to beare
  Then violence: for this was all thy care
  To stand approv'd in sight of God, though Worlds
  Judg'd thee perverse: the easier conquest now
  Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
  Back on thy foes more glorious to return
  Then scornd thou didst depart, and to subdue
  By force, who reason for thir Law refuse,
  Right reason for thir Law, and for thir King
  MESSIAH, who by right of merit Reigns.
  Goe MICHAEL of Celestial Armies Prince,
  And thou in Military prowess next
  GABRIEL, lead forth to Battel these my Sons
  Invincible, lead forth my armed Saints
  By Thousands and by Millions rang'd for fight;
  Equal in number to that Godless crew
  Rebellious, them with Fire and hostile Arms
  Fearless assault, and to the brow of Heav'n
  Pursuing drive them out from God and bliss,
  Into thir place of punishment, the Gulf
  Of TARTARUS, which ready opens wide
  His fiery CHAOS to receave thir fall.
    So spake the Sovran voice, and Clouds began
  To darken all the Hill, and smoak to rowl
  In duskie wreathes, reluctant flames, the signe
  Of wrauth awak't: nor with less dread the loud
  Ethereal Trumpet from on high gan blow:
  At which command the Powers Militant,
  That stood for Heav'n, in mighty Quadrate joyn'd
  Of Union irresistible, mov'd on
  In silence thir bright Legions, to the sound
  Of instrumental Harmonie that breath'd
  Heroic Ardor to advent'rous deeds
  Under thir God-like Leaders, in the Cause
  Of God and his MESSIAH. On they move
  Indissolubly firm; nor obvious Hill,
  Nor streit'ning Vale, nor Wood, nor Stream divides
  Thir perfet ranks; for high above the ground
  Thir march was, and the passive Air upbore
  Thir nimble tread; as when the total kind
  Of Birds in orderly array on wing
  Came summond over EDEN to receive
  Thir names of thee; so over many a tract
  Of Heav'n they march'd, and many a Province wide
  Tenfold the length of this terrene: at last
  Farr in th' Horizon to the North appeer'd
  From skirt to skirt a fierie Region, stretcht
  In battailous aspect, and neerer view
  Bristl'd with upright beams innumerable
  Of rigid Spears, and Helmets throng'd, and Shields
  Various, with boastful Argument portraid,
  The banded Powers of SATAN hasting on
  With furious expedition; for they weend
  That self same day by fight, or by surprize
  To win the Mount of God, and on his Throne
  To set the envier of his State, the proud
  Aspirer, but thir thoughts prov'd fond and vain
  In the mid way: though strange to us it seemd
  At first, that Angel should with Angel warr,
  And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
  So oft in Festivals of joy and love
  Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire
  Hymning th' Eternal Father: but the shout
  Of Battel now began, and rushing sound
  Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
  High in the midst exalted as a God
  Th' Apostat in his Sun-bright Chariot sate
  Idol of Majestie Divine, enclos'd
  With Flaming Cherubim, and golden Shields;
  Then lighted from his gorgeous Throne, for now
  'Twixt Host and Host but narrow space was left,
  A dreadful interval, and Front to Front
  Presented stood in terrible array
  Of hideous length: before the cloudie Van,
  On the rough edge of battel ere it joyn'd,
  SATAN with vast and haughtie strides advanc't,
  Came towring, armd in Adamant and Gold;
  ABDIEL that sight endur'd not, where he stood
  Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
  And thus his own undaunted heart explores.
    O Heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest
  Should yet remain, where faith and realtie
  Remain not; wherfore should not strength & might
  There fail where Vertue fails, or weakest prove
  Where boldest; though to sight unconquerable?
  His puissance, trusting in th' Almightie's aide,
  I mean to try, whose Reason I have tri'd
  Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just,
  That he who in debate of Truth hath won,
  Should win in Arms, in both disputes alike
  Victor; though brutish that contest and foule,
  When Reason hath to deal with force, yet so
  Most reason is that Reason overcome.
    So pondering, and from his armed Peers
  Forth stepping opposite, half way he met
  His daring foe, at this prevention more
  Incens't, and thus securely him defi'd.
    Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reacht
  The highth of thy aspiring unoppos'd,
  The Throne of God unguarded, and his side
  Abandond at the terror of thy Power
  Or potent tongue; fool, not to think how vain
  Against th' Omnipotent to rise in Arms;
  Who out of smallest things could without end
  Have rais'd incessant Armies to defeat
  Thy folly; or with solitarie hand
  Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow
  Unaided could have finisht thee, and whelmd
  Thy Legions under darkness; but thou seest
  All are not of thy Train; there be who Faith
  Prefer, and Pietie to God, though then
  To thee not visible, when I alone
  Seemd in thy World erroneous to dissent
  From all: my Sect thou seest, now learn too late
  How few somtimes may know, when thousands err.
      Whom the grand foe with scornful eye askance
  Thus answerd. Ill for thee, but in wisht houre
  Of my revenge, first sought for thou returnst
  From flight, seditious Angel, to receave
  Thy merited reward, the first assay
  Of this right hand provok't, since first that tongue
  Inspir'd with contradiction durst oppose
  A third part of the Gods, in Synod met
  Thir Deities to assert, who while they feel
  Vigour Divine within them, can allow
  Omnipotence to none. But well thou comst
  Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
  From me som Plume, that thy success may show
  Destruction to the rest: this pause between
  (Unanswerd least thou boast) to let thee know;
  At first I thought that Libertie and Heav'n
  To heav'nly Soules had bin all one; but now
  I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
  Ministring Spirits, traind up in Feast and Song;
  Such hast thou arm'd, the Minstrelsie of Heav'n,
  Servilitie with freedom to contend,
  As both thir deeds compar'd this day shall prove.
    To whom in brief thus ABDIEL stern repli'd.
  Apostat, still thou errst, nor end wilt 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,
  When he who rules is worthiest, and excells
  Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
  To serve th' unwise, or him who hath rebelld
  Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
  Thy self not free, but to thy self enthrall'd;
  Yet leudly dar'st our ministring upbraid.
  Reign thou in Hell thy Kingdom, let mee serve
  In Heav'n God ever blessed, and his Divine
  Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd,
  Yet Chains in Hell, not Realms expect: mean while
  From mee returnd, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
  This greeting on thy impious Crest receive.
    So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
  Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell
  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 massie Spear upstaid; as if on Earth
  Winds under ground or waters forcing way
  Sidelong, had push't a Mountain from his seat
  Half sunk with all his Pines. Amazement seis'd
  The Rebel Thrones, but greater rage to see
  Thus foil'd thir mightiest, ours joy filld, and shout,
  Presage of Victorie and fierce desire
  Of Battel: whereat MICHAEL bid sound
  Th' Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vast of Heav'n
  It sounded, and the faithful Armies rung
  HOSANNA to the Highest: nor stood at gaze
  The adverse Legions, nor less hideous joyn'd
  The horrid shock: now storming furie rose,
  And clamour such as heard in Heav'n till now
  Was never, Arms on Armour clashing bray'd
  Horrible discord, and the madding Wheeles
  Of brazen Chariots rag'd; dire was the noise
  Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss
  Of fiery Darts in flaming volies flew,
  And flying vaulted either Host with fire.
  Sounder fierie Cope together rush'd
  Both Battels maine, with ruinous assault
  And inextinguishable rage; all Heav'n
  Resounded, and had Earth bin then, all Earth
  Had to her Center shook. What wonder? when
  Millions of fierce encountring Angels fought
  On either side, the least of whom could weild
  These Elements, and arm him with the force
  Of all thir Regions: how much more of Power
  Armie against Armie numberless to raise
  Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
  Though not destroy, thir happie Native seat;
  Had not th' Eternal King Omnipotent
  From his strong hold of Heav'n high over-rul'd
  And limited thir might; though numberd such
  As each divided Legion might have seemd
  A numerous Host, in strength each armed hand
  A Legion; led in fight, yet Leader seemd
  Each Warriour single as in Chief, expert
  When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
  Of Battel, open when, and when to close
  The ridges of grim Warr; no thought of flight,
  None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
  That argu'd fear; each on himself reli'd,
  As onely in his arm the moment lay
  Of victorie; deeds of eternal fame
  Were don, but infinite: for wide was spred
  That Warr and various; somtimes on firm ground
  A standing fight, then soaring on main wing
  Tormented all the Air; all Air seemd then
  Conflicting Fire: long time in eeven scale
  The Battel hung; till SATAN, who that day
  Prodigious power had shewn, and met in Armes
  No equal, raunging through the dire attack
  Of fighting Seraphim confus'd, at length
  Saw where the Sword of MICHAEL smote, and fell'd
  Squadrons at once, with huge two-handed sway
  Brandisht aloft the horrid edge came down
  Wide wasting; such destruction to withstand
  He hasted, and oppos'd the rockie Orb
  Of tenfold Adamant, his ample Shield
  A vast circumference: At his approach
  The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toile
  Surceas'd, and glad as hoping here to end
  Intestine War in Heav'n, the arch foe subdu'd
  Or Captive drag'd in Chains, with hostile frown
  And visage all enflam'd first thus began.
    Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,
  Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
  These Acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
  Though heaviest by just measure on thy self
  And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb'd
  Heav'ns blessed peace, and into Nature brought
  Miserie, 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 Warr.
  Hence then, and evil go with thee along
  Thy ofspring, to the place of evil, Hell,
  Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broiles,
  Ere this avenging Sword begin thy doome,
  Or som more sudden vengeance wing'd from God
  Precipitate thee with augmented paine.
    So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus
  The Adversarie. Nor think thou with wind
  Of airie threats to aw whom yet with deeds
  Thou canst not. Hast thou turnd the least of these
  To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise
  Unvanquisht, easier to transact with mee
  That thou shouldst hope, imperious, & with threats
  To chase me hence? erre not that so shall end
  The strife which thou call'st evil, but wee style
  The strife of Glorie: which we mean to win,
  Or turn this Heav'n it self into the Hell
  Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,
  If not to reign: mean while thy utmost force,
  And join him nam'd ALMIGHTIE to thy aid,
  I flie not, but have sought thee farr and nigh.
    They ended parle, and both addrest 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 highth
  Of Godlike Power: for likest Gods they seemd,
  Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, arms
  Fit to decide the Empire of great Heav'n.
  Now wav'd thir fierie Swords, and in the Aire
  Made horrid Circles; two broad Suns thir 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 field, unsafe within the wind
  Of such commotion, such as to set forth
  Great things by small, If Natures concord broke,
  Among the Constellations warr were sprung,
  Two Planets rushing from aspect maligne
  Of fiercest opposition in mid Skie,
  Should combat, and thir jarring Sphears confound.
  Together both with next to Almightie Arme,
  Uplifted imminent one stroke they aim'd
  That might determine, and not need repeate,
  As not of power, at once; nor odds appeerd
  In might or swift prevention; but the sword
  Of MICHAEL from the Armorie of God
  Was giv'n him temperd 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 sheere, nor staid,
  But with swift wheele reverse, deep entring shar'd
  All his right side; then SATAN first knew pain,
  And writh'd him to and fro convolv'd; so sore
  The griding sword with discontinuous wound
  Pass'd through him, but th' Ethereal substance clos'd
  Not long divisible, and from the gash
  A stream of Nectarous humor issuing flow'd
  Sanguin, such as Celestial Spirits may bleed,
  And all his Armour staind ere while so bright.
  Forthwith on all sides to his aide was run
  By Angels many and strong, who interpos'd
  Defence, while others bore him on thir Shields
  Back to his Chariot; where it stood retir'd
  From off the files of warr; there they him laid
  Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame
  To find himself not matchless, and his pride
  Humbl'd by such rebuke, so farr beneath
  His confidence to equal God in power.
  Yet soon he heal'd; for Spirits that live throughout
  Vital in every part, not as frail man
  In Entrailes, Heart or Head, Liver or Reines,
  Cannot but by annihilating die;
  Nor in thir liquid texture mortal wound
  Receive, no more then can the fluid Aire:
  All Heart they live, all Head, all Eye, all Eare,
  All Intellect, all Sense, and as they please,
  They Limb themselves, and colour, shape or size
  Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.
    Mean while in other parts like deeds deservd
  Memorial, where the might of GABRIEL fought,
  And with fierce Ensignes pierc'd the deep array
  Of MOLOC furious King, who him defi'd,
  And at his Chariot wheeles to drag him bound
  Threatn'd, nor from the Holie One of Heav'n
  Refrein'd his tongue blasphemous; but anon
  Down clov'n to the waste, with shatterd Armes
  And uncouth paine fled bellowing. On each wing
  URIEL and RAPHAEL his vaunting foe,
  Though huge, and in a Rock of Diamond Armd,
  Vanquish'd ADRAMELEC, and ASMADAI,
  Two potent Thrones, that to be less then Gods
  Disdain'd, but meaner thoughts learnd in thir flight,
  Mangl'd with gastly wounds through Plate and Maile.
  Nor stood unmindful ABDIEL to annoy
  The Atheist crew, but with redoubl'd blow
  ARIEL and ARIOC, and the violence
  Of RAMIEL scorcht and blasted overthrew.
