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LL night the dreadless angel, unpursu'd,
Thro heav'n's wide champain held his way;

till Morn,
Wak'd by the circling hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light. There is a cave
Within the niount of God, fast by his throne, 5
Where light and darknefs in perpetual round
Lodge and didodge by turns, which makes thro'heav'n
Grateful viciffitude, like day and night;
Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obfequious darkness enters, till her hour
To veil the heav'n, tho' darkness there might well
Seem twilight here: and now went forth the Morn
Such as in highest heav'n, array'd in gold
Empyreal; from before her vanith'd Night,
Shot thro' with orient beams; when all the plain
Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright, 16
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
To have reported: gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly pow’rs, who him receiv'd
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
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That of so many myriads fall’n, yet one
Return'd not loft. On to the facred hill

They led him high applauded, and present
Before the feat supreme ; from vhence 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 maintain'd 30
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 fight 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 didit depart, and to subdue
By force, who reason for their law refuse,
Right reason for their law, and for their King
Melliah, who by right of merit reigns.
Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince,
And thou in military prowess next,

45 Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my

Invincible, lead forth my armed faints,
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 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,

So fpake the sov'reign voice, and clouds began
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll
In dulky wreaths, reluctant flames, the fign


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Of wrath awakd ; nor with less dread the loud
Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow:

At which command the powers militant,
That stood for heaven, in mighty quadrate join'd
Of union irresistible, moy'd on
In silence their bright legions, to the found
Of instrumental harmony, that breath'd

65 Heroic ardor 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 70 Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground Their marck was, and the passive air upbore Their nimble tread; as when the total kind Of birds, in orderly array on wing, Came fummon'd over Eden, to receive

75 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 battalious aspéct, and nearer view Bristled with upright beams innumerable of rigid fpears, and helmets throng'd, and shields Various, with boastful argument portray'd, The banded powers of Satan hafting on

85 With furious expedition ; for they ween’d That felf-fame 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 fond and vain 90 In 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 K 3




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So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimous, as fons of one great Sire,

Hymning th'etercal Father: but the hout
Of battle now began, and rushing sound
Of onset ended foon each milder thought..
High in the midst exalted as a god
Th’apoitate in his sun-bright chariot fat, 10Q
Idol of majesty divine, inclos'd
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

105 Presented stood in terrible array Of hideous length: before the cloudy van, On the rough edge of battle ere it join'd, Satan with vast and haughty strides advanc'd Came tow'ring, arm'd in adamant and gold; Abdiel that fight endur'd not, where he flood Among the mightiert, bent on highest deeds, And thus his own undounted heart explores.

O Heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest Should yet remain, where faith and realty 115 Remain not: wherefore should not strength and might There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove Where boldelt, though to fight unconquerable ? His puissance, trusting in th' Almighty's aid, I mean to try, whofe, reason I have try'd Unfound and false ; nor is it ought but just, That he, who in debate of truth hath won, Should win in arms, in both disputes alike Victor; though brutish that contest and foul, When reason hath to deal with force, yet fo 125 Most reason is that reason overcome.

So pondering, and from his armed peers, Forth stepping oppofite, half-way he met


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His daring foe, at this prevention more
Incens'd, and thus securely him defy'd.

Proud, art thou met thy hope was to have reach'd
The height of thy aspiring unoppos’d,
The throne of God unguarded, and his fide
Abandon's at the terror of thy power
Or potent tongue: fool, not to think how vain 135
Against th’Omnipotent to rise in arms;
Who out of smallest things could, without end
Have rais'd inceffant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or with folitary hand
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow,

140 Unaided, could hare finish'd thee, and whelm'd Thy legions under darkness: but thou feest All are not of thy train; there be who failh. Prefer, and piety to God, though then To thee not visible, when I alone

145 Seem'd in thy world erroneous to diffent From all: my fect thou seest; now learn too late How few fometimes may know, when thousands err.

Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance, Thus answer'd. Ill for thee, but in with'd hour 159 Of my revenge, first fought, for thou return'st From fight, feditious angel, to receive Thy merited reward, the first effiy Of this right hand provok'd ; fince first that tongue, Inspird with contradiction, durft oppose 155 A third part of the gods, in fynod met Their deities to assert, who, while they feel Vigour divine within them, can allow Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'lt Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

160 From me some plume, that thy success may

show Destruction to the rest: this pause between (Unanswer'd lest thou boast,) to let thee know;




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