Paradise Lost: Book VI (1674)

Original Text: 
John Milton, Paradise Lost, 2nd edn. (London: Samuel Simmons, 1674). A transcription by Roy Flannagan of the second (1674) edition in John Milton's Complete Poetical Works Reproduced in Photographic Facsimile. A Critical Text Edition, ed. Harris Francis Fletcher, III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948). PR 3551 F52 Robarts Library. As published in Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM.
THE ARGUMENT.
Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battel against Satan and his Angels. The first Fight describ'd: Satan and his Powers retire under Night: He calls a Councel, invents devilish Engines, which in the second dayes Fight put Michael and his Angels to some disorder; but they at length pulling up Mountains overwhelm'd both the force and Machins of Satan: Yet the Tumult not so ending, God on the third day sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserv'd the glory of that Victory: Hee in the Power of his Father coming to the place, and causing all his Legions to stand still on either side, with his Chariot and Thunder driving into the midst of his Enemies, pursues them unable to resist towards the wall of Heaven; which opening, they leap down with horrour and confusion into the place of punishment prepar'd for them in the Deep: Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.
1ALL night the dreadless Angel unpursu'd
2Through Heav'ns wide Champain held his way, till Morn,
3Wak't by the circling Hours, with rosie hand
4Unbarr'd the gates of Light. There is a Cave
5Within the Mount of God, fast by his Throne,
6Where light and darkness in perpetual round
7Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heav'n
8Grateful vicissitude, like Day and Night;
9Light issues forth, and at the other dore
10Obsequious darkness enters, till her houre
11To veile the Heav'n, though darkness there might well
12Seem twilight here; and now went forth the Morn
13Such as in highest Heav'n, arrayd in Gold
14Empyreal, from before her vanisht Night,
15Shot through with orient Beams: when all the Plain
16Coverd with thick embatteld Squadrons bright,
17Chariots and flaming Armes, and fierie Steeds
18Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:
19Warr he perceav'd, warr in procinct, and found
20Already known what he for news had thought
21To have reported: gladly then he mixt
22Among those friendly Powers who him receav'd
23With joy and acclamations loud, that one
24That of so many Myriads fall'n, yet one
25Returnd not lost: On to the sacred hill
26They led him high applauded, and present
27Before the seat supream; from whence a voice
28From midst a Golden Cloud thus milde was heard.
29Servant of God, well done, well hast thou fought
30The better fight, who single hast maintaind
31Against revolted multitudes the Cause
32Of Truth, in word mightier then they in Armes;
33And for the testimonie of Truth hast born
34Universal reproach, far worse to beare
35Then violence: for this was all thy care
36To stand approv'd in sight of God, though Worlds
37Judg'd thee perverse: the easier conquest now
38Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
39Back on thy foes more glorious to return
40Then scornd thou didst depart, and to subdue
41By force, who reason for thir Law refuse,
42Right reason for thir Law, and for thir King
43Messiah, who by right of merit Reigns.
44Go Michael of Celestial Armies Prince,
45And thou in Military prowess next
46Gabriel, lead forth to Battel these my Sons
47Invincible, lead forth my armed Saints
48By Thousands and by Millions rang'd for fight;
49Equal in number to that Godless crew
50Rebellious, them with Fire and hostile Arms
51Fearless assault, and to the brow of Heav'n
52Pursuing drive them out from God and bliss,
53Into thir place of punishment, the Gulf
54Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
55His fiery Chaos to receave thir fall.
56So spake the Sovran voice, and Clouds began
57To darken all the Hill, and smoak to rowl
58In duskie wreathes, reluctant flames, the signe
59Of wrauth awak't: nor with less dread the loud
60Ethereal Trumpet from on high gan blow:
61At which command the Powers Militant,
62That stood for Heav'n, in mighty Quadrate joyn"d
63Of Union irresistible, mov'd on
64In silence thir bright Legions, to the sound
65Of instrumental Harmonie that breath'd
66Heroic Ardor to advent'rous deeds
67Under thir God-like Leaders, in the Cause
68Of God and his Messiah. On they move
69Indissolubly firm; nor obvious Hill,
70Nor streit'ning Vale, nor Wood, nor Stream divides
71Thir perfet ranks; for high above the ground
72Thir march was, and the passive Air upbore
73Thir nimble tread, as when the total kind
74Of Birds in orderly array on wing
75Came summond over Eden to receive
76Thir names of thee; so over many a tract
77Of Heav'n they march'd, and many a Province wide
78Tenfold the length of this terrene: at last
79Farr in th' Horizon to the North appeer'd
80From skirt to skirt a fierie Region, stretcht
81In battailous aspect, and neerer view
82Bristl'd with upright beams innumerable
83Of rigid Spears, and Helmets throng'd, and Shields
84Various, with boastful Argument portraid,
85The banded Powers of Satan hasting on
86With furious expedition; for they weend
87That self same day by fight, or by surprize
88To win the Mount of God, and on his Throne
89To set the envier of his State, the proud
90Aspirer, but thir thoughts prov'd fond and vain
91In the mid way: though strange to us it seemd
92At first, that Angel should with Angel warr,
93And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
94So oft in Festivals of joy and love
95Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire
96Hymning th' Eternal Father: but the shout
97Of Battel now began, and rushing sound
98Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
99High in the midst exalted as a God
100Th' Apostat in his Sun-bright Chariot sate
101Idol of Majestie Divine, enclos'd
102With Flaming Cherubim, and golden Shields;
103Then lighted from his gorgeous Throne, for now
104'Twixt Host and Host but narrow space was left,
105A dreadful intervall, and Front to Front
106Presented stood in terrible array
107Of hideous length: before the cloudie Van,
108On the rough edge of battel ere it joyn,d,
109Satan with vast and haughtie strides advanc't,
110Came towring, armd in Adamant and Gold;
111Abdiel that sight endur'd not, where he stood
112Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
113And thus his own undaunted heart explores.
