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Of servitude to serve whom God ordains,


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 rebell'd
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, 180
Thy self not free, but to thy self enthrall'd;
Yet leudly dar'st our minist'ring upbraid.
Reign thou in hell thy kingdom, let me serve
In heav'n GOD ever bless'd, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd;
Yet chains in hell, not realms expect: mean while
From me return'd, as erst thou saidst, 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 sight,
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 massy spear upstay'd; as if on earth
Winds under ground or waters, forcing way


Side-long, had push'd a mountain from his seat, Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd

188 greeting] Virg. Æn. ix. 635.


'Bis capti Phryges hæc Rutulis responsa remittunt.'

a noble] v. Beaumont's Psyche, c. vi. st. 90.

A noble stroke it was.'


197 mountain] Q. Smyrnæus says, that Achilles fell, ἀλίγκιος ὄυρει μάκρω. V. iii. 176. A. Dyce.

The rebel thrones, but greater rage to see

Thus foil'd their mightiest; ours joy fill'd, and shout, Presage of victory, and fierce desire




Of battel whereat Michael bid sound
The arch-angel trumpet; through the vast of heav'n
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour, such as heard in heav'n till now
Was never; arms on armour clashing bray'd
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 flaming vollies flew,
And flying vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rush'd
Both battels main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage; all heav'n
Resounded, and had earth been then, all earth
Had to her center shook. What wonder? when
Millions of fierce encount'ring angels fought 220
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
Army against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not the eternal King omnipotent
From his strong hold of heav'n high overrul'd





And limited their might; though number'd such,
As each divided legion might have seem'd
A numerous host; in strength each armed hand
A legion; led in fight, yet leader seem'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
The ridges of grim war; no thought of flight,
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argu'd fear; each on himself rely'd,
As only in his arm the moment lay
Of victory deeds of eternal fame




Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread
That war and various; sometimes on firm ground
A standing fight; then soaring on main wing
Tormented all the air; all air seem'd then
Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale
The battel hung; till Satan, who that day
Prodigious power had shewn, and met in arms
No equal, ranging through the dire attack
Of fighting Seraphim confus'd, at length
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and fell'd
Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway
Brandish'd aloft the horrid edge came down

"Tormented] Tempested. Bentl. MS.
Lod. Bryskett's M. Muse of Thestylis.


[blocks in formation]

even scale] v. Eurip. Suppl. v. 706. Tasso, G. Lib. exx. st. 50. Spens. F. Qu. iv. ii. 37. Todd.


Wide wasting such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos'd the rocky orb
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,
A vast circumference. At his approach
The great arch-angel from his warlike toil
Surceas'd; and glad, as hoping here to end
Intestine war in heav'n, th' arch-foe subdu'd
Or captive drag'd in chains, with hostile frown go
And visage all inflam'd, first thus began.

Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt, Unnam'd in heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all, Though heaviest by just measure on thy self 265 And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb'd Heav'n's blessed peace, and into nature brought Misery, uncreated till the crime


Of thy rebellion? how hast thou instill'd
Thy malice into thousands, once upright
And faithful, now prov'd false! But think not here
To trouble holy rest; heav'n casts thee out
From all her confines : heav'n the seat of bliss
Brooks not the works of violence and war.
Hence then, and evil go with thee along,

Thy offspring, to the place of evil, hell,

Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broils,
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom,
Or some more sudden vengeance wing'd from GOD
Precipitate thee with augmented pain.


So spake the prince of angels; to whom thus The adversary. Nor think thou with wind

Of aery threats to awe whom yet with deeds
Thou canst not. Hast thou turn'd the least of these
To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise


Unvanquish'd? easier to transact with me
That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats
To chase me hence? err not that so shall end
The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style
The strife of glory which we mean to win, 201
Or turn this heav'n itself into the hell
Thou fablest; here however to dwell free,
If not to reign: meanwhile thy utmost force,
And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid,

I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh. 295
They ended parle, and both address'd for fight
Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue
Of angels, can relate, or to what things
Liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift
Human imagination to such highth


Of godlike power? for likest gods they seem'd
Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, arms,
Fit to decide the empire of great heav'n.
Now way'd their fiery swords, and in the air
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields
Blaz'd opposite, while expectation stood

296 address'd] Spens. F. Qu. v. ii. 12.

'And straighte himselfe unto the fight addrest.' Toda. 306 expectation] So Shakesp. Hen. V.

For now sits expectation in the air.'

And Beaum. and Fletch. Boadicea, act iii. scene i.

And expectation like the Roman eagle


Took stand'


Newton. Todd.


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