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Such as in highest Heav'n, array'd in gold Empyreal; from before her vanish'd night, Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain Cover'd with thick embatil'd squadrons bright, Chariots and faming 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 20 To have reported : gladly then he mix'd Among those friendly pow'rs, who him receiy'd With joy and acclamations loud, that one, That of so many myriads fall’n, yet one Return'd 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.

Servånt of God, well done, well hast thou fought The better fight, who single last 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 sight 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 didst depart, and to subdue 40 By force, who reason for their law refuse, Right reason for their law, and for their king

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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 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 spake the sov’reign voice, and clouds began
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll
In dusky wreathes, reluctant flames, the sign
Of wrath awak'd; nor with less dread the loud
Ethereal trumpet frorn on high 'gan blow: 60
At which command the Powers militant,
That stood for Heav'n, in mighty quadrate join'd
Of union irresistible, mov'd on
In silence their bright legions, to the sound
Of instrumental harmony, that breath'd
Heroic ardour to advent’rous deeds
Under their God-like 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
Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground
Their march was, and the passive air upbore ·

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Their nimble tread; as when the total kind
Of birds, in orderly array on wing,
Came summon'd over Eden to receive
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 80
In battalious aspéct, and nearer view
Bristled with upright beams innumerable
Of rigid spears, and helmets throng'd, and shields
Various, with boastful argument portray'd,
The banded Pow'rs of Satan hasting on
With furious expedition ; for they ween’d
That self-same day by fight, or by surprize,
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 go
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
So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire
Hymning th' 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
Th' Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, inclos'd
With flaming Cherubim and golden shields;

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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 join'd,
Satan with vast and haughty strides advanc'd
Came tow'ring, arm’d in adamant and gold :
Abdiel that sight indur'd not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores.

O Heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest
Should yet remain, where faith and reälty
Remain not: wherefore should not strength and

might
There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable?
His puissance, trusting in th' Almighty's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have try'd
Unsound 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 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
Incens'd, and thus securely him defyd.

130 Proud art thou met? thy hope was to have reach'd

I 20

The height of thy aspiring unoppos’d,
The throne of God unguarded, and his side
Abandon’d at the terror of thy power
Or potent tongue : fool, not to think how vain
Against th’ Omnipotent to rise in arms;
Who ought of smallest things could without end
Have rais d incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or with solitary hand
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow

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Unaided could have finish'd thee, and whelm'd
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
Seem'd 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 answer'd. Ill for thee, but in wish'd hour 150 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 provok’d, since first that tongue Inspir'd with contradiction durst oppose A third part of the Gods, in synod met Their deities to assert, who while they feel Vigo!!r divine within them, can allow Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

160 Froin me some plume, that thy success may slow

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