114O Heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest
115Should yet remain, where faith and realtie
116Remain not; wherfore should not strength and might
117There fail where Vertue fails, or weakest prove
118Where boldest; though to sight unconquerable?
119His puissance, trusting in th' Almightie's aide,
120I mean to try, whose Reason I have tri'd
121Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just,
122That he who in debate of Truth hath won,
123Should win in Arms, in both disputes alike
124Victor; though brutish that contest and foule,
125When Reason hath to deal with force, yet so
126Most reason is that Reason overcome.
127So pondering, and from his armed Peers
128Forth stepping opposite, half way he met
129His daring foe, at this prevention more
130Incens't, and thus securely him defi'd.
131Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reacht
132The highth of thy aspiring unoppos'd,
133The Throne of God unguarded, and his side
134Abandond at the terror of thy Power
135Or potent tongue; fool, not to think how vain
136Against th' Omnipotent to rise in Arms;
137Who out of smallest things could without end
138Have rais'd incessant Armies to defeat
139Thy folly; or with solitarie hand
140Reaching beyond all limit at one blow
141Unaided could have finisht thee, and whelmd
142Thy Legions under darkness; but thou seest
143All are not of thy Train; there be who Faith
144Prefer, and Pietie to God, though then
145To thee not visible, when I alone
146Seemd in thy World erroneous to dissent
147From all: my Sect thou seest, now learn too late
148How few somtimes may know, when thousands err.
149Whom the grand foe with scornful eye askance
150Thus answerd. Ill for thee, but in wisht houre
151Of my revenge, first sought for thou returnst
152From flight, seditious Angel, to receave
153Thy merited reward, the first assay
154Of this right hand provok't, since first that tongue
155Inspir'd with contradiction durst oppose
156A third part of the Gods, in Synod met
157Thir Deities to assert, who while they feel
158Vigour Divine within them, can allow
159Omnipotence to none. But well thou comst
160Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
161From me som Plume, that thy success may show
162Destruction to the rest: this pause between
163(Unanswerd least thou boast) to let thee know;
164At first I thought that Libertie and Heav'n
165To heav'nly Soules had bin all one; but now
166I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
167Ministring Spirits, traind up in Feast and Song;
168Such hast thou arm'd, the Ministrelsie of Heav'n,
169Servilitie with freedom to contend,
170As both thir deeds compar'd this day shall prove.
171To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern repli'd.
172Apostat, still thou errst, nor end wilt find
173Of erring, from the path of truth remote:
174Unjustly thou deprav'st it with the name
175Of Servitude to serve whom God ordains,
176Or Nature; God and Nature bid the same,
177When he who rules is worthiest, and excells
178Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
179To serve th' unwise, or him who hath rebelld
180Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
181Thy self not free, but to thy self enthrall'd;
182Yet leudly dar'st our ministring upbraid.
183Reign thou in Hell thy Kingdom, let mee serve
184In Heav'n God ever blest, and his Divine
185Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd,
186Yet Chains in Hell, not Realms expect: mean while
187From mee returnd, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
188This greeting on thy impious Crest receive.
189So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
190Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell
191On the proud Crest of Satan, that no sight,
192Nor motion of swift thought, less could his Shield
193Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge
194He back recoild; the tenth on bended knee
195His massie Spear upstaid; as if on Earth
196Winds under ground or waters forcing way
197Sidelong, had push't a Mountain from his seat
198Half sunk with all his Pines. Amazement seis'd
199The Rebel Thrones, but greater rage to see
200Thus foil'd thir mightiest, ours joy filld, and shout,
201Presage of Victorie and fierce desire
202Of Battel: whereat Michael bid sound
203Th' Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vast of Heaven
204It sounded, and the faithful Armies rung
205Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze
206The adverse Legions, nor less hideous joyn'd
207The horrid shock: now storming furie rose,
208And clamour such as heard in Heav'n till now
209Was never, Arms on Armour clashing bray'd
210Horrible discord, and the madding Wheeles
211Of brazen Chariots rag'd; dire was the noise
212Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss
213Of fiery Darts in flaming volies flew,
214And flying vaulted either Host with fire.