  I might relate of thousands, and thir names
  Eternize here on Earth; but those elect
  Angels contented with thir fame in Heav'n
  Seek not the praise of men: the other sort
  In might though wondrous and in Acts of Warr,
  Nor of Renown less eager, yet by doome
  Canceld from Heav'n and sacred memorie,
  Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
  For strength from Truth divided and from Just,
  Illaudable, naught merits but dispraise
  And ignominie, yet to glorie aspires
  Vain glorious, and through infamie seeks fame:
  Therfore Eternal silence be thir doome.
    And now thir mightiest quelld, the battel swerv'd,
  With many an inrode gor'd; deformed rout
  Enter'd, and foul disorder; all the ground
  With shiverd armour strow'n, and on a heap
  Chariot and Charioter lay overturnd
  And fierie foaming Steeds; what stood, recoyld
  Orewearied, through the faint Satanic Host
  Defensive scarse, or with pale fear surpris'd,
  Then first with fear surpris'd and sense of paine
  Fled ignominious, to such evil brought
  By sinne of disobedience, till that hour
  Not liable to fear or flight or paine.
  Far otherwise th' inviolable Saints
  In Cubic Phalanx firm advanc't entire,
  Invulnerable, impenitrably arm'd:
  Such high advantages thir innocence
  Gave them above thir foes, not to have sinnd,
  Not to have disobei'd; in fight they stood
  Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'd
  By wound, though from thir place by violence mov'd.
    Now Night her course began, and over Heav'n
  Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos'd,
  And silence on the odious dinn of Warr:
  Under her Cloudie covert both retir'd,
  Victor and Vanquisht: on the foughten field
  MICHAEL and his Angels prevalent
  Encamping, plac'd in Guard thir Watches round,
  Cherubic waving fires: on th' other part
  SATAN with his rebellious disappeerd,
  Far in the dark dislodg'd, and void of rest,
  His Potentates to Councel call'd by night;
  And in the midst thus undismai'd began.
    O now in danger tri'd, now known in Armes
  Not to be overpowerd, Companions deare,
  Found worthy not of Libertie alone,
  Too mean pretense, but what we more affect,
  Honour, Dominion, Glorie, and renowne,
  Who have sustaind one day in doubtful fight,
  (And if one day, why not Eternal dayes?)
  What Heavens Lord had powerfullest to send
  Against us from about his Throne, and judg'd
  Sufficient to subdue us to his will,
  But proves not so: then fallible, it seems,
  Of future we may deem him, though till now
  Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm'd,
  Some disadvantage we endur'd and paine,
  Till now not known, but known as soon contemnd,
  Since now we find this our Empyreal forme
  Incapable of mortal injurie
  Imperishable, and though peirc'd with wound,
  Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
  Of evil then so small as easie think
  The remedie; perhaps more valid Armes,
  Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
  May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
  Or equal what between us made the odds,
  In Nature none: if other hidden cause
  Left them Superiour, while we can preserve
  Unhurt our mindes, and understanding sound,
  Due search and consultation will disclose.
    He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood
  NISROC, of Principalities the prime;
  As one he stood escap't from cruel fight,
  Sore toild, his riv'n Armes to havoc hewn,
  And cloudie in aspect thus answering spake.
  Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
  Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard
  For Gods, and too unequal work we find
  Against unequal armes to fight in paine,
  Against unpaind, impassive; from which evil
  Ruin must needs ensue; for what availes
  Valour or strength, though matchless, quelld with pain
  Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
  Of Mightiest. Sense of pleasure we may well
  Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
  But live content, which is the calmest life:
  But pain is perfet miserie, the worst
  Of evils, and excessive, overturnes
  All patience. He who therefore can invent
  With what more forcible we may offend
  Our yet unwounded Enemies, or arme
  Our selves with like defence, to mee deserves
  No less then for deliverance what we owe.
    Whereto with look compos'd SATAN repli'd.
  Not uninvented that, which thou aright
  Beleivst so main to our success, I bring;
  Which of us who beholds the bright surface
  Of this Ethereous mould whereon we stand,
  This continent of spacious Heav'n, adornd
  With Plant, Fruit, Flour Ambrosial, Gemms & Gold,
  Whose Eye so superficially surveyes
  These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
  Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
  Of spiritous and fierie spume, till toucht
  With Heav'ns ray, and temperd they shoot forth
  So beauteous, op'ning to the ambient light.
