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The Adversary: Nor think thou with wind
Of aery 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

285 Unvanquish'd, easier to transact with me That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with

threats To chace 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. Mean while thy utmost force, And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid, I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh. 295

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 wav'd their fiery swords, and in the air Made horrid circles. Two broad suns their shields Blaz'd opposite, while Expectation stood 306 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

310

316

Great things by small, if Nature's concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planets rushing from aspect malign
Of fiercest opposition in mid-sky
Should combat, and theirjarringspheres 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 might or swift prevention. But the sword 320
Of Michael from the armoury 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, 325
But with swift wheel reverse, deep eni’ring 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 thro' him: but th'ethereal substance clos'd,
Not long divisible ; and from the gash 331
A stream of nect'rous humour issuing, flow'd
Sanguine, such as celestial Sp'rits may bleed,
And all his armour stain'd ere while so bright.
Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run 335
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
Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame,340

To find himself not matchless, and his pride
Humbl’d by such rebuke, so far beneath
His confidence to equal God in pow'r.
Yet soon he heal'd; for Sp’rits that live through-

out
Vital in ev'ry part, not as frail man

345 In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins, Cannot but by annihilating die; Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound Receive, no more than can the fluid air. All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear, 350 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 deserv'd Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought, And with fierce ensigns pierc'd the deep array Of Moloch, furious king; who him defy'd, And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound Threaten'd; nor from the Holy One of Heav'n Refrain'd his tongue blasphemous; but anon 360 Down cloven to the waist, with shatter'd arms And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing Uriel and Raphael his vaunting foe, Though huge, and in a rock of diamond arm’d, Vanquish'd Adramelech and Asniadai, 365 Two potent thrones, that to be less than Gods Disdain'd, but meaner thoughts learn'd in their

flight, Mangl’d with ghastly wounds through plate and

mail. VOL, I.

B B

Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy
The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow 370
Ariel and Arioch, and the violence
Of Ramiel scorch'd and blasted overthrew.
I might relate of thousands, and their names
Eternize here on earth ; but those elect
Angels, contented with their fame in Heav'n, 375
Seek not the praise of men.

The other sort,
In might though wondrous, and in acts of war,
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom
Cancell'd from Heav'n and sacred memory,
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell. 380
For strength from truth divided and from just
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise
And ignominy; yet to glory' aspires
Vainglorious, and through infamy seeks fame :
Therefore eternal silence be their doom. 385
Andnow their mightiest quell’d, the battle swerv'd,
With many an inroad gor'd; deformed rout
Enter'd, and foul disorder ; all the ground
With shiver'd armour strewn, and on a heap
Chariot and charioteer lay overturn’d, 390
And fiery foaming steeds : what stood, recoil'd
O'erweary'd, through the faint Satanic host
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surpriz'd,
Then first with fear surpriz'd and sense of pain,
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought 395
By sin of disobedience, till that hour
Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain.
Far otherwise th’inviolable Saints

1

400

In cubic phalanx firm advanc'd entire,
Invulnerable, impenetrably arm’d:
Such high advantages their innocence
Gave them above their foes, not to have sinn'd,
Not to have disobey'd: in fight they stood
Unweary'd, unobnoxious to be pain'd

404 By wound, tho'from their place by vi’lence mov’d.

Now Night her course began, and over Heav'n Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos’d, And silence on the odious din of war. Under her cloudy covert both retir’d, Victor and vanquish’d, on the foughten field 410 Michael and his angels prevalent Encamping, plac'd in guard their watches round, Cherubic waving fires. On th' other part Satan with his rebellious disappear’d, Far in the dark dislodg’d; and void of rest, 415 His potentates to council call’d by night; And in the midst thus undismay'd began :

O now in danger try’d, now known in arms, Not to be o’erpow'r’d, Companions dear, Found worthy not of liberty alone,

420 Too mean pretence, but what we more affect, Honour, dominion, glory, and renown; Who have sustain'd one day in doubtful fight (And if one day, why not eternal days ?) What Heaven's Lord had pow'rfullest to send 425 Against us from about his throne, and judg’d Sufficient to subdue us to his will, But proves not so : then fallible, it seems,

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