215So under fierie Cope together rush'd
216Both Battels maine, with ruinous assault
217And inextinguishable rage; all Heav'n
218Resounded, and had Earth bin then, all Earth
219Had to her Center shook. What wonder? when
220Millions of fierce encountring Angels fought
221On either side, the least of whom could weild
222These Elements, and arm him with the force
223Of all thir Regions: how much more of Power
224Armie against Armie numberless to raise
225Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
226Though not destroy, thir happie Native seat;
227Had not th' Eternal King Omnipotent
228From his strong hold of Heav'n high over-rul'd
229And limited thir might; though numberd such
230As each divided Legion might have seemd
231A numerous Host, in strength each armed hand
232A Legion; led in fight, yet Leader seemd
233Each Warriour single as in Chief, expert
234When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
235Of Battel, open when, and when to close
236The ridges of grim Warr; no thought of flight,
237None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
238That argu'd fear; each on himself reli'd,
239As onely in his arm the moment lay
240Of victorie; deeds of eternal fame
241Were don, but infinite: for wide was spred
242That Warr and various; somtimes on firm ground
243A standing fight, then soaring on main wing
244Tormented all the Air; all Air seemd then
245Conflicting Fire: long time in eeven scale
246The Battel hung; till Satan, who that day
247Prodigious power had shewn, and met in Armes
248No equal, raunging through the dire attack
249Of fighting Seraphim confus'd, at length
250Saw where the Sword of Michael smote, and fell'd
251Squadrons at once, with huge two-handed sway
252Brandisht aloft the horrid edge came down
253Wide wasting; such destruction to withstand
254He hasted, and oppos'd the rockie Orb
255Of tenfold Adamant, his ample Shield
256A vast circumference: At his approach
257The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toile
258Surceas'd, and glad as hoping here to end
259Intestine War in Heav'n, the arch foe subdu'd
260Or Captive drag'd in Chains, with hostile frown
261And visage all enflam'd first thus began.
262Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,
263Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
264These Acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
265Though heaviest by just measure on thy self
266And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb d
267Heav'ns blessed peace, and into Nature brought
268Miserie, uncreated till the crime
269Of thy Rebellion? how hast thou instill'd
270Thy malice into thousands, once upright
271And faithful, now prov'd false. But think not here
272To trouble Holy Rest; Heav'n casts thee out
273From all her Confines. Heav'n the seat of bliss
274Brooks not the works of violence and Warr.
275Hence then, and evil go with thee along
276Thy ofspring, to the place of evil, Hell,
277Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broiles,
278Ere this avenging Sword begin thy doome,
279Or som more sudden vengeance wing'd from God
280Precipitate thee with augmented paine.
281So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus
282The Adversarie. Nor think thou with wind
283Of airie threats to aw whom yet with deeds
284Thou canst not. Hast thou turnd the least of these
285To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise
286Unvanquisht, easier to transact with mee
287That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats
288To chase me hence? erre not that so shall end
289The strife which thou call'st evil, but wee style
290The strife of Glorie: which we mean to win,
291Or turn this Heav'n it self into the Hell
292Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,
293If not to reign: mean while thy utmost force,
294And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid,
295I flie not, but have sought thee farr and nigh.
296They ended parle, and both addrest for fight
297Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue
298Of Angels, can relate, or to what things
299Liken on Earth conspicuous, that may lift
300Human imagination to such highth
301Of Godlike Power: for likest Gods they seemd,
302Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, arms
303Fit to decide the Empire of great Heav'n.
304Now wav'd thir fierie Swords, and in the Aire
305Made horrid Circles; two broad Suns thir Shields
306Blaz'd opposite, while expectation stood
307In horror; from each hand with speed retir'd
308Where erst was thickest fight, th' Angelic throng,
309And left large field, unsafe within the wind
310Of such commotion, such as to set forth
311Great things by small, If Natures concord broke,
312Among the Constellations warr were sprung,
313Two Planets rushing from aspect maligne
314Of fiercest opposition in mid Skie,
315Should combat, and thir jarring Sphears confound.
316Together both with next to Almightie Arme,
317Uplifted imminent one stroke they aim'd
318That might determine, and not need repeate,
319As not of power, at once; nor odds appeerd
320In might or swift prevention; but the sword
321Of Michael from the Armorie of God
322Was giv'n him temperd so, that neither keen
323Nor solid might resist that edge: it met
324The sword of Satan with steep force to smite
325Descending, and in half cut sheere, nor staid,
326But with swift wheele reverse, deep entring shar'd
327All his right side; then Satan first knew pain,
328And writh'd him to and fro convolv'd; so sore
329The griding sword with discontinuous wound
330Pass'd through him, but th' Ethereal substance clos'd
331Not long divisible, and from the gash
332A stream of Nectarous humor issuing flow'd
333Sanguin, such as Celestial Spirits may bleed,
334And all his Armour staind ere while so bright.
