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PARADISE LOST.

BOOK VI.

THE ARGUMENT.

Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent 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 mountains, 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 side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them, unable to resist, towards the wall of Heaven; which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the Deep. Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

LL night the dreadless Angel, unpursued,

"AL

Through Heaven's wide champaign held his way, till Morn,

Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand
Unbarred 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 Heaven
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night;

Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obsequious Darkness enters, till her hour

To veil the heaven, though darkness there might well
Seem twilight here. And now went forth the Morn
Such as in highest heaven, arrayed in gold
Empyreal; from before her vanished Night,

Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain
Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright,
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view.
War he perceived, war in procinct, and found
Already known what he for news had thought
To have reported. Gladly then he mixed
Among those friendly Powers, who him received

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With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
That of so many myriads fallen yet one,
Returned 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 fought
The better fight, who single hast maintained

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 approved in sight of God, though worlds
Judged thee perverse. The easier conquest now
Remains thee-aided by this host of friends,
Back on thy foes more glorious to return
Than scorned 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 ranged for fight,
Equal in number to that godless crew
Rebellious. Them with fire and hostile arms
Fearless assault; and, to the brow of Heaven
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.'

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"So spake the Sovran Voice; and clouds began To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll

In dusky wreaths reluctant flames, the sign

Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud
Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow.
At which command the Powers Militant

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That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joined
Of union irresistible, moved on

In silence their bright legions to the sound
Of instrumental harmony, that breathed
Heroic ardour to adventurous deeds
Under their godlike leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move,
Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill,

L

Nor straitening 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

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Of birds, in orderly array on wing,
Came summoned over Eden to receive

Their names of thee; so over many a tract

Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide,
Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last,
Far in the horizon, to the north, appeared
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretched
In battailous aspect; and, nearer view,
Bristled with upright beams innumerable

Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shields
Various, with boastful argument portrayed,
The banded Powers of Satan hasting on
With furious expedition for they weened
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 proved fond and vain

In the mid-way; though strange to us it seemed

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 great Sire,
Hymning the Eternal Father. But the shout
Of battle now began, and rushing sound
Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
High in the midst, exalted as a God,
The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, enclosed

With flaming Cherubim and golden shields;

Then lighted from his gorgeous throne-for now
'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval, and front to front
Presented stood, in terrible array

Of hideous length. Before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it joined,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced,
Came towering, armed in adamant and gold. ·
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores

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"O Heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest Should yet remain, where faith and realty

Remain not! Wherefore should not strength and might

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There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable?
His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have tried
Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just
That he who in debate of truth hath won
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
Victor. Though brutish that contést and foul,
When reason hath to deal with force, yet so
Most reason is that reason overcome.'

"So pondering, and from his armed peers
Forth-stepping opposite, half-way he met
His daring foe, at this prevention more
Incensed, and thus securely him defied :-

"Proud, art thou met? Thy hope was to have reached The highth of thy aspiring unopposed-

The throne of God unguarded, and his side

Abandoned at the terror of thy power

Or potent tongue. Fool! not to think how vain

Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms;

Who, out of smallest things, could without end
Have raised incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or with solitary hand,
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow,

Unaided could have finished thee, and whelmed
Thy legions under darkness! But thou seest
All are not of thy train; there be who faith
Prefer, and piety to God, though then
To thee not visible when I alone
Seemed in thy world erroneous to dissent
From all my Sect thou seest; now learn too late
How few sometimes may know when thousands err.'
"Whom the grand Foe, with scornful eye askance,
Thus answered:-'Ill for thee, but in wished hour
Of my revenge, first sought for, thou return'st
From flight, seditious Angel, to receive

Thy merited reward, the first assay

Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue,
Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose

A third part of the Gods, in synod met

Their deities to assert: who, while they feel
Vigour divine within them, can allow

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Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st

Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

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From me some plume, that thy success may show

Destruction to the rest. This pause between

(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know.—

At first I thought that Liberty and Heaven
To heavenly souls had been all one; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Ministering Spirits, trained up in feast and song:
Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of heaven—
Servility with freedom to contend,

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As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.'
"To whom, in brief, thus Abdiel stern replied:-
'Apostate! still thou err'st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote.
Unjustly thou deprav'st it with the name
Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains,
Or Nature: God and Nature bid the same,

and excels
is servitude-
hath rebelled

When he who rules is wor

Them whom he governs.

thee,

serve

To serve the unwise, or him who
Against his worthier, as thine now
Thyself not free, but to thyself
Yet lewdly dar'st our ministering upbraid.
Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let
In Heaven God ever blest, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obeyed.
Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect: meanw
From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from flig
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.'
"So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell
On the proud crest of Satan that no sight,

hile, ht,

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Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield,
Such ruin intercept. Ten paces huge

He back recoiled; the tenth on bended knee

His massy spear upstayed: as if, on earth,
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way,
Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat,
Half-sunk with all his pines. Amazement seized
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to see

Thus foiled their mightiest; ours joy filled, and shout,
Presage of victory, and fierce desire

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Of battle: whereat Michaël bid sound

The Archangel trumpet. Through the vast of Heaven
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosannah to the Highest; nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in Heaven till now
Was never; arms on armour clashing brayed
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels

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