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Aspirer : but their thoughts prov'd fond, and vain, 90
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
So oft in festivals of joy, and love
Unanimous, as fons of one Great Sire,

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Hymning th'Eternal Father: but, the shout
Of battel now began, and rushing sound
Of on-set, ended soon each milder thought.
High in the midst, exalted as a God,
Th’apostate in his sun-bright chariot lat,
Idol of majesty divine! inclos'd
With flaming Cherubim, and golden shields :
Then, lighted from his gorgeous throne, (for now
'Twixt host and hoft but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval! and, front to front

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Presented, stood in terrible array,
Of hideous length) before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battel e'er it join'd,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanc'd,
Came tow'ring, arm’d in adamant, and gold:
Abdiel that sight indur'd not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds;
And thus his own undaunted heart explores.

O heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest
Should yet remain; where faith, and realty, 115
Remain not:wherefore should not strength,and miglat,
There fail, where virtue fails; or weakest prove,
Where boldest? Though to fight unconquerable,
His puissance (trusting in th’Almighty's aid!)

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I mean to try ; whose reason I have try'd,
Unfound, and false: nor is it ought but just,
That he who in debate of truth hath won,
Should win in arms; in both difputes alike
Victor : though brutish that conteft, and foul,
When reason hath to deal with force: yet fo 125
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
Incens’d, and thus fecurely him defy'd.

130 Proud, art thou met ? thy hope was to have reachd The height of thy aspiring un-oppos'd, The throne of God unguarded, and his fide Abandon'd, at the terror of thy pow'r, Or potent tongue: fool! not to think how vain 135 Against th' Omnipotent to rife in arms : Who out of Imallest things, could, without end, Have rais'd incessant armies, to defeat Thy folly; or with folitary hand, Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow,

140 Un-aided, 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

145 Seem'd in thy world erroneous to diffent From all: my Sect thou feest; now learn too late How few sometimes may know, when thousands err.

Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance,

Thus answer'd. Ill for thee, but in with d hour 150
Of my revenge, first fought for, thou return'st
From fight, feditious Angel! to receive
Thy merited reward, the first assay
Of this right hand provok’d, since first that tongue,
Inspir'd with contradiction, durft oppose 155
A third part of the Gods, in fynod met
Their Deities t'affert: who, while they feel
Vigor divine within them, can allow
Omnipotence to none. But, well thou com'ft
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

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From me fome plume; that thy success may now
Destruction to the rest: this pause between,
(Un-answer'd left thou boast) to let thee know,
At first I thought that liberty, and heav'n,
To heav'nly fouls had been all one; but now 165
I see that most through noth had rather serve,
Miniftring spirits, train'd up in feast, and song !
Such haft thou arm’d, the minstrelsy of heav'n,
Servility with freedom to contend,

169 As both their deeds compar'd this day shall provs.

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern reply'd. Apoftate! still thou err'ft, nor end wilt find Of erring, from the path of truth remote : Unjustly thou deprav'ft it with the name Of Servitude, to serve whom God ordains, 175 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 rebellid

Against his worthier, as Thine now serve Thee, 180
Thy self not free, but to thy self inthralld;
Yet leudly dar'ft our ministring upbraid.
Reign thou in hell, thy kingdom; let me serve
In heav'n God ever bleft, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd ! 185
Yet chains in hell, not realms, expect: mean-while
From me return'd, as erst thou faidst, 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 190
On the proud crest of Satan, that no fight,
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 mally spear up-staid : as if on earth 195
| Winds under ground, or waters, forcing way,
Side-long had puth'd a mountain from his feat,
Half-sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd
The rebel thrones, but greater rage to see 199
Thus foild their Mightiest: ours joy fill’d, and thout,
Presage of victory, and fierce defire
Of battel: whereat Michael bid found
Th’ Arch-angel trumpet; thro' the Vaft of heav'n
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the Highest : nor stood at gaze 205
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid Thock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamor, such as heard in heav'n till now
Was never; arms on armor clashing bray'd

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Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots rag'd: dire was the noise
Of conflict . over head the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in fiaming vollies flew;
And flying, vaulted either host with fire.
So, under fiery Cope together rush'd

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Both battels main, with ruinous assault,
And in-extinguishable rage: all heav'n
Resounded; and had earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder? when
Millions of fierce encountring 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 pow'r
Army against Army, numberless, to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb, 225
Though not destroy, their happy native seat!
Had not th’Eternal King Omnipotent,
From His strong hold of heav'n, high over-ruld
And limited their might : though number d such,
As each divided legion might have seem’d 230
A numerous hest; in strength, each armed hand,
A legion ; led in fight, yet Leader seein'd
Each warrior; single, as in chief, expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
Of battel, open when, and when to close 235
The ridges of grim war: no thought of fight,
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argu'd fear: each on himself rely'd,
As only in his arm the moment lay

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