335Forthwith on all sides to his aide was run
336By Angels many and strong, who interpos'd
337Defence, while others bore him on thir Shields
338Back to his Chariot; where it stood retir'd
339From off the files of warr; there they him laid
340Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame
341To find himself not matchless, and his pride
342Humbl'd by such rebuke, so farr beneath
343His confidence to equal God in power.
344Yet soon he heal'd; for Spirits that live throughout
345Vital in every part, not as frail man
346In Entrailes, Heart or Head, Liver or Reines;
347Cannot but by annihilating die;
348Nor in thir liquid texture mortal wound
349Receive, no more then can the fluid Aire:
350All Heart they live, all Head, all Eye, all Eare,
351All Intellect, all Sense, and as they please,
352They Limb themselves, and colour, shape or size
353Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.
354Mean while in other parts like deeds deservd
355Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,
356And with fierce Ensignes pierc'd the deep array
357Of Moloc furious King, who him defi'd,
358And at his Chariot wheeles to drag him bound
359Threatn'd, nor from the Holie One of Heav'n
360Refrein'd his tongue blasphemous; but anon
361Down clov'n to the waste, with shatterd Armes
362And uncouth paine fled bellowing. On each wing
363Uriel and Raphael his vaunting foe,
364Though huge, and in a Rock of Diamond Armd,
365Vanquish'd Adramelec, and Asmadai,
366Two potent Thrones, that to be less then Gods
367Disdain'd, but meaner thoughts learnd in thir flight,
368Mangl'd with gastly wounds through Plate and Maile,
369Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy
370The Atheist crew, but with redoubl'd blow
371Ariel and Arioc, and the violence
372Of Ramiel scorcht and blasted overthrew.
373I might relate of thousands, and thir names
374Eternize here on Earth; but those elect
375Angels contented with thir fame in Heav'n
376Seek not the praise of men: the other sort
377In might though wondrous and in Acts of Warr,
378Nor of Renown less eager, yet by doome
379Canceld from Heav'n and sacred memorie,
380Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
381For strength from Truth divided and from Just,
382Illaudable, naught merits but dispraise
383And ignominie, yet to glorie aspires
384Vain glorious, and through infamie seeks fame:
385Therfore Eternal silence be thir doome.
386And now thir Mightiest quelld, the battel swerv'd,
387With many an inrode gor'd; deformed rout
388Enter'd, and foul disorder; all the ground
389With shiverd armour strow'n, and on a heap
390Chariot and Charioter lay overturnd
391And fierie foaming Steeds; what stood, recoyld
392Orewearied, through the faint Satanic Host
393Defensive scarse, or with pale fear surpris'd,
394Then first with fear surpris'd and sense of paine
395Fled ignominious, to such evil brought
396By sin of disobedience, till that hour
397Not liable to fear or flight or paine.
398Far otherwise th' inviolable Saints
399In Cubic Phalanx firm advanc't entire,
400Invulnerable, impenitrably arm'd:
401Such high advantages thir innocence
402Gave them above thir foes, not to have sinnd,
403Not to have disobei'd; in fight they stood
404Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'd
405By wound, though from thir place by violence mov'd.
406Now Night her course began, and over Heav'n
407Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos'd,
408And silence on the odious dinn of Warr:
409Under her Cloudie covert both retir'd,
410Victor and Vanquisht: on the foughten field
411Michael and his Angels prevalent
412Encamping, plac'd in Guard thir Watches round,
413Cherubic waving fires: on th' other part
414Satan with his rebellious disappeerd,
415Far in the dark dislodg'd, and void of rest,
416His Potentates to Councel call'd by night;
417And in the midst thus undismai'd began.
418O now in danger tri'd, now known in Armes
419Not to be overpowerd, Companions deare,
420Found worthy not of Libertie alone,
421Too mean pretense, but what we more affect,
422Honour, Dominion, Glorie, and renowne,
423Who have sustaind one day in doubtful fight
424(And if one day, why not Eternal dayes?)
425What Heavens Lord had powerfullest to send
426Against us from about his Throne, and judg'd
427Sufficient to subdue us to his will,
428But proves not so: then fallible, it seems,
429Of future we may deem him, though till now
430Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm'd,
431Some disadvantage we endur'd and paine,
432Till now not known, but known as soon contemnd,
433Since now we find this our Empyreal form
434Incapable of mortal injurie
435Imperishable, and though peirc'd with wound,
436Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
437Of evil then so small as easie think
438The remedie; perhaps more valid Armes,
439Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
440May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
441Or equal what between us made the odds,
442In Nature none: if other hidden cause
443Left them Superiour, while we can preserve
444Unhurt our mindes, and understanding sound,
445Due search and consultation will disclose.
