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Remain not wherefore should not strength and


There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable?
His puissance, trusting in the' Almighty's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have tried
Unsound and false: nor is it aught but just,
That he, who in debate of truth hath won,
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
Victor; though brutish that contést and foul,
When reason hath to deal with force, yet so
Most reason is that reason overcome.'

"So pondering, and from his armed peers Forth stepping opposite, half-way he met His daring foe, at this prevention more Incensed; and thus securely him defied :

'Proud! art thou met? thy hope was to have
The highth of thy aspiring unopposed, [reach'd
The throne of God unguarded, and his side
Abandon'd, at the terror of thy power
Or potent tongue. Fool! not to think how vain
Against the' Onnipotent to rise in arms;
Who out of smallest things could, without end,
Have raised incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or, with solitary hand,
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow,
Unaided, could have finish'd thee, and whelm'd
Thy legions under darkness: but thou seest
All are not of thy train: there be, who faith
Prefer and piety to God, though then

To thee not visible, when I alone
Seem'd in thy world erroneous to dissent
From all my sect thou seest; now learn too late
How few sometimes may know, when thousands



"Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance,
Thus answered: Ill for thee, but in wish'd hour
Of my revenge, first sought for, thou return'st
From flight, seditious Angel! to receive
Thy merited reward, the first essay

Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue,
Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose
A third part of the gods, in synod met
Their deities to' assert; who, while they feel
Vigor divine within them, can allow
Omnipotence to none. But well thou comest
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
From me some plume, that thy success may show
Destruction to the rest: this pause between,
(Unanswer'd lest thou boast) to let thee know,
At first I thought that liberty and heaven
To heavenly souls had been all one: but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve
Ministering Spirits, train'd up in feast and song!
Such hast thou arm'd, the minstrelsy of heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend; [prove.'
As both their deeds, compared this day, shall
"To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied:
'Apostate! still thou err'st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote.
Unjustly thou depravest it with the name
Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains,
Or Nature: God and Nature bid the same,
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels
Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
To serve the' unwise, or him who hath rebell'd
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee;
Thyself not free, but to thyself enthrall'd ;
Yet lewdly darest our ministering upbraid.

Reign thou in hell, thy kingdom; let me serve
In heaven God ever bless'd; and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd.

Yet chains in hell, not realms, expect: meanwhile
From me return'd, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.'

"So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high; Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight, Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield, Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge

He back recoil'd; the tenth on bended knee
His massy spear upstaid: as if on earth
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way,
Sidelong had push'd a mountain from his seat,
Half sunk with all his pines.
Amazement seized
The rebel thrones, but greater rage, to see
Thus foil'd their mightiest ours joy fill'd, and shout,
Presage of victory, and fierce desire

Of battle: whereat Michaël bid sound [heaven
The' archangel trumpet. Through the vast of
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the HIGHEST: nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamor such as heard in heaven till now
Was never arms on armour clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots raged: dire was the noise
Of conflict: over head the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew;
And, flying, vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rush'd
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 over-ruled,
And limited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem'd
A numerous host: in strength each armed hand
A legion; led in fight, yet leader seem'd
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 seem'd 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 fell'd

Squadrons at once: with huge two-handed sway
Brandish'd 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 dragg'd 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 disturb'd
Heaven's blessed peace, and into nature brought
Misery, uncreated till the crime

Of thy rebellion! how hast thou instill'd
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, wing'd 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 turn'd the least of these

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