Billeder på siden



In perfect phalanx, to the Dorian mood
Of Autes, and foft recorders; fuch as rais'd
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle; and, instead of rage,
Deliberate valour breath'd, firm and unmov'd
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage,
With folemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chafe
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and forrow', and pain,
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,
Breathing united force, with fixed thought
Mov'd on in filence to foft pipes, that charm'd
Their painful fteps o'er the burnt foil: and now
Advanc'd in view they stand, a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guife
Of warriors old with order'd fpear and fhield, 565
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impofe. He through the armed files
Darts his experienc'd eye, and foon traverse
The whole battalion views, their order due,
Their vifages and ftature as of gods;



Their number laft he fums. And now his heart
Diftends with pride, and hard'ning in his ftrength
Glories for never fince created man

Met fuch embodied force, as nam'd with thefe
Could merit more than that finall infantry 575
Warr'd on by cranes; though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were join'd,
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each fide
Mix'd with auxiliar gods; and what refounds
In fable or romance of Uther's fon

Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who fince, baptiz'd or infidel,
Joufted in Afpramont, or Montalban,
Damafco, Marocco, or Trebifond;
Ë 2


[ocr errors]

Or whom Biferta fent from Afric fhore,
When Charlemagne with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far thefe beyond
Compare of mortal prowefs, yet observ'd
Their dread commander: he, above the rest
In fhape and gefture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tow'r; his form had yet not loft
All her original brightness, nor appear'd
Lefs than archangel ruin'd, and th' excefs
Of glory' obfcur'd: as when the fun new risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon,
In dim eclipfe, difaftrous twilight fheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darken'd fo, yet fhone
Above them all th' archangel: but his face
Deep fears of thunder had entrench'd, and care





Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows

Of dauntless courage, and confiderate pride

Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but caft
Signs of remorfe and paffion to behold.


The fellows of his crime, the followers rather,


(Far other once beheld in blifs,) condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain;
Millions of fpirits for his fault amerc'd
Of heav'n, and from eternal fplendours flung
For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither'd: as when heaven's fire
Hath fcath'd the foreft-oaks, or mountain-pines,
With finged top their fately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blafted heath. He now prepar'd 615
To fpeak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half-inclofe him round
With all his peers: attention held them mute.
Thrice he effay'd, and thrice, in fpite of fcorn,
Tears, fuch as angels weep, burst forth: At laft 620




Words interwove with fighs found out their way.
O myriads of immortal fpirits, O powers
Matchlefs, but with th' Almighty; and that frife
Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire,
As this place testifies, and this dire change,
Hateful to utter: but what power of mind,
Forefeeing or prefaging, from the depth
Of knowledge paft or prefent, could have fear'd,
How fuch united force of gods, how such
As flood like thefe, could ever know repulfe?
For who can yet believe, though after lofs,
That all these puiffant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied heav'n, fhall fail to re-afcend,
Self-rais'd, and repoffefs their native feat?
For me be witness all the hoft of heaven,
If counfels different, or danger fhunn'd
By me, have loft our hopes. But he who reigas
Monarch in heaven, till then as one fecure
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute,
Confent or custom, and his regal ftate
Put forth at full, but till his ftrength conceal'd,
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own,
So as not either to provoke, or dread



New war, provok'd; our better part remains, 645.
To work in clofe defign, by fraud or guile,

What force effected not; that he no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe..

[ocr errors]

Space may produce new worlds; whereof fo rife 650.
There went a fame in heaven, that he ere long
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation, whom his choice regard.
Should favour equal to the fons of heaven:
Thither, if but to pry, fhall be perhaps
Our first eruption, thither cr elsewhere:

E 3



For this infernal pit fhall never hold
Celestial fpirits in bondage, nor th' abyfs
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
Full counfel muft mature: peace is despair'd,
For who can think fubmiflion? War then, war
Open or understood, must be refolv'd.



He fpake: and, to confirm his words, outflew Millions of flaming fwords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty Cherubim; the fudden blaze Far round illumin'd hell: highly they rag'd Against the High'eft, and fierce with grafped arms Clash'd on their founding fhields the din of war, Hurling defiance toward the vault of heaven.

There stood a hill not far, whose grifly top Belch'd fire and rolling fmoke; the reft entire Shone with a gloffy fcurf, undoubted fign, That in his womb was hid metallic ore,



The work of fulphur. Thither wing'd with fpeed
A numerous brigade haften'd: as when bands
Of pioneers, with fpade and pick-ax arm'd,
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
Or caft a rampart. Mammon led them on;
Mammon, the leaft erected spirit that fell

From heav'n; for e'en in heav'n his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more


The riches of heav'n's pavement, trodden gold,

Than ought divine or holy elfe enjoy'd

In vifion beatific: by him first

Men alfo, and by his fuggeftion taught,


Ranfack'd the centre, and with impious hands
Rifled the bowels of their mother earth

For treafures better hid. Soon had his crew

Open'd into the hill a fpacious wound,

And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire 690 That riches grow in hell; that foil may best

Deferve the precious bane. And here let those



Who boat in mortal things, and wond'ring tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings,
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, 695
And strength and art are eafily outdone
By fpirits reprobate, and in an hour
What in an age they with inceffant toil
And hands innumerable fearce perform.
Nigh on the plain in many cells prepar'd,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluic'd from the lake, a fecond multitude
With wond'rous art found out the maffy ore,
Sev'ring each kind, and feumm'd the bullion drofs:
A third as foon had form'd within the ground 705
A various mould, and from the boiling cells
By ftrange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook,
As in an organ, from one blaft of wind,

To many a row of pipes the found-board breathes.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge

Rofe like an exhalation, with the found
Of dulcet fymphonies and voices fweet,
Built like a temple, where pilafters round


Were fet, and Doric pillars overlaid

With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or freeze, with boffy fculptures graven;


The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo fuch magnificence
Equall'd in all their glories, to infhrine.

Belus or Serapis their gods, or feat.


Their kings, when Egypt with Affyria ftrove

In wealth and luxury. Th' afcending pile

Stood fix'd her ftately height; and ftrait the doors Opening their brazen folds difcover wide

Within her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof,
Pendent by fubtile magic, many a row
Of tarry lamps and blazing creffets, fed


[blocks in formation]
« ForrigeFortsæt »