446He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood
447Nisroc of Principalities the prime;
448As one he stood escap't from cruel fight,
449Sore toild, his riv'n Armes to havoc hewn,
450And cIoudie in aspect thus answering spake.
451Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
452Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard
453For Gods, and too unequal work we find
454Against unequal armes to fight in paine,
455Against unpaind, impassive; from which evil
456Ruin must needs ensue; for what availes
457Valour or strength, though matchless, quelld with pain
458Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
459Of Mightiest. Sense of pleasure we may well
460Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
461But live content, which is the calmest life:
462But pain is perfet miserie, the worst
463Of evils, and excessive, overturnes
464All patience. He who therefore can invent
465With what more forcible we may offend
466Our yet unwounded Enemies, or arme
467Our selves with like defence, to me deserves
468No less then for deliverance what we owe.
469Whereto with look compos'd Satan repli'd.
470Not uninvented that, which thou aright
471Believst so main to our success, I bring;
472Which of us who beholds the bright surface
473Of this Ethereous mould whereon we stand,
474This continent of spacious Heav'n, adornd
475With Plant, Fruit, Flour Ambrosial, Gemms & Gold,
476Whose Eye so superficially surveyes
477These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
478Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
479Of spiritous and fierie spume, till toucht
480With Heav'ns ray, and temperd they shoot forth
481So beauteous, op'ning to the ambient light.
482These in thir dark Nativitie the Deep
483Shall yield us pregnant with infernal flame,
484Which into hallow Engins long and round
485Thick-rammd, at th' other bore with touch of fire
486Dilated and infuriate shall send forth
487From far with thundring noise among our foes
488Such implements of mischief as shall dash
489To pieces, and orewhelm whatever stands
490Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmd
491The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
492Nor long shall be our labour, yet ere dawne,
493Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;
494Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joind
495Think nothing hard, much less to be despaird.
496He ended, and his words thir drooping chere
497Enlightn'd, and thir languisht hope reviv'd.
498Th' invention all admir'd, and each, how hee
499To be th' inventer miss'd, so easie it seemd
500Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought
501Impossible: yet haply of thy Race
502In future dayes, if Malice should aboun,
503Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
504With dev'lish machination might devise
505Like instrument to plague the Sons of men
506For sin, on warr and mutual slaughter bent.
507Forthwith from Councel to the work they flew,
508None arguing stood, innumerable hands
509Were ready, in a moment up they turnd
510Wide the Celestial soile, and saw beneath
511Th' originals of Nature in thir crude
512Conception; Sulphurous and Nitrous Foame
513They found, they mingl'd, and with suttle Art,
514Concocted and adusted they reduc'd
515To blackest grain, and into store convey'd:
516Part hidd'n veins diggd up (nor hath this Earth
517Entrails unlike) of Mineral and Stone,
518Whereof to found thir Engins and thir Balls
519Of missive ruin; part incentive reed
520Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
521So all ere day-spring, under conscious Night
522Secret they finish'd, and in order set,
523With silent circumspection unespi'd.
524Now when fair Morn Orient in Heav'n appeerd
525Up rose the Victor Angels, and to Arms
526The matin Trumpet Sung: in Arms they stood
527Of Golden Panoplie, refulgent Host,
528Soon banded; others from the dawning Hills
529Lookd round, and Scouts each Coast light-armed scoure,
530Each quarter, to descrie the distant foe,
531Where lodg'd, or whither fled, or if for fight,
532In motion or in alt: him soon they met
533Under spred Ensignes moving nigh, in slow
534But firm Battalion; back with speediest Sail
535Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,
536Came flying, and in mid Aire aloud thus cri'd.
537Arme, Warriours, Arme for fight, the foe at hand,
538Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
539This day, fear not his flight; so thick a Cloud
540He comes, and settl'd in his face I see
541Sad resolution and secure: let each
542His Adamantine coat gird well, and each
543Fit well his Helme, gripe fast his orbed Shield,
544Born eevn or high, for this day will pour down,
545If I conjecture aught, no drizling showr,
546But ratling storm of Arrows barbd with fire.
547So warnd he them aware themselves, and soon
548In order, quit of all impediment;
549Instant without disturb they took Allarm,
550And onward move Embattelld; when behold
551Not distant far with heavie pace the Foe
552Approaching gross and huge; in hollow Cube
553Training his devilish Enginrie, impal'd
554On every side with shaddowing Squadrons Deep,
555To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
556A while, but suddenly at head appeerd
557Satan: And thus was heard Commanding loud.
558Vanguard, to Right and Left the Front unfould;
559That all may see who hate us, how we seek
560Peace and composure, and with open brest
561Stand readie to receive them, if they like
562Our overture, and turn not back perverse;
563But that I doubt, however witness Heaven,
564Heav'n witness thou anon, while we discharge
565Freely our part; yee who appointed stand
566Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
567What we propound, and loud that all may hear.