  These in thir dark Nativitie the Deep
  Shall yeild us, pregnant with infernal flame,
  Which into hallow Engins long and round
  Thick-rammd, at th' other bore with touch of fire
  Dilated and infuriate shall send forth
  From far with thundring noise among our foes
  Such implements of mischief as shall dash
  To pieces, and orewhelm whatever stands
  Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmd
  The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
  Nor long shall be our labour, yet ere dawne,
  Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;
  Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joind
  Think nothing hard, much less to be despaird.
  He ended, and his words thir drooping chere
  Enlightn'd, and thir languisht hope reviv'd.
  Th' invention all admir'd, and each, how hee
  To be th' inventer miss'd, so easie it seemd
  Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought
  Impossible: yet haply of thy Race
  In future dayes, if Malice should abound,
  Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
  With dev'lish machination might devise
  Like instrument to plague the Sons of men
  For sin, on warr and mutual slaughter bent.
  Forthwith from Councel to the work they flew,
  None arguing stood, innumerable hands
  Were ready, in a moment up they turnd
  Wide the Celestial soile, and saw beneath
  Th' originals of Nature in thir crude
  Conception; Sulphurous and Nitrous Foame
  They found, they mingl'd, and with suttle Art,
  Concocted and adusted they reduc'd
  To blackest grain, and into store conveyd:
  Part hidd'n veins diggd up (nor hath this Earth
  Entrails unlike) of Mineral and Stone,
  Whereof to found thir Engins and thir Balls
  Of missive ruin; part incentive reed
  Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
  So all ere day spring, under conscious Night
  Secret they finish'd, and in order set,
  With silent circumspection unespi'd.
  Now when fair Morn Orient in Heav'n appeerd
  Up rose the Victor Angels, and to Arms
  The matin Trumpet Sung: in Arms they stood
  Of Golden Panoplie, refulgent Host,
  Soon banded; others from the dawning Hills
  Lookd round, and Scouts each Coast light-armed scoure,
  Each quarter, to descrie the distant foe,
  Where lodg'd, or whither fled, or if for fight,
  In motion or in alt: him soon they met
  Under spred Ensignes moving nigh, in slow
  But firm Battalion; back with speediest Sail
  ZEPHIEL, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,
  Came flying, and in mid Aire aloud thus cri'd.
    Arme, Warriours, Arme for fight, the foe at hand,
  Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
  This day, fear not his flight; so thick a Cloud
  He comes, and settl'd in his face I see
  Sad resolution and secure: let each
  His Adamantine coat gird well, and each
  Fit well his Helme, gripe fast his orbed Shield,
  Born eevn or high, for this day will pour down,
  If I conjecture aught, no drizling showr,
  But ratling storm of Arrows barbd with fire.
  So warnd he them aware themselves, and soon
  In order, quit of all impediment;
  Instant without disturb they took Allarm,
  And onward move Embattelld; when behold
  Not distant far with heavie pace the Foe
  Approaching gross and huge; in hollow Cube
  Training his devilish Enginrie, impal'd
  On every side with shaddowing Squadrons Deep,
  To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
  A while, but suddenly at head appeerd
  SATAN: And thus was heard Commanding loud.
    Vangard, to Right and Left the Front unfould;
  That all may see who hate us, how we seek
  Peace and composure, and with open brest
  Stand readie to receive them, if they like
  Our overture, and turn not back perverse;
  But that I doubt, however witness Heaven,
  Heav'n witness thou anon, while we discharge
  Freely our part: yee who appointed stand
  Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
  What we propound, and loud that all may hear.
    So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce
  Had ended; when to Right and Left the Front
  Divided, and to either Flank retir'd.
  Which to our eyes discoverd new and strange,
  A triple-mounted row of Pillars laid
  On Wheels (for like to Pillars most they seem'd
  Or hollow'd bodies made of Oak or Firr
  With branches lopt, in Wood or Mountain fell'd)
  Brass, Iron, Stonie mould, had not thir mouthes
  With hideous orifice gap't on us wide,
  Portending hollow truce; at each behind
  A Seraph stood, and in his hand a Reed
  Stood waving tipt with fire; while we suspense,
  Collected stood within our thoughts amus'd,
  Not long, for sudden all at once thir Reeds
  Put forth, and to a narrow vent appli'd
  With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
  But soon obscur'd with smoak, all Heav'n appeerd,
  From those deep-throated Engins belcht, whose roar
  Emboweld with outragious noise the Air,
  And all her entrails tore, disgorging foule
  Thir devillish glut, chaind Thunderbolts and Hail
  Of Iron Globes, which on the Victor Host
  Level'd, with such impetuous furie smote,
  That whom they hit, none on thir feet might stand,
  Though standing else as Rocks, but down they fell
  By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rowl'd;
  The sooner for thir Arms, unarm'd they might
  Have easily as Spirits evaded swift
  By quick contraction or remove; but now
  Foule dissipation follow'd and forc't rout;
  Nor serv'd it to relax thir serried files.
