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At first I thought that liberty and heaven
To heavenly fouls, had been all one ; but now 165
I see that most through floth had rather serve,
Minist'ring spi'rits, train'd up in feast and song;
Such halt thou arm'd, the minstrelsy of heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove. 170

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern reply'd.
Apoitate! ftill thou err'lt, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote :
Unjuftly thou deprav'it it with the name
Of fervitude, to serve whom God ordains, 175
Or Nature : God and Nature bid the fame,
When be who rules is worthielt, and excells
Them whom he governs. This is fervitude,
To serve th'unwise, or him who hath rebellid
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, 180
Thyself not free, but to thyself inthrallid;
Yet lewdly dark our minist'ring upbraid.
Reign thou in hell, thy kingdom; let me ferve
In heaven Gad 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 saidit, from flight,
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.

So tay'ing, a noble stroke he listed high,
Which hung not, but so swift with tempelt fell ige
On the proud crest of Satan, that no fight
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 masly spear upftay'd ; as if on earth

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Winds under ground, or waters forcing way,
Sidelong had push'd a mountain' from his feat,
Half-funk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd

The

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The rebel thrones, but greater rage, to see
Thus foild their mightieit; ours joy fill'd, and front,
Presage of victory, and fierce delire

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Of battle: whereat Michaël bid found
Th’archangel trumpet ; through the vast of heaven
It founded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the High'eft: nor food at gaze 205
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in heaven till now
Was never; arms on armour clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels 210
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

215 Both battles main, with ruinous assault And inextinguishable'rage: all heaven Refounded, and had earth been then, all earth Had to her centre Thook: What wonder? when Millions of fierce encount'ring angels fought 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 power Army' against army numberlefs to raise Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb, 225 Though not destroy, their happy native seat; Had not th' eternal King omnipotent, From his strong hold of heaven, high over-rul'd And limited their might; though number'd fuch As each divided legion might have seem'd 230 A numerous host, in strength each armed hand A legion, led in fight, yet leader seem'd Each warrior fingle as in chief, expert

When

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When to advance, or stand, or turn the fway
Of battle, open when, and when to close 235
The ridges of grim war: no thought of fight,
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

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Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread
That war, and various, sometimes on firm ground
A standing fight, then foaring on niain wing
Tormented all the air ; all' air seem'd then.
Conflicting fire. Long time in even fcale

215 The battle hung; till Satan, who that day Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms No equal, ranging through the dire attack Of fighting seraphim confus'd, at length

249 Saw where the sword of Michael frote, and felld: Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway Brandish'd aloft, the horrid edge came down Wide wasing; fuch destruction to withfand He hafted, and oppos'd the rocky orb Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,

255 A vast circumference. At his approach The great archangel from his warlike toil Surceas'd, and glad, as hoping here to end Intestine war'in heaven, th' arch-foe fubdu'd, Or captive dragg’d in chains, with hoftile frown 266 And visage all inflam'd firit thus began.

Author of ev'il, unknown till thy revolt, Unnam'd in heaven, now plenteous, as thou feeft These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all, Though heaviest by just measure on thyself

265 And thy adherents : how haft ihou dilturb'd Heaven's blessed peace, and into nature brought Misery, uncreated till the crime

Of

Of thy rebellion ? how halt thou inftillid
Thy malice into thousands, once upright 2.70
And faithful,, now prov'd false? But think not here
To trouble holy rest; hear'n casts thee out
From all her .confines. Heay'n, the seat of bliss,
Brooks not the works of violence and war.
Hence then, and evil go with thee along, 275
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.

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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

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Unvanquish'd, easier to transact with me,
That thou should'it 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, 24
Or turn this beav'n itself into the hell
Thou fablelt, here however to dwell free,
If not to reign: mean while thy utmost force,
And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid,
I fly not, but have fought thee far and nigh. 296

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 life
Human imagination to such height-

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Of godlike power? for likest gods they feemd,
Stood they or mov'd, in ftature, motion, arms,
Fit to decide the empire of great heay'n.
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Now wav'd their fiery swords, and in the air
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields 305
Blaz'd opposite, while Expectation stood
In horror; from each hand with speed retir'd,
Where erst was thickest fight, th’angelic throng,
And left large field, unfafe within the wind
Of fuch commotion, such as, to set forth

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Great things by small, if nature's concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planets, rufling from aspéct maligor
Of fiercest oppofftion, in mid íky
Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound:
Together both, with next to' almighty arm
Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aim'd,
That might determine, and not need repeat,
As not of power at once ; nor odds appear'd'
In might or swift prevention: but the sword
Of Michael from the armoury of God
Was given him temper'd fo, that neither keen
Nor solid might resist that edge : it met
The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite
Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor stay'd, 325
But with swift wheel reverse, deep entring, fhar'd
All his right fide: then Satan first knew pain,
And writh'd him to and fro convolu'd; so sore
The griding sword with discontinuous wound
Pafs'd throhim: but th'ethereal substance clos'd,
Not long divisible; and from the gash
A Aream of ne&ta'rous humour issuing flow'd
Sanguine, such as celestial spi'rits may bleed,
And all his armour stain'd, erewhile so bright.
Forthwith on all fides to his aid was run
By angels many and strong, who interpos'd
Defence; while others bore him on their shields
Back to his chariot, where it stood retir'd

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