569Had ended; when to Right and Left the Front
570Divided, and to either Flank retir'd.
571Which to our eyes discoverd new and strange,
572A triple mounted row of Pillars laid
573On Wheels (for like to Pillars most they seem'd
574Or hollow'd bodies made of Oak or Firr
575With branches lopt, in Wood or Mountain fell'd)
576Brass, Iron, Stonie mould, had not thir mouthes
577With hideous orifice gap't on us wide,
578Portending hollow truce; at each behind
579A Seraph stood, and in his hand a Reed
580Stood waving tipt with fire; while we suspense,
581Collected stood within our thoughts amus'd,
582Not long, for sudden all at once thir Reeds
583Put forth, and to a narrow vent appli'd
584With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
585But soon obscur'd with smoak, all Heav'n appeerd,
586From those deep throated Engins belcht, whose roar
587Emboweld with outragious noise the Air,
588And all her entrails tore, disgorging foule
589Thir devilish glut, chaind Thunderbolts and Hail
590Of Iron Globes, which on the Victor Host
591Level'd, with such impetuous furie smote,
592That whom they hit, none on thir feet might stand,
593Though standing else as Rocks, but down they fell
594By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rowl'd;
595The sooner for thir Arms, unarm'd they might
596Have easily as Spirits evaded swift
597By quick contraction or remove; but now
598Foule dissipation follow'd and forc't rout;
599Nor serv'd it to relax thir serried files.
600What should they do? if on they rusht, repulse
601Repeated, and indecent overthrow
602Doubl'd, would render them yet more despis'd,
603And to thir foes a laughter; for in view
604Stood rankt of Seraphim another row
605In posture to displode thir second tire
606Of Thunder: back defeated to return
607They worse abhorr'd. Satan beheld thir plight,
608And to his Mates thus in derision call'd.
609O Friends, why come not on these Victors proud?
610Ere while they fierce were coming, and when wee,
611To entertain them fair with open Front
612And Brest, (what could we more?) propounded terms
613Of composition, strait they chang'd thir minds,
614Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,
615As they would dance, yet for a dance they seemd
616Somwhat extravagant and wilde, perhaps
617For joy of offerd peace: but I suppose
618If our proposals once again were heard
619We should compel them to a quick result.
620To whom thus Belial in like gamesom mood,
621Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight,
622Of hard contents, and full of force urg'd home,
623Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,
624And stumbl'd many, who receives them right,
625Had need from head to foot well understand;
626Not understood, this gift they have besides,
627They shew us when our foes walk not upright.
628So they among themselves in pleasant veine
629Stood scoffing, highthn'd in thir thoughts beyond
630All doubt of Victorie, eternal might
631To match with thir inventions they presum'd
632So easie, and of his Thunder made a scorn,
633And all his Host derided, while they stood
634A while in trouble; but they stood not long,
635Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms
636Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
637Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power
638Which God hath in his mighty Angels plac'd)
639Thir Arms away they threw, and to the Hills
640(For Earth hath this variety from Heav'n
641Of pleasure situate in Hill and Dale)
642Light as the Lightning glimps they ran, they flew,
643From thir foundations loosning to and fro
644They pluckt the seated Hills with all thir load,
645Rocks, Waters, Woods, and by the shaggie tops
646Up lifting bore them in thir hands: Amaze,
647Be sure, and terrour seis'd the rebel Host,
648When coming towards them so dread they saw
649The bottom of the Mountains upward turn'd,
650Till on those cursed Engins triple-row
651They saw them whelm'd, and all thir confidence
652Under the weight of Mountains buried deep,
653Themselves invaded next, and on thir heads
654Main Promontories flung, which in the Air
655Came shadowing, and opprest whole Legions arm'd,
656Thir armor help'd thir harm, crush't in and bruis'd
657Into thir substance pent, which wrought them pain
658Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,
659Long strugling underneath, ere they could wind
660Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light,
661Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.
662The rest in imitation to like Armes
663Betook them, and the neighbouring Hills uptore;
664So Hills amid the Air encounterd Hills
665Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire
666That under ground, they fought in dismal shade;
667Infernal noise; Warr seem'd a civil Game
668To this uproar; horrid confusion heapt
669Upon confusion rose: and now all Heav'n
670Had gon to wrack, with ruin overspred,
671Had not th' Almightie Father where he sits
672Shrin'd in his Sanctuarie of Heav'n secure,
673Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
674This tumult, and permitted all, advis'd:
675That his great purpose he might so fulfill,
676To honour his Anointed Son aveng'd
677Upon his enemies, and to declare
678All power on him transferr'd: whence to his Son
679Th' Assessor of his Throne he thus began.