  What should they do? if on they rusht, repulse
  Repeated, and indecent overthrow
  Doubl'd, would render them yet more despis'd,
  And to thir foes a laughter; for in view
  Stood rankt of Seraphim another row
  In posture to displode thir second tire
  Of Thunder: back defeated to return
  They worse abhorr'd. SATAN beheld thir plight,
  And to his Mates thus in derision call'd.
    O Friends, why come not on these Victors proud?
  Ere while they fierce were coming, and when wee,
  To entertain them fair with open Front
  And Brest, (what could we more?) propounded terms
  Of composition, strait they chang'd thir minds,
  Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,
  As they would dance, yet for a dance they seemd
  Somwhat extravagant and wilde, perhaps
  For joy of offerd peace: but I suppose
  If our proposals once again were heard
  We should compel them to a quick result.
    To whom thus BELIAL in like gamesom mood.
  Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight,
  Of hard contents, and full of force urg'd home,
  Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,
  And stumbl'd many, who receives them right,
  Had need from head to foot well understand;
  Not understood, this gift they have besides,
  They shew us when our foes walk not upright.
    So they among themselves in pleasant veine
  Stood scoffing, highthn'd in thir thoughts beyond
  All doubt of Victorie, eternal might
  To match with thir inventions they presum'd
  So easie, and of his Thunder made a scorn,
  And all his Host derided, while they stood
  A while in trouble; but they stood not long,
  Rage prompted them at length, & found them arms
  Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
  Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power
  Which God hath in his mighty Angels plac'd)
  Thir Arms away they threw, and to the Hills
  (For Earth hath this variety from Heav'n
  Of pleasure situate in Hill and Dale)
  Light as the Lightning glimps they ran, they flew,
  From thir foundations loosning to and fro
  They pluckt the seated Hills with all thir load,
  Rocks, Waters, Woods, and by the shaggie tops
  Up lifting bore them in thir hands: Amaze,
  Be sure, and terrour seis'd the rebel Host,
  When coming towards them so dread they saw
  The bottom of the Mountains upward turn'd,
  Till on those cursed Engins triple-row
  They saw them whelmd, and all thir confidence
  Under the weight of Mountains buried deep,
  Themselves invaded next, and on thir heads
  Main Promontories flung, which in the Air
  Came shadowing, and opprest whole Legions arm'd,
  Thir armor help'd thir harm, crush't in and brus'd
  Into thir substance pent, which wrought them pain
  Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,
  Long strugling underneath, ere they could wind
  Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light,
  Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.
  The rest in imitation to like Armes
  Betook them, and the neighbouring Hills uptore;
  So Hills amid the Air encounterd Hills
  Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire,
  That under ground they fought in dismal shade;
  Infernal noise; Warr seem'd a civil Game
  To this uproar; horrid confusion heapt
  Upon confusion rose: and now all Heav'n
  Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspred,
  Had not th' Almightie Father where he sits
  Shrin'd in his Sanctuarie of Heav'n secure,
  Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
  This tumult, and permitted all, advis'd:
  That his great purpose he might so fulfill,
  To honour his Anointed Son aveng'd
  Upon his enemies, and to declare
  All power on him transferr'd: whence to his Son
  Th' Assessor of his Throne he thus began.
    Effulgence of my Glorie, Son belov'd,
  Son in whose face invisible is beheld
  Visibly, what by Deitie I am,
  And in whose hand what by Decree I doe,
  Second Omnipotence, two dayes are past,
  Two dayes, as we compute the dayes of Heav'n,
  Since MICHAEL and his Powers went forth to tame
  These disobedient; sore hath been thir fight,
  As likeliest was, when two such Foes met arm'd;
  For to themselves I left them, and thou knowst,
  Equal in their Creation they were form'd,
  Save what sin hath impaird, which yet hath wrought
  Insensibly, for I suspend thir doom;
  Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last
  Endless, and no solution will be found:
  Warr wearied hath perform'd what Warr can do,
  And to disorder'd rage let loose the reines,
  With Mountains as with Weapons arm'd, which makes
  Wild work in Heav'n, and dangerous to the maine.
