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They measure all, of other excellence
Not emulous, nor care who them excels
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.
So spake the Son, and into terror chang'd
His count'nance, too severe to be beheld
And full of wrath bent on his enemies.
At once the Four spread out their starry wings
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs
Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host.
He on his impious foes right onward drove,
Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels
The steadfast empyrean shook throughout,
All but the throne itself of GOD. Full soon
Among them he arriv'd, in his right hand
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent
Before him, such as in their souls infix'd
Plagues they astonish'd all resistance lost,
All courage; down their idle weapons dropp'd;
O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode
Of thrones and mighty seraphim prostrate,
That wish'd the mountains now might be again
Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
His arrows, from the fourfold visag'd Four,
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels
841 prostrate] Fairfax and Spenser accent this word on the last syllable. v. Tasso, c. i. 83;
'And lay his powers prostráte.' F. Qu. xii. 39.
'Before fair Britomart she fell prostráte.' Newton.
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes;
One spirit in them rul'd, and every eye
Glar'd light'ning, and shot forth pernicious fire
Among th' accurst, that wither'd all their strength,
And of their wonted vigour left them drain'd,
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n.
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd
His thunder in mid volly, for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of heaven.
The overthrown he rais'd, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together throng'd
Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursu'd
With terrors and with furies to the bounds
And crystal wall of heaven; which op'ning wide 860
Roll'd inward, and a spacious gap disclos'd
Into the wasteful deep; the monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward; but far worse
Urg'd them behind; headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of heaven; eternal wrath
Burn'd after them to the bottomless pit.
Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, hell saw
Heaven ruining from heaven, and would have fled
858 thunder] See Beaumont's Psyche, c. xx. st. 102.
'Down plung'd this mixed rout which almost split
The greedy throat of the sulphureous deep,
Loud was the noise of this great fall, but yet
Far louder was their crie, who down the steep
Eternal precipice still tumbled, and
No bottom saw, to bid their ruine stand.'
"Gli alberi intorno ruinando atterra.' Thyer.
868 ruining] Falling down with ruin, from the Italian ruinando.
v. Tasso's Gier. Lib. ix. 39.
Affrighted; but strict fate had cast too deep
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roar'd,
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall
Through his wild anarchy; so huge a rout
Incumber'd him with ruin: hell at last
Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd;
Hell their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.
Disburden'd heav'n rejoic'd, and soon repair'd
Her mural breach, returning whence it roll'd.
Sole victor from th' expulsion of his foes
Messiah his triumphal chariot turn'd:
To meet him all his saints, who silent stood
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts,
With jubilee advanc'd; and as they went,
Shaded with branching palm, each order bright 885
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion giv'n,
Worthiest to reign: he celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid heaven, into the courts
And temple of his mighty Father thron'd
On high; who into glory him receiv'd,
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
Thus measuring things in heaven by things on earth,
At thy request, and that thou may'st beware
By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd
What might have else to human race been hid ;
877 house] Fairfax's Tasso, ix. st. 59.
'Fit house for them, the house of grief and pain.' Newton.
The discord which befell, and war in heaven
Among th' angelic powers, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring, who rebell'd
With Satan; he who envies now thy state,
Who now is plotting how he may seduce
Thee also from obedience, that with him
Bereav'd of happiness thou may'st partake
His punishment, eternal misery,
Which would be all his solace and revenge,
As a despite done against the Most High,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations, warn
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard
By terrible example the reward
Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,
Yet fell: remember, and fear to transgress.
900 he] The construction, Bentley observes, requires 'him.'
RAPHAEL, at the request of Adam, relates how, and wherefore, this world was first created; that GOD, after the expelling of Satan and his angels out of heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world, and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory and attendance of angels to perform the work of creation in six days: the angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascension into heaven.
DESCEND from heav'n, Urania, by that name
If rightly thou art call'd, whose voice divine
Following, above th' Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegasean wing.
The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwell'st; but heavenly born,
Before the hills appear'd, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
In presence of th' almighty Father, pleas'd
7 old Olympus] 'cold.' Bentl. MS. 1. 516. 1. 428. 2. 393. 7 old] Some would read 'cold,' as in book i. 516; but it is called 'old,' as being 'fam'd of old,' see book i. 420, ii. 593. Newton.