680Effulgence of my Glorie, Son belov'd,
681Son in whose face invisible is beheld
682Visibly, what by Deitie I am,
683And in whose hand what by Decree I doe,
684Second Omnipotence, two dayes are past,
685Two dayes, as we compute the dayes of Heav'n,
686Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame
687These disobedient; sore hath been thir fight,
688As likeliest was, when two such Foes met arm'd;
689For to themselves I left them, and thou knowst,
690Equal in their Creation they were form'd,
691Save what sin hath impaird, which yet hath wrought
692Insensibly, for I suspend thir doom;
693Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last
694Endless, and no solution will be found:
695Warr wearied hath perform'd what Warr can do,
696And to disorder'd rage let loose the reines,
697With Mountains as with Weapons arm'd, which makes
698Wild work in Heav'n, and dangerous to the maine.
699Two dayes are therefore past, the third is thine;
700For thee I have ordain'd it, and thus farr
701Have sufferd, that the Glorie may be thine
702Of ending this great Warr, since none but Thou
703Can end it. Into thee such Vertue and Grace
704Immense I have transfus'd, that all may know
705In Heav'n and Hell thy Power above compare,
706And this perverse Commotion governd thus,
707To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir
708Of all things, to be Heir and to be King
709By Sacred Unction, thy deserved right.
710Go then thou Mightiest in thy Fathers might,
711Ascend my Chariot, guide the rapid Wheeles
712That shake Heav'ns basis, bring forth all my Warr,
713My Bow and Thunder, my Almightie Arms
714Gird on, and Sword upon thy puissant Thigh;
715Pursue these sons of Darkness, drive them out
716From all Heav'ns bounds into the utter Deep:
717There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
718God and Messiah his anointed King.
719He said, and on his Son with Rayes direct
720Shon full, he all his Father full expresst
721Ineffably into his face receiv'd,
722And thus the filial Godhead answering spake.
723O Father, O Supream of heav'nly Thrones,
724First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou alwayes seekst
725To glorifie thy Son, I alwayes thee,
726As is most just; this I my Glorie account,
727My exaltation, and my whole delight,
728That thou in me well pleas'd, declarst thy will
729Fulfill'd, which to fulfil is all my bliss.
730Scepter and Power, thy giving, I assume,
731And gladlier shall resign, when in the end
732Thou shalt be All in All, and I in thee
733For ever, and in mee all whom thou lov'st:
734But whom thou hat'st, I hate, and can put on
735Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
736Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,
737Armd with thy might, rid heav'n of these rebell'd,
738To thir prepar'd ill Mansion driven down
739To chains of darkness, and th' undying Worm,
740That from thy just obedience could revolt,
741Whom to obey is happiness entire.
742Then shall thy Saints unmixt, and from th' impure
743Farr separate, circling thy holy Mount
744Unfained Halleluiahs to thee sing,
745Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.
746So said, he o're his Scepter bowing, rose
747From the right hand of Glorie where he sate,
748And the third sacred Morn began to shine
749Dawning through Heav'n: forth rush'd with whirlwind sound
750The Chariot of Paternal Deitie,
751Flashing thick flames, Wheele within Wheele undrawn,
752It self instinct with Spirit, but convoyd
753By four Cherubic shapes, four Faces each
754Had wondrous, as with Starrs thir bodies all
755And Wings were set with Eyes, with Eyes the wheels
756Of Beril, and careering Fires between;
757Over thir heads a chrystal Firmament,
758Whereon a Saphir Throne, inlaid with pure
759Amber, and colours of the showrie Arch.
760Hee in Celestial Panoplie all armd
761Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,
762Ascended, at his right hand Victorie
763Sate Eagle-wing'd, beside him hung his Bow
764And Quiver with three-bolted Thunder stor'd,
765And from about him fierce Effusion rowld
766Of smoak and bickering flame, and sparkles dire;
767Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,
768He onward came, farr off his coming shon,
769And twentie thousand (I thir number heard)
770Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen:
771Hee on the wings of Cherub rode sublime
772On the Chrystallin Skie, in Saphir Thron'd.
773Illustrious farr and wide, but by his own
774First seen, them unexpected joy surpriz'd,
775When the great Ensign of Messiah blaz'd
776Aloft by Angels born, his Sign in Heav'n:
777Under whose conduct Michael soon reduc'd
778His Armie, circumfus'd on either Wing,
779Under thir Head imbodied all in one.
780Before him Power Divine his way prepar'd;
781At his command the uprooted Hills retir'd
782Each to his place, they heard his voice and went
783Obsequious, Heav'n his wonted face renewd,
784And with fresh Flourets Hill and Valley smil'd.
785This saw his hapless Foes but stood obdur'd,
786And to rebellious fight rallied thir Powers
787Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.
788In heav'nly Spirits could such perverseness dwell?
789But to convince the proud what Signs availe,
790Or Wonders move th' obdurate to relent?
