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Already known what he for news had thought
To have reported. Gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly Pow'rs, who him received
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
That of so many myriads fall'n, yet one
Return'd not lost. On to the sacred hill
They led him, high applauded, and present
Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice
From midst a golden cloud thus mild was heard:

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Servant of God, well done! well hast thou fought

The better fight, who singly hast maintain'd
Against revolted multitudes the cause

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Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms;

And for the testimony of truth hast borne

Universal reproach (far worse to bear

Than violence); for this was all thy care

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To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds

Judged thee perverse: the easier conquest now
Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
Back on thy foes more glorious to return
Than scorn'd thou didst depart, and to subdue
By force, who reason for their law refuse,
Right reason for their law, and for their king
Messiah, who by right of merit reigns.
Go Michael, of celestial armies prince,
And thou in military prowess next
Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sons
Invincible, lead forth my armed Saints,

By thousands and by millions ranged for fight
Equal in number to that Godless crew
Rebellious; them with fire and hostile arms
Fearless assault, and to the brow of Heav'n
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss
Into their place of punishment, the gulf
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
His fiery Chaos to receive their fall.

So spake the sov'reign voice, and clouds began

Milton's Poetical Works.

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To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll

In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign

Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud
Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow:
At which command the powers militant

That stood for Heav'n, in mighty quadrate join'd
Of union irresistible, moved on

In silence their bright legions, to the sound
Of instrumental harmony, that breath'd
Heroic ardour to advent'rous deeds
Under their God-like leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move

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Indissolubly firm: nor obvious hill,

Nor strait'ning vale, nor wood, nor stream divides

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Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground

Their march was, and the passive air upbore

Their nimble tread. As when the total kind
Of birds, in orderly array on wing,

Came summon'd over Eden, to receive

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Their names of thee; so over many a tract

Of Heav'n they march'd, and many a province wide

Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last,

Far in th' horizon to the north appear'd

From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretch'd

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In battailous aspéct, and nearer view

Bristled with upright beams innumerable

Of rigid spears, and helmets throng'd, and shields
Various, with boastful argument portray'd,
The banded Pow'rs of Satan hasting on

With furious expedition; for they ween'd
That self-same day by fight, or by surprise,
To win the mount of God, and on his throne
To set the envier of his state, the proud
Aspirer, but their thoughts proved fond and vain
In the mid-way: though strange to us it seem'd
At first, that Angel should with Angel war,
And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet

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So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimous, as sons of one great sire
Hymning th' Eternal Father; but the shout
Of battle now began, and rushing sound
Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
High in the midst exalted as a God,

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Th' Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, inclosed

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With flaming Cherubim and golden shields;

Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now

'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left

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(A dreadful interval), and front to front
Presented, stood in terrible array,

Of hideous length. Before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it join'd,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced,
Came tow'ring, arm'd in adamant and gold:
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores;

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His puissance, trusting in th' Almighty's aid,

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I mean to try, whose reason I have try'd
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 defy'd:

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Proud, art thou met? Thy hope was to have reach'd
The height of thy aspiring unopposed,

The throne of God unguarded, and his side
Abandon'd at the terror of thy pow'r

Or potent tongue: fool! not to think how vain
Against th' Omnipotent to rise in arms!

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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,

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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 err.
Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance,

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Thus answer'd: Ill for thee, but in wish'd hour

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Of my revenge, first sought for thou return'st

From flight, seditious Angel, to receive

Thy merited reward, the first assay

Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue,

Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose

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A third part of the Gods, in synod met

Their deities to assert, who while they feel
Vigour divine within them, can allow

Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st

Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

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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 Heav'n
To heav'nly souls had been all one; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Minist'ring Spirits, train'd up in feast and song:

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Such hast thou arm'd, the minstrelsy of Heav'n,
Servility with freedom to contend,

As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.
To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern reply'd:
Apostate, still thou err'st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote.
Unjustly thou deprav'st 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 th' 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 dar'st our minist'ring upbraid.
Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me serve
In Heav'n God ever blest, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd;

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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,

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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 upstay'd, 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

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Of battle; whereat Michael bid sound

Th' Arch-Angel trumpet: through the vast of Heav'n
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung

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