Page images

Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds : $46
At which the universal hoft up sent
A fout that tore hell's concave; and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
All in a moment thro' the gloom were seen
Ten thoufand banners rise into the air,

With orient Colours waving: with them rose
A forest huge of fpears; and thronging helms
Appear'd, and serried shields in thick array,
Of depth immeasurable: anon they move
In perfect Phalanx, to the Dorian mood

550 Of Autes, and soft recorders; such as rais'd To height of nobleft temper Heroes old Arming to battel; and instead of rage, Deliberate valor breath'd, firm, and unmov'd With dread of death to flight, or foul retreat; 555 Nor wanting pow'r to mitigate and swage, With solemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chase Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and forrow, and pain, From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they Breathing united force, with fixed thought 560 Mov'd on in filence to soft pipes, that charm'd Their painful steps o'er the burnt foil: and now Advanc'd in view, they ftand, a horrid front Of dreadful length, and dazling arms, in guise Of warriors old with order'd spear and fhield, 565 Awaiting what command their mighty Chief Had to impose: he thro' the armed files Darts his experienc'd eye, and soon traverse The whole battalion views their order due ;


Their visages and stature as of Gods;

570 Their number last he sums. And now his heart Diftends with pride, and hard’ning in his strength Glories : for never since created, man Met such imbodied force, as nam'd with these Could merit more than that small infantry 575 Warr’d on by cranes; tho' all the Giant brood Of Pblegra with th' Heroic race were join'd, That fought at Thebes and Ilium on each side, Mix'd with auxiliar Gods: and what resounds In fable or romance of Utber's son, Begirt with British and Armoric Knights; And all who since, baptiz’d or infidel, Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban, Damasco, or Morocco, or Trebisord; Or whom Biserta sent from Afric Thoar, 585 When Charlemain with all his Peerage fell By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd Their dread commander : he, above the rest In shape and gesture proudly eminent,

590 Stood like a tow'r: his form had yet not lost All her original brightness, nor appear'd Less than Arch-Angel ruin'd, and th’excess Of glory obscur'd: as when the sun new-ris'n Looks thro’ the horizontal misty air,

595 Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon, In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight Theds On half the nations, and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs; darken’d so, yet thong

Above them all th’Arch-Angel: but his face

600 Deep scars of thunder had intrench’d, and care Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows Of dauntless courage, and confid’rate pride Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but caft Signs of remorse and passion, to behold

605 The fellows of his crime, the followers rather, (Far other once beheld in bliss!) condemn'd For ever now to have their lot in pain; Millions of spirits, for his fault amerc'd Of heav'n, and from eternal splendors Aung 610 For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood, Their glory wither'd : as when heaven's fire Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines, With finged top their stately growth, tho' bare, Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepar'd 615 To speak, whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half inclose him round With all his Peers : attention held them mute: Thrice he affay'd, and thrice in spight of scorn, Tears such as Angels weep, burst forth; at last 620 Words interwove with sighs found out their way.

O myriads of immortal spirits ! O Pow'rs Matchless, but with th' Almighty, and that strife Was not inglorious, tho’ th’event was dire, As this place testifies, and this dire change, Hateful to utter: but what pow'r of mind, Foreseeing, or presaging, from the depth Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd, How such united force of Gods, how such



As stood like these, could ever know repulse? 630
For who can yet believe, tho' after loss,
That all these puissant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied heav'n, shall fail to re-ascend,
Self-rais'd, and re-possess their native seat?
For me be witness all the host of heav'n,
If counsels different, or danger fhun'd
By me, have lost our hopes : but he who reigns
Monarch in heav'n, till then as one secure
Sate on His throne, upheld by old repute,
Consent, or custom, and his regal state 640
Put forth at full, but still His strength conceald,
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
Henceforth His might we know, and know our own ;
So as not either to provoke, or dread
New war, provok'd. Our better part remains 645
To work in close defign, by fraud or guile,
What force effected not: that He no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes
By force, hath overcome byt half his foe.
Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife 650
There went a fame in heav'n, that He ere-long
Intended to create; and therein plant
A generation, whom His choice regard
Should favor equal to the sons of heav'n:
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:
For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celeftial spirits in bondage, nor th' Abyss
Long under darkness cover. ----- But these thoughts




Full counsel must mature: Peace is despair'd, 660 For who can think submission? War then, war Open or understood must be resolv'd.

He spake: and to confirm his words out-flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty Cherubim: the sudden blaze Far round illumin'd Hell; highly they rag'd Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms Clash'd on their founding Thields the din of war, Hurling defiance toward the vault of heav'n. There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top

670 Belch'd fire and rowling smoke; the rest entire, Shone with a glossy scurf; (undoubted lign That in his womb was hid metallick ore, The work of sulphur) thither wing'd with speed A numerous brigad haften'd: as when bands Of pioneers, with spade and pickax arm'd, Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field, Or cast a Rampart: Mammon led them on, Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell From heav'n:for ev'nin heav'n his looks and thoughts, Were always downward bent; admiring more 681 The riches of heav'n's pavement, trodden gold, Than ought divine or holy else, enjoy'd In vision beatific: by him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught, Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands Rifled the bowels of their mother earth For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew Open'd into the hill a spacious wound,




« PreviousContinue »