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Uplifting, bore them in their hands. Amaze,
Be sure, and terror, seized the rebel host,
When coming towards them so dread they saw
The bottom of the mountains upward turned,
Till on those cursed engines' triple row
They saw them whelmed, and all their confidence
Under the weight of mountains buried deep;
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads
Main promontories flung, which in the air
Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed.
Their armour helped their harm, crushed in and bruised,
Into their substance pent—which wrought them pain
Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,
Long struggling 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 arms
Betook them, and the neighbouring hills uptore;
So hills amid the air encountered hills,
Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire,
That under ground they fought in dismal shade :
Infernal noise ! war seemed a civil game
To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped
Upon confusion rose. And now all Heaven
Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread,
Had not the Almighty Father, where He sits
Shrined in His sanctuary of Heaven secure,
Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
This tumult, and permitted all, advised,
That His great purpose He might so fulfil,
To honour His Anointed Son, avenged
Upon His enemies, and to declare
All power on Him transferred. Whence to His Son,
The Assessor of His throne, He thus began :-
“Effulgence of My glory, Son beloved,
Son in whose Face invisible is beheld
Visibly, what by Deity I am,
And in whose Hand what by decree I do,
Second Omnipotence! two days are past,
Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven,
Since Michael and his powers went forth to tame
These disobedient. Sore hath been their fight,
As likeliest was when two such foes met armed :
For to themselves I left them; and Thou know'st
Equal in their creation they were formed,
Save what sin hath impaired—which yet hath wrought
Insensibly, for I suspend their doom :
Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last
Endless, and no solution will be found.
War wearied hath performed what war can do,
And to disordered rage let loose the reins,
With mountains, as with weapons, armed; which makes
Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main.
Two days are, therefore, past; the third is Thine:
For Thee I have ordained it, and thus far
Have suffered, that the glory may be Thine
Of ending this great war, since none but Thou
Can end it. Into Thee such virtue and grace
Immense I have transfused, that all may know
In Heaven and Hell Thy power above compare,
And this perverse commotion governed 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 Father's might;
Ascend My chariot : guide the rapid wheels
That shake Heaven's basis; bring forth all My war;
My bow and thunder, My almighty arms
Gird on, and sword upon Thy puissant thigh;
Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out
From all Heaven's 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 rays direct
Shone full: He all His Father full expressed
720 Ineffably into His face received ; And thus the filial Godhead answering spake :
“O Father, O Supreme of heavenly thrones,
First, Highest, Holiest, Best, Thou always seek'st
To glorify Thy Son; I always Thee,
As is most just. This I My glory account,
My exaltation, and My whole delight,
That Thou in Me, well pleased, declarest Thy will
Fulfilled, which to fulfil is all My bliss.
Sceptre 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 Me all whom Thou lov'st.
But whom Thou hatest I hate, and can put on
Thy terrors, as I put Thy mildness on,
Image of Thee in all things: and shall soon,
Armed with Thy might, rid Heaven of these rebelled,
To their prepared ill mansion driven down,
To chains of darkness and the undying worm,
That from Thy just obedience could revolt,
740 Whom to obey is happiness entire. Then shall Thy saints, unmixed, and from the impure Far separate, circling Thy holy mount, Unfeigned halleluiahs to Thee sing, Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.'
“So said, He, o'er His sceptre bowing, rose From the right hand of glory where He sat; And the third sacred morn began to shine, Dawning through Heaven. Forth rushed with whirlwind
sound The chariot of paternal Deity,
750 Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn, Itself instinct with spirit, but convoyed By four cherubic shapes. Four faces each Had wondrous; as with stars, their bodies all And wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheels
Of beryl, and careering fires between;
Over their heads a crystal firmament,
Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure
Amber and colours of the showery arch.
He, in celestial panoply all armed
Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,
Ascended ; at His right hand Victory
Sat, eagle-winged; beside Him hung His bow,
And quiver, with three-bolted thunder stored ;
And from about Him fierce effusion rolled
Of smoke and bickering flame and sparkles dire.
Attended with ten thousand thousand saints,
He onward came; far off His coming shone;
And twenty thousand (I their number heard)
Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen.
He on the wings of cherub rode sublime
On the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned-
Illustrious far and wide, but by His own
First seen. Them unexpected joy surprised
When the great ensign of Messiah blazed
Aloft, by angels borne, His sign in Heaven;
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduced
His army, circumfused on either wing,
Under their Head embodied all in one.
Before Him power divine His way prepared ;
At His command the uprooted hills retired
Each to his place; they heard His voice, and went
Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renewed,
And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smiled.
“This saw His hapless foes, but stood obdured,
And to rebellious fight rallied their powers,
Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.
In Heavenly spirits could such perverseness dwell ?
But to convince the proud what signs avail,
Or wonders move the obdurate to relent?
They, hardened more by what might most reclaim,
Grieving to see His glory, at the sight
Took envy, and, aspiring to His height,
Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail
Against God and Messiah, or to fall
In universal ruin last; and now
To final battle 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 armed; this day from battle rest.
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
Accepted, fearless in His righteous cause;
And, as ye have received, so have ye done,
Invincibly. But of this cursed crew
The punishment to other hand belongs ;
Vengeance is His, or whose He sole appoints.
Number to this day's work is not ordained.
Nor multitude ; stand only and behold
810 God's indignation on these godless poured By Me. Not you, but Me, they have despised, Yet envied ; against Me is all their rage, Because the Father, to whom in Heaven supreme Kingdom and power and glory appertains, Hath honoured Me, according to His will. Therefore to Me their doom He hath assigned, That they may have their wish, to try with Me In battle 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 excels;
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.'
“So spake the Son, and into terror changed
His countenance, too severe to be beheld,
And full of wrath bent on His enemies.
At once the Four spread out their starry wings
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs
Of His fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound