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He scarce had ceased, when the superior fiend Was moving toward the shore: his ponderous shield, Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, Behind him cast; the broad circumference Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views At evening from the top of Fesolè, Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, Rivers, or mountains, in 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 walked with, to support uneasy steps Over the burning marl, not like those steps On heaven's azure: and the torrid clime Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire: Nathless he so endured, till on the beach Of that infamed sea he stood, and called His legions, angel forms, who lay intranced Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades High over-arched, imbower; or scattered sedge Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed Hath vexed the Red Sea coast, whose waves o’erthrew Busiris and his Memphian chivalry, While with perfidious hatred they pursued The sojourners of Goshen, who behold From the safe shore their floating carcases And broken chariot wheels: so thick bestrown, Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood, Under amazement of their hideous change. He called so loud, that all the hollow deep Of hell resounded !

They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung

Upon the wing; as when men wont to watch
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel :
Yet to their general's voice they soon obeyed;
Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Arram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Waved round the coast, up called a pitchy cloud
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like night, and darkened all the land of Nile:
So numberless were those bad angels seen,
Hovering on wing under the cope of hell,
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires ;
Till, as a signal given, the up-lifted spear
Of their great sultan waving to direct
Their course, in even balance down they light
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain;
A multitude, like which the populous north
Poured never from her frozen loins, to pass
Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
Came like a deluge on the south, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.

All these and more came flocking; but with looks Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appeared Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost In loss itself; which on his countenance cast Like doubtful hue : but he, his wonted pride Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears. Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound

Of trumpets loud and clarions be upreared
His mighty standard: that proud honour claimed
Azazel as his right, a cherub tall;
Who forth with from the glittering staff unfurled
The imperial ensign; which, full high advanced,
Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich imblazed,
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds :
At which the universal host up-sent
A shout, that tore hell's concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
All in a moment through the gloom were seen
Ten thousand banners rise into the air
With orient colours waving: with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appeared, and serried shields, in thick array
Of depth immeasurable: anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
Of Autes and soft recorders; such as raised
To highth of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle ; and instead of rage
Deliberate valour breathed, firm and unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain,
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,
Breathing united force, with fixed thought,
Moved on in silence to soft pipes, that charmed
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil : and now
Advanced in view they stand; a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield;
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose : he through the armed files

Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views; their order due ;
Their visages and stature as of gods ;
Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and hardening in his strength
Glories : for never, since created man,
Met such imbodied force, as named with these
Could merit more than that small infantry
Warred on by cranes ; though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with the heroic race were joined
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side
Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
In fable or romance of Uther's son
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptized or infidel

,
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban,
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore,
When Charlemain with all his peerage

fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed
Their dread commander: he, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower : his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness; nor appeared
Less than arch-angel ruined, and the excess
Of glory obscured : as when the sun, new risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone
Above them all the arch-angel : but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched; and care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride

Waiting revenge : cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion, to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemned
For ever now to have their lot in pain;
Millions of spirits for his fault amerced
Of heaven, and from eternal splendours flung
For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory withered : as when heaven's fire
Hath scathed the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
With all his peers : attention held them mute.
Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn,
Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth : at last
Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way.

He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled The assembly, as when hollow rocks retain The sound of blustering winds, which all night long Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance, Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay After the tempest: such applause was heard As Mammon ended.

The ranged powers Disband; and, wandering, each his several way Pursues, as inclination or sad choice Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain The irksome hours, till his great chief return

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