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When he who rules is worthieft, and excels
Them whom he governs. This is fervitude,
To ferve th' unwife, or him who hath rebell'd
Againft his worthier, as thine now ferve thee, 18
Thy felf not free, but to thy felf inthrall'd;
Yet leudly dar'ft our miniftring upbraid.
Reign thou in Hell thy kingdom, let me ferve
In Heav'n Gop ever bleft, and his divine
Behefts obey, worthieft to be obey'd!
Yet chains in Hell, not realms expect: mean while
From me return'd, as erft thou faidft, from flight,
This greeting on thy impious creft receive.


So faying, a noble ftroke he lifted high, Which hung not, but fo fwift with tempeft fall 198 On the proud crest of SATAN, that no fight, Nor motion of swift thought, lefs could his fhield Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge


He back recoil'd; the tenth, on bended knee,
His maffy spear upftaid: as if on earth
Winds under ground, or waters, forcing way,
Sidelong had push'd a mountain from his feat,
Half-funk with all his Pines. Amazement feis'd
The rebel thrones, but greater rage, to fee
Thus foil'd their Mightieft: ours joy fill'd, and fhout,
Prefage of victory and fierce defire
Of battel whereat MICHAEL bid found
The Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vaft of Heav'n
It founded, and the faithful armies rung
Hofanna to the Higheft: nor ftood at gaze
The adverfe legions, nor lefs hideous join'd
The horrid fhock. Now ftorming fury rofe,
And clamor, fuch as heard in Heav'n till now
Was never; arms on armor clashing bray'd
Horrible difcord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots rag'd: dire was the noise
Of conflict! over head the difmal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming vollies flew;


I 4




And flying, vaulted either hoft with fire. So under fiery Cope together rush'd Both Battels main, with ruinous affault And inextinguishable rage: all Heav'n Refounded; and had earth been then, all earth Had to her centre fhook. What wonder? when Millions of fierce encountring Angels fought On either fide, the least of whom could wield These elements, and arm him with the force Of all their regions: how much more of pow'r Army against army, numberless, to raise Dreadful combuftion warring, and disturb, Though not deftroy, their happy native feat! Had not th' Eternal King omnipotent, From his ftrong hold of Heav'n, high over-rul'd And limited their might: though number'd fuch, As each divided legion might have feem'd A numerous hoft; in ftrength, each armed hand, A legion; led in fight, yet leader feem'd Each warrior; fingle, as in chief, expert When to advance, or ftand, or turn the fway Of battle, open when, and when to close The ridges of grim war: no thought of flight, None of retreat, no unbecoming deed That argu'd fear: each on himself rely'd, As only in his arm the moment lay Of victory. Deeds of eternal fame Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread That war, and various: fometimes on firm ground A ftanding fight; then, foaring on main wing, Tormented all the air; all air leem'd then Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale The battle hung; till SATAN, (who that day Prodigious pow'r had fhewn, and met in arms No equal) ranging through the dire attack Of fighting Seraphim confus'd, at length Saw where the fword of MICHAEL fmote, & fell'd Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed fway 254








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