Page images
PDF
EPUB

As Gods, and by their own recover'd strength; 240 Not by the suff’rance of supernal pow'r.

Is this the region, this the soil, the clime, (Said then the lost Arch-Angel) this the seat, That we must change for heav'n? this mournfulgloom For that coelestial light be it so! since He 245 Who now is Sov’reign can dispose, and bid What shall be right: farthest from Him is best, Whom reason hath equall'd, force hath made supreme Above his equals. Farewel happy fields, Where joy for ever dwells! hail horrors ! hail 250 Infernal world! and thou profoundest hell Receive thy new possessor! One, who brings A mind not to be chang'd by place or time. The mind is its own place, and in it felf Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n. 255 What matter where, if I be still the same, And what I should be, all but less than He Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built Here for His envy; will not drive us hence: 260 Here we may reign secure; and in my choice To reign is worth ambition, tho' in hell : Better to reign in hell, than serve in heav'n. But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, Th'associates and copartners of our loss, 265 Lye thus astonish'd on th'oblivious pool, And call them not to share with us their part In this unhappy mansion: or once more With rallied arms to try, what may be yet

Regain'd in heav'n, or what more loft in hell? 270

So Satan spake, and him Beelzebub
Thus answer'd : Leader of those armies bright,
Which but th’Omnipotent none could have foil'd !
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft 275
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battel when it rag'd, in all asfaults
Their fureft signal, they will soon resume
New courage, and revive, tho' now they lye
Grov'ling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, 280
(As we erewhile,) astounded and amaz’d;
No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious height!

He scarce had ceas'd, when the superior fiend
Was moving tow'rd the shore : his pond'rous shield,
Ethereal temper, massie, large and round,
Behind him caft; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the Moon, whose orb
Thro' optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At ev’ning, from the top of Fesok,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,

290
Rivers, or mountains, on her spotty globe.
His spear, (to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great Ammiral, were but a wand)
He walk'd with, to support uneasie steps
Over the burning marle (not like those steps 295
On heaven's azure !) and the torrid clime
Smote on him fore besides, vaulted with fire.
Nathless he so indur'd; till on the beach

285

[ocr errors][merged small]

310

Of that inflamed fea he food, and callid 300
His legions, Angel-forms, who lay intrans'd,
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where th'Etrurian shades,
High over-arch'd imbow'r; or scatter'd sedge
Anoat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd

305
Hath vex'd the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
Bufiris, and his Mempbian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursu'd
The sojourners of Gofhen, who beheld
From the safe shoar their floating carcases,
And broken chariot wheels: fo thick beftrown,
Abject and loft lay these, covering the food,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He call’d fo loud, that all the hollow Deep
Of hell resounded : Princes, Potentates, 315
Warriors, the flow'r of heav'n! once yours, now loft,
If such astonishment as this can feize
Eternal spirits: or have ye chos'n this place
After the toil of battel to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To sumber here, as in the vales of heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
T'adore the conqueror? who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rowling in the flood,
With scatter'd arms and ensigns; till anon 325
His swift pursuers from heav'n-gates discern
Th’advantage, and descending tread us down
Thus drooping; or with linked thunder-bolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this Gulph,

320

Awake, arise, or be for ever fall’n !

330 They heard, and were abalh'd, and up they sprung Upon the wing; as when men wont to watch On duty, Neeping found by whom they dread, Rouze and bestir themselves ere well awake. Nor did they not perceive the evil plight 335 In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel; Yet to their General's voice they soon obey'd, Innumerable! As when the potent Rod Of Amram's son, in Ægypt's evil day, Wav'd round the coast, up call’d a pitchy cloud 340 Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind, That o'er the realm of impious Pbaraoh hung Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nile : So numberless were those bad Angels, seen Hov’ring on wing under the cope of hell, 345 'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires: Till, as a signal giv'n, th’up-lifted spear Of their great Sultan waving to direct Their course, in even ballance down they light On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain : 330 A multitude! like which the populous north Pour'd never from her frozen loins, to pass Rbene or the Danaw, when her barbarous fons Came like a deluge on the south, and spread Beneath Gibralter to the Libyan sands. 355 Forthwith from ev'ry squadron, and each band, The Heads and Leaders thither hafte where stood Their great Commander ; God-like shapes and forms: Excelling human, Princely Dignities,

And Pow'rs! that earst in heaven fat on thrones;
Tho' of their names in heav'nly records now 361
Be no memorial ; blotted out and ras'd,
By their rebellion, from the books of life.
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve 364
Got them new names ; 'till wand'ring o'er the earth,
Thro' God's high sufferance for the tryal of man,
By falsities and lies the greatest part
Of mankind they corrupted, to forsake
God their Creator, and th’invisible
Glory of Him that made them, to transform 370
Oft to the image of a brute, adorn'd
With gay religions full of pomp and gold,
And Devils to adore for Deities :
Then were they known to men by various names,
And various idols thro' the heathen world.

375
Say, Muse, their names then known; who first, who
Rouz'd from the Alumber, on that fiery couch, [last,
At their great Emperor's call, as next in worth
Came fingly where he ftood, on the bare strand,
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof? 380
The chief were those who, from the pit of hell
Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durft fix
Their seats long after next the seat of God,
Their altars by His altar, Gods ador'd
Among the nations round, and durft abide

385 Jebovab thund'ring out of Sion, thron’d Between the Cherubim; yea, often plac'd Within His fanctu’ry it self their shrines, Abominations ! and with cursed things

« PreviousContinue »