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Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise
Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew,
And, flying, vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rushed
Both battles main with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage. All Heaven
Resounded; and, had Earth been then, all Earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder, when
Millions of fierce encountering Angels fought
On either side, the least of whom could wield
These elements, and arm him with the force
Of all their regions? How much more of power
Army against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent
From his strong hold of Heaven high overruled
And limited their might, though numbered such
As each divided legion might have seemed

A numerous host, in strength each armed hand
A legion! Led in fight, yet leader seemed
Each warrior single as in chief; expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
Of battle, open when, and when to close
The ridges of grim war. No thought of flight,
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argued fear; each on himself relied
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 sometimes on firm ground

A standing fight; then, soaring on main wing,
Tormented all the air; all air seemed then
Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale
The battle hung; till Satan, who that day
Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms
No equal, ranging through the dire attack
Of fighting Seraphim confused, at length

Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felled
Squadrons at once: with huge two-handed sway
Brandished aloft, the horrid edge came down
Wide-wasting. Such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and opposed the rocky orb
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,
A vast circumference. At his approach
The great Archangel from his warlike toil





Surceased, and, glad, as hoping here to end
Intestine war in Heaven, the Arch-foe subdued,
Or captive dragged in chains, with hostile frown
And visage all inflamed, first thus began:-

"Author of Evil, unknown till thy revolt,
Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou seest
These acts of hateful strife-hateful to all,
Though heaviest, by just measure, on thyself
And thy adherents-how hast thou disturbed
Heaven's blessed peace, and into Nature brought
Misery, uncreated till the crime


Of thy rebellion! how hast thou instilled
Thy malice into thousands, once upright


And faithful, now proved false! But think not here

To trouble holy rest; Heaven casts thee out

From all her confines; Heaven, the seat of bliss,
Brooks not the works of violence and war.
Hence, then, and Evil go with thee along,
Thy offspring, to the place of Evil, Hell-

Thou and thy wicked crew! there mingle broils!
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom,

Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God,
Precipitate thee with augmented pain.'

"So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus

The Adversary:-'Nor think thou with wind

Of airy threats to awe whom yet with deeds

Thou canst not. Hast thou turned the least of these
To flight-or, if to fall, but that they rise
Unvanquished-easier to transact with me

That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats
To chase 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,
Or turn this Heaven itself into the Hell
Thou fablest; here, however, to dwell free,
If not to reign. Meanwhile, thy utmost force-
And join him named Almighty to thy aid-

I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.'

"They ended parle, and both addressed 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 seemed,
Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms,
Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven.
Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air


Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields
Blazed opposite, while Expectation stood

In horror; from each hand with speed retired,
Where erst was thickest fight, the Angelic throng,
And left large field, unsafe within the wind
Of such commotion: such as (to set forth
Great things by small) if, Nature's concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planets, rushing from aspéct malign
Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky

Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound.
Together both, with next to almighty arm
Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aimed
That might determine, and not need repeat
As not of power, at once; nor odds appeared
In might or swift prevention. But the sword
Of Michael from the armoury of God
Was given him tempered 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 stayed,
But, with swift wheel reverse, deep entering, shared
All his right side. Then Satan first knew pain,
And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore

The griding sword with discontinuous wound



Passed through him. But the ethereal substance closed, 330
Not long divisible; and from the gash

A stream of nectarous humour issuing flowed
Sanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed,
And all his armour stained, erewhile so bright,
Forthwith, on all sides, to his aid was run
By Angels many and strong, who interposed
Defence, while others bore him on their shields
Back to his chariot where it stood retired
From off the files of war there they him laid
Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame
To find himself not matchless, and his pride
Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath
His confidence to equal God in power.

Yet soon he healed; for Spirits, that live throughout
Vital in every part-not, as frail Man,

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,
All intellect, all sense; and as they please



They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size
Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.
"Meanwhile, in other parts, like deeds deserved
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,
And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array
Of Moloch, furious king, who him defied,
And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound
Threatened, nor from the Holy One of Heaven
Refrained his tongue blasphemous, but anon,
Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms
And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing
Uriel and Raphaël his vaunting foe,

Though huge and in a rock of diamond armed,
Vanquished-Adramelech and Asmadai,

Two potent Thrones, that to be less than Gods

Disdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their flight,
Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail.
Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy

The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow
Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence

Of Ramiel, scorched and blasted, overthrew.
I might relate of thousands, and their names
Eternize here on Earth; but those elect
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven,
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
Cancelled from Heaven and sacred memory,
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell

For strength from truth divided, and from just,
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise
And ignominy, yet to glory aspires,

Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame:
Therefore eternal silence be their doom!

“And now, their mightiest quelled, the battle swerved,

With many an inroad gored; deformed rout

Entered, and foul disorder; all the ground
With shivered armour strown, and on a heap
Chariot and charioter lay overturned,

And fiery foaming steeds; what stood recoiled,
O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanic host,
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised-
Then first with fear surprised and sense of pain--
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought

By sin of disobedience, till that hour
Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain.
Far otherwise the inviolable Saints





In cubic phalanx firm advanced entire,
Invulnerable, impenetrably armed;

Such high advantages their innocence

Gave them above their foes-not to have sinned,

Not to have disobeyed; in fight they stood

Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pained

By wound, though from their place by violence moved. "Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven

Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed,

And silence on the odious din of war.

Under her cloudy covert both retired,

Victor and vanquished. On the foughten field
Michaël and his Angels, prevalent

Encamping, placed in guard their watches round,
Cherubic waving fires on the other part,
Satan with his rebellious disappeared,

Far in the dark dislodged, and, void of rest,
His potentates to council called by night,
And in the midst thus undismayed began :-

66 6

"O now in danger tried, now known in arms
Not to be overpowered, companions dear,
Found worthy not of liberty alone-

Too mean pretence-but, what we more affect,
Honour, dominion, glory, and renown;
Who have sustained one day in doubtful fight
(And, if one day, why not eternal days?)
What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send
Against us from about his throne, and judged
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 armed,





Some disadvantage we endured, and pain—

Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemned;

Since now we find this our empyreal form

Incapable of mortal injury,

Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound,
Soon closing, and by native vigour healed.
Of evil, then, so small as easy think


The remedy perhaps more valid arms,
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 superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose.'


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