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Stood scoffing, heighten'd in their thoughts beyond All doubt of victory; Eternal Might
To match with their inventions they presum'd
So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn,
And all his host derided, while they stood
A while in trouble; but they stood not long;
Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms
Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
Forthwith, (behold the excellence, the power
Which God hath in his mighty angels plac'd!)
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills,
(For earth hath this variety from heaven
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale,)
Light as the light'ning glimpse they ran, they flew;
From their foundations loos'ning to and fro
They pluck'd the seated hills with all their load,
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
Up lifting bore them in their hands.
Be sure, and terror seiz'd the rebel host,
When coming towards them so dread they saw
The bottom of the mountains upward turn'd;
Till on those cursed engines triple-row
They saw them whelm'd, and all their confidence
Under the weight of mountains buried deep;
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads
642 light'ning] See Nonni Dionysiaca, ii. 293, xiv. 55.
644 pluck'd] Compare Statii Theb. ii. 559.
'Saxum ingens, quod vix plena cervice gementes
Vertere humo, murisque valent inferre juvenci,
Rupibus avellit: dein toto sanguine nixus
Main promontories flung, which in the air
Came shadowing, and opprest whole legions arm'd;
Their armour help'd their harm, crush'd in and bruis'd
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, 6060
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 encounter'd hills,
Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire,
That under ground they fought in dismal shade;
Infernal noise! war seem'd a civil game
To this uproar; horrid confusion heap'd
Upon confusion rose and now all heav'n
Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread,
Had not th' Almighty Father, where he sits
Shrin'd in his sanctuary of heaven secure,
Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
This tumult, and permitted all, advis'd:
That his great purpose he might so fulfil,
To honour his anointed Son aveng'd
Upon his enemies, and to declare
All power on him transferr'd: whence to his Son
Th' assessor of his throne he thus began.
Effulgence of my glory, Son belov'd,
Son in whose face invisible is beheld
674 advis'd] A participle adverbial, and very elegant; it means advisedly, as Hor. Ode I. iii. 21. Richardson.
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 arm'd;
For to themselves I left them, and thou know'st,
Equal in their creation they were form'd,
Save what sin hath impair'd, 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 perform'd what war can do, 695 And to disorder'd rage let loose the reins,
With mountains as with weapons arm'd, which makes
Wild work in heaven and dangerous to the main.
Two days are therefore past, the third is thine;
For thee I have ordain'd it, and thus far
Have suffer'd, 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 transfus'd, that all may know
In heaven and hell thy power above compare,
And this perverse commotion govern'd 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, 710 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 exprest
Ineffably into his face receiv'd;
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 pleas'd declar'st thy will
Fulfill'd, which to fulfill 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 hat'st, I hate, and can put on
Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,
Arm'd with thy might, rid heaven of these rebell'd,
To their prepar'd ill mansion driven down
To chains of darkness and th' undying worm;
That from thy just obedience could revolt,
Whom to obey is happiness entire.
Then shall thy saints unmix'd, and from th' impure Far separate, circling thy holy mount
Unfained hallelujahs to thee sing,
Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief. 745
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 rush'd with whirl-
The chariot of paternal Deity,
Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn, Itself instinct with spirit, but convoy'd
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 beril, and careering fires between ;
Over their heads a crystal firmament,
Whereon a saphire throne, inlaid with pure
Amber, and colours of the show'ry arch.
He, in celestial panoply all arm'd
Of radiant Urim work divinely wrought,
Ascended; at his right hand Victory
Sate eagle-wing'd; beside him hung his bow
And quiver with three-bolted thunder stor'd,
And from about him fierce effusion roll'd
Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire.
758 Whereon] Fenton reads 'Where, on.' Todd.
759 show'ry arch] A. Ramsæi, P. Sacr. ed. Lauder, 1. 5.
'Cœlo sicut Thaumantias udo,
Cum picturatum dat mille coloribus arcun.'