791They hard'nd more by what might most reclame,
792Grieving to see his Glorie, at the sight
793Took envie, and aspiring to his highth,
794Stood reimbattell'd fierce, by force or fraud
795Weening to prosper, and at length prevaile
796Against God and Messiah, or to fall
797In universal ruin last, and now
798To final Battel drew, disdaining flight,
799Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God
800To all his Host on either hand thus spake.
801Stand still in bright array ye Saints, here stand
802Ye Angels arm'd, this day from Battel rest;
803Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
804Accepted, fearless in his righteous Cause,
805And as ye have receivd, so have ye don
806Invincibly; but of this cursed crew
807The punishment to other hand belongs,
808Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints;
809Number to this dayes work is not ordain'd
810Nor multitude, stand onely and behold
811Gods indignation on these Godless pourd
812By mee, not you but mee they have despis'd,
813Yet envied; against mee is all thir rage,
814Because the Father, t' whom in Heav'n supream
815Kingdom and Power and Glorie appertains,
816Hath honourd me according to his will.
817Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assig'n'd;
818That they may have thir wish, to trie with mee
819In Battel which the stronger proves, they all,
820Or I alone against them, since by strength
821They measure all, of other excellence
822Not emulous, nor care who them excells;
823Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.
824So spake the Son, and into terrour chang'd
825His count'nance too severe to be beheld
826And full of wrauth bent on his Enemies.
827At once the Four spred out thir Starrie wings
828With dreadful shade contiguous, and the Orbes
829Of his fierce Chariot rowld, as with the sound
830Of torrent Floods, or of a numerous Host.
831Hee on his impious Foes right onward drove,
832Gloomie as Night; under his burning Wheeles
833The stedfast Empyrean shook throughout,
834All but the Throne it self of God. Full soon
835Among them he arriv'd; in his right hand
836Grasping ten thousand Thunders, which he sent
837Before him, such as in thir Soules infix'd
838Plagues; they astonisht all resistance lost,
839All courage; down thir idle weapons drop'd;
840O're Shields and Helmes, and helmed heads he rode
841Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate,
842That wisht the Mountains now might be again
843Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.
844Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
845His arrows, from the fourfold-visag'd Foure,
846Distinct with eyes, and from the living Wheels
847Distinct alike with multitude of eyes,
848One Spirit in them rul'd, and every eye
849Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
850Among th' accurst, that witherd all thir strength,
851And of thir wonted vigour left them draind,
852Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n.
853Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd
854His Thunder in mid Volie, for he meant
855Not to destroy, but root them out of Heav'n:
856The overthrown he rais'd, and as a Heard
857Of Goats or timerous flock together throngd
858Drove them before him Thunder-struck, pursu'd
859With terrors and with furies to the bounds
860And Chrystal wall of Heav'n, which op'ning wide,
861Rowld inward, and a spacious Gap disclos'd
862Into the wastful Deep; the monstrous sight
863Strook them with horror backward, but far worse
864Urg'd them behind; headlong themselves they threw
865Down from the verge of Heav'n, Eternal wrauth
866Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.
867Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, Hell saw
868Heav'n ruining from Heav'n and would have fled
869Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep
870Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
871Nine dayes they fell; confounded Chaos roard,
872And felt tenfold confusion in thir fall
873Through his wilde Anarchie, so huge a rout
874Incumberd him with ruin: Hell at last
875Yawning receavd them whole, and on them clos'd,
876Hell thir fit habitation fraught with fire
877Unquenchable, the house of woe and paine.
878Disburd'nd Heav'n rejoic'd, and soon repaird
879Her mural breach, returning whence it rowld.
880Sole Victor from th' expulsion of his Foes
881Messiah his triumphal Chariot turnd:
882To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood
883Eye witnesses of his Almightie Acts,
884With Jubilie advanc'd; and as they went,
885Shaded with branching Palme, each order bright,
886Sung Triumph, and him sung Victorious King,
887Son, Heir, and Lord, to him Dominion giv'n,
888Worthiest to Reign: he celebrated rode
889Triumphant through mid Heav'n, into the Courts
890And Temple of his migihtie Father Thron'd
891On high: who into Glorie him receav'd,
892Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
893Thus measuring things in Heav'n by things on Earth
894At thy request, and that thou maist beware
895By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd
896What might have else to human Race bin hid;
897The discord which befel, and Warr in Heav'n
898Among th' Angelic Powers, and the deep fall
899Of those too high aspiring, who rebelld
900With Satan, hee who envies now thy state,
901Who now is plotting how he may seduce
902Thee also from obedience, that with him
903Bereavd of happiness thou maist partake
904His punishment, Eternal miserie;
905Which would be all his solace and revenge,
906As a despite don against the most High,
907Thee once to gaine Companion of his woe.
908But list'n not to his Temptations, warne
909Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard
910By terrible Example the reward
911Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,
912Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.

Notes

568] words, he scarce (1667); words he scarce, (1674). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1667
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2002
Rhyme: