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Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn,
Itself instinct with spirit, but convoy'd
By four Cherubic shapes ; four faces each
Had wondrous, as with stars their bodies all
And wings were set with eyes, with eyes the wheels
Of beryl, and careering fires between ;
Over their heads a crystal firmament,
Whereon a saphir throne, inlaid with pure
Amber, and colors of the showery arch.
He in celestial panoply all arm’d
Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,
Ascended ; at his right hand victory
Sat eagle-wing’d; beside him hung his bow
And quiver with three-bolted thunder stor’d,
And from about him fierce effusion roll'd
Of smoke and bickering Aame, and sparkles dire;
Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,
He onward came, far off his coming shone,
And twenty thousand (I their number heard)
Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen :
He on the wings of Cherub rode sublime
On the crystallin sky, in saphir thron’d.
Illustrious far and wide, but by his own

First seen ; them unexpected joy surpris’d,
When the great ensign of Messiah blaz’d
Aloft by Angels borne, his sign in Heaven :
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduc'd
His army, circumfus’d on either wing,
Under their head imbodied all in one.
Before him power divine his way prepar’d;
At his command the uprooted hills retir’d
Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went
Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renew'd,
And with fresh Aow'rets hill and valley smild:
This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdur’d,
And to rebellious fight rallied their powers
Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.
In Heavenly Spirits could such perverseness dwell ?
But to convince the proud what signs avail,
Or wonders move the obdurate to relent?
They harden'd more by what might most reclame,
Grieving to see his glory, at the sight
Took envy; and aspiring to his highth,
Stood reimbatteld fierce, by force or fraud
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail
Against God and Messiah, or to fall
In universal ruin last, and now

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To final battel drew, disdaining flight,
Or faint retreat ; when the great Son of God
To all his host on either hand thus spake.

Stand still in bright array, ye Saints ; here stand
Ye Angels arm’d; this day from battel rest;
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause ;
And as ye have receiv’d, so have ye done
Invincibly; but of this cursed crew
The punishment to other hand belongs,
Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints ;
Number to this day's work is not ordain’d,
Nor multitude ; stand only and behold
God's indignation on these Godless pour’d
By me; not you but me they have despis’d,
Yet envied ; against me is all their rage,
Because the Father, to whom in Heaven supreme
Kingdom and power and glory appertains,
Hath honour'd me according to his will.
Therefore to me their doom he hath assign'd;
That they may have their wish, to try with me
In battel which the stronger proves, they all
Or I alone against them, since by strength

They measure all, of other excellence
Not emulous, nor care who them excels
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.

So spake the Son, and into terror chang'd
His countenance too severe to be beheld
And full of wrath bent on his enemies.
At once the four spread out their starry wings
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs
Of his fierce chariot roll’d, as with the sound
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host.
He on his impious foes right onward drove,
Gloomy as night ; under his burning wheels
The stedfast empyréan shook throughout,
All but the throne itself of God. Full soon
Among them he arriv'd ; in his right hand
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent
Before him, such as in their souls infix'd
Plagues ; they astonish'd all resistance lost,
All courage ; down their idle weapons dropp'd ;
O’er shields and helms, and helmed heads he rode
Of thrones and mighty Seraphim prostráte,
That wish'd the mountains now might be again
Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.

Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
His arrows, from the fourfold-visag’d Four,
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels,
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes ;
One spirit in them ruld, and every eye
Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
Among the accurst, that wither'd all their strength,
And of their wonted vigour left them drain’d,
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen.
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd
His thunder in mid volley ; for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven:
The overthrown he rais’d, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous Aock together throng’d,
Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued
With terrors and with furies to the bounds
And crystal wall of Heaven, which opening wide,
Roll’d inward, and a spacious gap disclos’d
Into the wasteful deep; the monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward, but far worse
Urg'd them behind ; headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of Heaven, eternal wrath
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.

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