Page images


Before Him Pow'r Divine His way prepar'd; 780
At His command th' up-rooted hills retir'd
Each to his place, they heard his voice, and went
Obfequious; heav'n his wonted face renew'd,
And with fresh flow'rets hill and valley fmil'd.
This faw His hapless foes, but flood obdur'd,
And to rebellious fight rallied their Pow'rs,
Infenfate! hope conceiving from despair:
In heav'nly spirits could fuch perverseness dwell ?
But, (to convince the proud what figns avail,
Or wonders move th' obdurate to relent!) 790
They harden'd more, by what might most reclaim,
Grieving to see His glory, at the fight
Took envy; and aspiring to His height,
Stood re-embattell'd fierce: by force, or fraud,
Weening to profper, and at length prevail
Against God, and Meffiab; or to fall
In univerfal ruin laft: and now


To final battel drew, difdaining flight,

Or faint retreat; when the Great Son of God,
To all His hofts on either hand, thus fpake.

Stand ftill in bright array, ye Saints! here ftand,
Ye Angels arm'd! this day from battel reft:
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
Accepted, fearless in His righteous caufe:
And as ye have receiv'd, so have ye done,
Invincibly. But, of this curfed crew
The punishment to other hand belongs:
Vengeance is His, or whofe He fole appoints.
Number to this day's work is not ordain'd,



Nor multitude: ftand only, and behold
God's indignation on these godless pour'd
By Me; not you, but Me, they have defpis'd;
Yet envied against Me is all their rage;
Because the Father, (t'Whom in heav'n fupreme
Kingdom, and pow'r, and glory appertains,) 815
Hath honor'd Me, according to His will.
Therefore to Me their doom He hath affign'd:
That they may have their wish, to try with Me
In battel which the stronger proves; they all,
Or I alone against them: fince by strength
They measure all, of other excellence
Not emulous, nor care who them excels;
Nor other ftrife with them do I vouchsafe.


[ocr errors]



So fpake the Son, and into terror chang'd
His count'nance, too fevere 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 rowl'd, as with the found
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous hoft.
He on His impious foes right onward drove,
Gloomy as night: under His burning wheels
The ftedfaft empyrean fhook throughout;
All but the throne it felf of God. Full foon
Among them He arriv'd; in His right hand
Grafping ten thousand thunders, which He fent
Before Him, fuch as in their fouls infix'd
Plagues: they astonish'd, all refiftance loft,
All courage; down their idle weapons dropp'd:..




O'er fhields, and helms, and helmed heads Herode
Of Thrones, and mighty Seraphim proftrate; 841
That wifh'd the mountains now might be again
Thrown on them, as a fhelter from His ire.
Nor lefs on either fide tempeftuous fell

His arrows, from the four-fold-vifag'd Four, 843
Distinct with eyes; and from the living wheels,
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes;

One spirit in them rul'd, and every eye
Glar'd light'ning, and fhot forth pernicious fire
Among th' accurst, that wither'd all their ftrength,
And of their wonted vigor left them drain'd, 851
Exhaufted, fpiritlefs, afflicted, fall'n.

Yet, half His ftrength He put not forth, but check'd
His thunder in mid-volly; for He meant
Not to deftroy, but root them out of heav'n. 855
The overthrown He rais'd, and as a herd
Of goats, or tim'rous flock, together throng'd,
Drove them before Him thunder-ftruck, pursu'd
With terrors, and with furies, to the bounds
And chrystal wall of heav'n; which op'ning wide.
Rowl'd inward, and a spacious gap difclos'd 861
Into the wafteful Deep: the monstrous fight
Struck them with horror backward; but, far worfe
Urg'd them behind: headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of heav'n; eternal wrath⋅ 865
Burn'd after them, to the bottomless pit.
Hell heard th' unfufferable noise; hell faw
Heav'n ruining from heav'n, and would have fied
Affrighted; but strict Fate had caft too deep

[ocr errors]

Her dark foundations, and too faft had bound. 870
Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roar'd,
And felt ten-fold confusion in their fall,

Through his wild anarchy; fo huge a rout
Incumber'd him with ruin! hell at last

Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd:
Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire 876
Un-quenchable, the houfe of woe, and pain.
Dif-burden'd heav'n rejoic'd, and foon repair'd
Her mural breach, returning whence it rowl'd.

Sole victor, from th' expulfion of His foes, 880 Meffiab His triumphal chariot turn'd:

To meet Him all His Saints, who filent stood

Eye-witnesses of His almighty acts,

With jubilee advanc'd; and as they went,
Shaded with branching palm, each Order bright 885
Sung triumph, and Him fung Victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord! to Him dominion giv'n,
Worthiest to reign. He celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid-heav'n, into the courts,
And temple, of His Mighty Father, thron'd
On high: who into glory Him receiv'd,
Where now He fits at the right hand of blifs.
Thus,measuring things in heav'n by things on earth,
At thy request, and that thou may'ft beware
By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd
What might have else to human race been hid;
The difcord which befel, and war in heav'n
Among th' Angelic Pow'rs, and the deep fall
Of thofe too high aspiring, who rebell'd



With Satan: he who envies now thy state;
Who now is plotting how he may feduce
Thee alfo from obedience, that with him
(Bereav'd of happiness) thou may'st partake
His punishment, eternal mifery:

Which would be all his folace, and revenge,
As a despite done against the Most High,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But, liften not to his temptations: warn
Thy weaker: let it profit thee to have heard,
By terrible example, the reward
Of difobedience: firm they might have stood,
Yet fell. Remember! and fear to tranfgrefs!

The end of the fixth Book



« PreviousContinue »