  Two dayes are therefore past, the third is thine;
  For thee I have ordain'd it, and thus farr
  Have sufferd, that the Glorie may be thine
  Of ending this great Warr, since none but Thou
  Can end it. Into thee such Vertue and Grace
  Immense I have transfus'd, that all may know
  In Heav'n and Hell thy Power above compare,
  And this perverse Commotion governd thus,
  To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir
  Of all things, to be Heir and to be King
  By Sacred Unction, thy deserved right.
  Go then thou Mightiest in thy Fathers might,
  Ascend my Chariot, guide the rapid Wheeles
  That shake Heav'ns basis, bring forth all my Warr,
  My Bow and Thunder, my Almightie Arms
  Gird on, and Sword upon thy puissant Thigh;
  Pursue these sons of Darkness, drive them out
  From all Heav'ns bounds into the utter Deep:
  There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
  God and MESSIAH his anointed King.
    He said, and on his Son with Rayes direct
  Shon full, he all his Father full exprest
  Ineffably into his face receiv'd,
  And thus the filial Godhead answering spake.
    O Father, O Supream of heav'nly Thrones,
  First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou alwayes seekst
  To glorifie thy Son, I alwayes thee,
  As is most just; this I my Glorie account,
  My exaltation, and my whole delight,
  That thou in me well pleas'd, declarst thy will
  Fulfill'd, which to fulfil is all my bliss.
  Scepter and Power, thy giving, I assume,
  And gladlier shall resign, when in the end
  Thou shalt be All in All, and I in thee
  For ever, and in mee all whom thou lov'st:
  But whom thou hat'st, I hate, and can put on
  Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
  Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,
  Armd with thy might, rid heav'n of these rebell'd,
  To thir prepar'd ill Mansion driven down
  To chains of Darkness, and th' undying Worm,
  That from thy just obedience could revolt,
  Whom to obey is happiness entire.
  Then shall thy Saints unmixt, and from th' impure
  Farr separate, circling thy holy Mount
  Unfained HALLELUIAHS to thee sing,
  Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.
  So said, he o're his Scepter bowing, rose
  From the right hand of Glorie where he sate,
  And the third sacred Morn began to shine
  Dawning through Heav'n: forth rush'd with whirlwind sound
  The Chariot of Paternal Deitie,
  Flashing thick flames, Wheele within Wheele undrawn,
  It self instinct with Spirit, but convoyd
  By four Cherubic shapes, four Faces each
  Had wondrous, as with Starrs thir bodies all
  And Wings were set with Eyes, with Eyes the Wheels
  Of Beril, and careering Fires between;
  Over thir heads a chrystal Firmament,
  Whereon a Saphir Throne, inlaid with pure
  Amber, and colours of the showrie Arch.
  Hee in Celestial Panoplie all armd
  Of radiant URIM, work divinely wrought,
  Ascended, at his right hand Victorie
  Sate Eagle-wing'd, beside him hung his Bow
  And Quiver with three-bolted Thunder stor'd,
  And from about him fierce Effusion rowld
  Of smoak and bickering flame, and sparkles dire;
  Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,
  He onward came, farr off his coming shon,
  And twentie thousand (I thir number heard)
  Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen:
  Hee on the wings of Cherub rode sublime
  On the Crystallin Skie, in Saphir Thron'd.
  Illustrious farr and wide, but by his own
  First seen, them unexpected joy surpriz'd,
  When the great Ensign of MESSIAH blaz'd
  Aloft by Angels born, his Sign in Heav'n:
  Under whose Conduct MICHAEL soon reduc'd
  His Armie, circumfus'd on either Wing,
  Under thir Head imbodied all in one.
  Before him Power Divine his way prepar'd;
  At his command the uprooted Hills retir'd
  Each to his place, they heard his voice and went
  Obsequious, Heav'n his wonted face renewd,
  And with fresh Flourets Hill and Valley smil'd.
  This saw his hapless Foes, but stood obdur'd,
  And to rebellious fight rallied thir Powers
  Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.
  In heav'nly Spirits could such perverseness dwell?
  But to convince the proud what Signs availe,
  Or Wonders move th' obdurate to relent?
  They hard'nd more by what might most reclame,
  Grieving to see his Glorie, at the sight
  Took envie, and aspiring to his highth,
  Stood reimbattell'd fierce, by force or fraud
  Weening to prosper, and at length prevaile
  Against God and MESSIAH, or to fall
  In universal ruin last, and now
  To final Battel drew, disdaining flight,
  Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God
  To all his Host on either hand thus spake.
