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Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were joind
585 When Charlemagne with all his peerage fell By Fontarabia. Thus far these beyond Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed Their dread commander: he, above the rest In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
590 Stood like a tower; his form had not yet lost All her original brightness, nor appear'd Less than archangel ruin'd, and the excess Of glory obscured ; as when the sun, new risen, Looks through the horizontal misty air
595 Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon, In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds On half the nations, and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs. Darken’d so, yet shone Above them all the Arch-angel: but his face 600 Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd, and care Sat on his faded cheek; but under brows Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride Waiting revenge ; cruel his eye, but cast Signs of remorse and passion, to behold
605 The fellows of his crime, the followers rather (Far other once br beld in bliss), condemn'd For ever now to l ave their lot in pain : Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced Of heaven, and from eternal splendours flung 610 For his revolt, vet faithful how they stood, Their glory withier'd : as when Heav'n's fire Hath scatb'i the forest oaks, or mountain pines, 577. Phlegra was a city of Macedonia. 580. Uther's son was King Arthur: this and the following allusions are rerived from the old romances on the subject. Charlemagne is aid not to have died at Fontarabia, but some yean after, and in peace.
609. Amorcea, deprived of. 611. The construction requires a reference to the verb, behold, line 606.
With singed top their stately growth tho' bare
O myriads of immortal Spirits, 0 Powers
640 Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal’d, Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall. Henceforth his might we know, and know our own, So as not either to provoke or dread New war, provoked ; our better part remains 645 To work in close design, by fraud or guile, What force effected not; that he no less At length from us may find, who overcomes By force, hath overcome but half his foe. Space may produce new worlds ; whereof so rife 650 There went a fame in Heav'n that he ere long Intended to create, and therein plant A generation, whom his choice regard Should favour equal to the sons of Heav'n:
633. A third part of the angels is supposed to have fallen. ses Kev. xii. 4.
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
685 Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere : For this infernal pit shall never hold Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor th' abyss Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts Full counsel must mature : Peace is despair'd, 600 For who can think submission ? War then, War, Open or understood, must be resolved.
He spake: and, to confirm his words, out flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty Cherubim : the sudden blaze
665 Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged Against the highest, and fierce with grasped arms Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance tow'rd the vault of Heaven.
There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 670 Belch'd fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign That in his womb was hid metallic ore, The work of sulphur. Thither wing’d with speed A num'rous brigade hastend : as when bands 675 Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe arm’d, Forerun the royal camp to trench a field, Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on; Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell From Heav'n; for e'en in Heav'n his looks and thoughts
680 Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of Heav'n's pavement, trodden gold, Than aught divine or holy else enjoy'd In vision beatific. By him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught, 685 Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands Rified the bowels of their mother earth For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew Open'd into the hill a spacious wound, And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire 690 That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
664. Drawn from the thighs, a Greek and poetical mode of expressing this idea.
673. Womb is here used in the wide sense of the Latin Vterus. 678. Mammon is a Syrian word, and means riches.
684. The miners believe in a sort of Devils who frequent the mines, and sometimes work there
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those
720 Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove In wealth and luxury. Th’ascending pile Stood fix'd her stately height; and straight the doors, Op'ning their brazen folds, discover wide Within her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
725 And level pavement. From the arched roof, Pendant by subtle magic, many a row Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
695. Strength and art are to be construed with monuments in the nominative.
708. A new and beautiful comparison-Milton was a performer on the organ himself.
720. Belus was the son of Nimrod, and the first man wor shipped as a God. He was called Bel, and Baal.
728. Cresset, any great light.
With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded light
745 On Lemnos, th' Ægean isle: thus they relate, Erring; for he with this rebellious rout Fell long before; nor ought avail'd him now T' have built in heav'n high tow'rs; nor did he 'scape By all his engines, but was headlong sent 750 With his industrious crew to build in hell.
Meanwhile, the winged heralds, by command Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim A solemn council, forthwith to be held
755 At Pandemonium, the high capital Of Satan and his peers: their sunimons call’d From every band and squared regiment By place or choice the worthiest: they anon, With hundreds and with thousands, trooping came, Attended : all access was throng'd: the gates 761 And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall (Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold Wont ride in arm'd, and at the soldan's chair Defied the best of Panim chivalry
765 To mortal combat, or career with lance), Thick swarm'd, both on the ground and in the air, Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides,
768. This simile is a imitation of Homer, Il. ii. 87.