Page images






RAPRAEL continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were send

forth to battle against Satan and his angels. The first fight described : Satan and his powers retire under night : he calls a council

, invents devilish engines, which, in the second day's fight, put Michael and his angels to some disorder ; but they at length, pulling up monntains, overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan : yet, the tumult not so ending, God on the third day, sends Messiah his son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory : he, in the power of his Father, coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either siele, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of viis enemies, pursues thein, unable to resist, towards the wall of Heaven; which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion inin the place of punishment prepfired for them in the deep: Meesiad ref:irns with triumph to his Father.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

All night the dreadless angel unpursu'd
l'hrough heav'n's wide champaign held his way; till

Wakd by the circling hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'a the gates of light. There is a cave
Within the mount of God, fast by his throne,
Where light and darkness in perpetual round
Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through

Grateful vicissitude, like day and night;
Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour
To veil the heav'n, though darkness there mign

well Seem twilight here: and now went forth the morn Such as in highest heav'n, array'd in gold Einpyreal; from before her vanish'd nighi, Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright, Chariots and flaming arms, and fiery steeds Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view : War he perceiv'd, war in procinct,* and found Already known, what he for news had thought

[ocr errors]

*" War in procinct " war prepareil, or ready girded.

To have reported : gladly then he mix'd
Aniong those friendly pow'rs, who him receiv'd
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
That of so many myriads fall’n, yet one
Return'd not lost: on to the sacred hill
They led him high applauded, and present
Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice
From midst a golden cloud thus mild was heard :

Servant of God, well done, well hast thou fough
The better fight, who single hast maintain'd
Against revolted multitudes the cause
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms;,
And for the testimony of truth hast borne
Universal reproach, far worse to bear
Than violence; for this was all thy care
To stand approv'd, in sight of God, though worlds
Judg'd thee perverse : the easier conquest now
Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
Back on thy foes more glorious to return
Than scorn'd thou didst depart, and to subdue
By force, who reason for their law refuse,
Right reason for their law, and for their King
Messiah; who by right of merit reigns.
Go Michael of celestial armies prince,
And thou in military prowess next
Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sons
Invincible, lead forth my armed saints
By thousands and by millions rang'd for fight,
Equal in number to that godless crew
Rebellious: them with fire and hostile arms
Fearless assault, and to the brow of heav'n
Pursuing drive them out from God and bliss
Into their place of punishment, the gulf
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
His fiery chaos to receive their fall.

So spake the sov’reign voice, and clouds began To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign Of wrath awak'd; nor with less dread the isud

Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow :
Al which command the powers militant,
That stood for heav'n, n mighty quadrate join'd
Of union irresistable, mov'd on
In silence their bright legions, to the sound
of instrumental harmony, that breath'd
Heroic ardour to advent'rous deeds
Under their godlike leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move
Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill,
Nor strait’ning vale, nor wood, nor stream divides
Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground
Their march was, and the passive air upbore
Their nimble tread; as when the total kind
Of birds, in orderly array on wing,
Came summon'd over Eden to receive
Their names of thee; so over many a tract
Of heav'n they march'd, and many a province wide
Tenfold the length of this terrene: at last
Far in th' horizon to the north appear'd
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretch'd
In battailous aspect, and nearer view
Bristled with upright beams innumerable
or rigid spears, and helmets throng'd, and shields
Various; with boastful argument portray'd,
The banded pow'rs of Satan hasting on
With furious expedition; for they ween’d
That self-same day by fight, or by surprise,
To win the mount of God, and on his throne
To set the envier of his state, the proud
Aspirer, but their thoughts prov'd fund and van
ou 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 sons of one greai sire
Hymning th' eternal Father. but the shoul
of battle now began, and rushing sound
Of onset ended soon each milder thought,

« PreviousContinue »