    Stand still in bright array ye Saints, here stand
  Ye Angels arm'd, this day from Battel rest;
  Faithful hath been your Warfare, and of God
  Accepted, fearless in his righteous Cause,
  And as ye have receivd, so have ye don
  Invincibly; but of this cursed crew
  The punishment to other hand belongs,
  Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints;
  Number to this dayes work is not ordain'd
  Nor multitude, stand onely and behold
  Gods indignation on these Godless pourd
  By mee; not you but mee they have despis'd,
  Yet envied; against mee is all thir rage,
  Because the Father, t' whom in Heav'n supream
  Kingdom and Power and Glorie appertains,
  Hath honourd me according to his will.
  Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assig'n'd;
  That they may have thir wish, to trie with mee
  In Battel which the stronger proves, they all,
  Or I alone against them, since by strength
  They measure all, of other excellence
  Not emulous, nor care who them excells;
  Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.
    So spake the Son, and into terrour chang'd
  His count'nance too severe to be beheld
  And full of wrauth bent on his Enemies.
  At once the Four spred out thir Starrie wings
  With dreadful shade contiguous, and the Orbes
  Of his fierce Chariot rowld, as with the sound
  Of torrent Floods, or of a numerous Host.
  Hee on his impious Foes right onward drove,
  Gloomie as Night; under his burning Wheeles
  The stedfast Empyrean shook throughout,
  All but the Throne it self of God. Full soon
  Among them he arriv'd; in his right hand
  Grasping ten thousand Thunders, which he sent
  Before him, such as in thir Soules infix'd
  Plagues; they astonisht all resistance lost,
  All courage; down thir idle weapons drop'd;
  O're Shields and Helmes, and helmed heads he rode
  Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate,
  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 Foure,
  Distinct with eyes, and from the living Wheels,
  Distinct alike with multitude of eyes,
  One Spirit in them rul'd, and every eye
  Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
  Among th' accurst, that witherd all thir strength,
  And of thir wonted vigour left them draind,
  Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n.
  Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd
  His Thunder in mid Volie, for he meant
  Not to destroy, but root them out of Heav'n:
  The overthrown he rais'd, and as a Heard
  Of Goats or timerous flock together throngd
  Drove them before him Thunder-struck, pursu'd
  With terrors and with furies to the bounds
  And Chrystall wall of Heav'n, which op'ning wide,
  Rowld inward, and a spacious Gap disclos'd
  Into the wastful Deep; the monstrous sight
  Strook them with horror backward, but far worse
  Urg'd them behind; headlong themselvs they threw
  Down from the verge of Heav'n, Eternal wrauth
  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.
  Nine dayes they fell; confounded CHAOS roard,
  And felt tenfold confusion in thir fall
  Through his wilde Anarchie, so huge a rout
  Incumberd him with ruin: Hell at last
  Yawning receavd them whole, and on them clos'd,
  Hell thir fit habitation fraught with fire
  Unquenchable, the house of woe and paine.
  Disburd'nd Heav'n rejoic'd, and soon repaird
  Her mural breach, returning whence it rowld.
  Sole Victor from th' expulsion of his Foes
  MESSIAH his triumphal Chariot turnd:
  To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood
  Eye witnesses of his Almightie Acts,
  With Jubilie advanc'd; and as they went,
  Shaded with branching Palme, each order bright,
  Sung Triumph, and him sung Victorious King,
  Son, Heire, and Lord, to him Dominion giv'n,
  Worthiest to Reign: he celebrated rode
  Triumphant through mid Heav'n, into the Courts
  And Temple of his mightie Father Thron'd
  On high; who into Glorie him receav'd,
  Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
    Thus measuring things in Heav'n by things on Earth
  At thy request, and that thou maist beware
  By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd
  What might have else to human Race bin hid;
  The discord which befel, and Warr in Heav'n
  Among th' Angelic Powers, and the deep fall
  Of those too high aspiring, who rebelld
  With SATAN, hee who envies now thy state,
  Who now is plotting how he may seduce
  Thee also from obedience, that with him
  Bereavd of happiness thou maist partake
  His punishment, Eternal miserie;
  Which would be all his solace and revenge,
  As a despite don against the most High,
  Thee once to gaine Companion of his woe.
  But list'n not to his Temptations, warne
  Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard
  By terrible Example the reward
  Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,
  Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.

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