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We know no time when we were not as now;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised
By our own quickening power, when fatal course
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native heaven, ethereal sons.
Our puissance is our own ; our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
Who is our equal : then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begird the Almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings carry to the anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.

He said, and, as the sound of waters deep,
Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause
Through the infinite host ; nor less for that
The flaming seraph fearless, though alone
Encompass'd round with foes, thus answer'd bold :

O alienate from God, O spirit accursed,
Forsaken of all good, I see thy fall
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread
Both of thy crime and punishment. Henceforth
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
Of God's Messiah ; those indulgent laws
Will not be now vouchsafed ; other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recall ;
That golden sceptre which thou didst reject
Is now an iron rod, to bruise and break
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise ;
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly
These wicked tents devoted ; lest the wrath
Impendent, raging into sudden flame,
Distinguish not ; for soon expect to feel
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
Then who created thee lamenting learn,
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.

So spake the seraph Abdiel, faithful found,
Among the faithless faithful only he;
Among innumerable false unmoved,
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal ;
Nor number nor example with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
Though single. From amidst them forth he pass’d,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustain'd

perior, nor of violence fear'd aught ; And with retorted scorn his back he turn'd On those proud towers to swist destruction doom'd.



Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battle

against Satan and his angels. The first fight described : Satan and his powers retire under night: he calls a council ; invents devilish engines, which, in the second day's fight, put Michael and his angels to some disorder; but they at length pulling up mountains, overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan; yet, the tumult not so ending, God, on the third day, sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory:. He, in the power of his Father, coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them, unable to resist, towards the wall of heaven : which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the deep. Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

All night the dreadless angel unpursued
Through heaven's wide champaign held his way, till

Waked by the circling hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light. There is a cave
Within the mount of God, fast by his throne,
Where light and darkness in perpetual round
Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through

Grateful vicissitude, like day and night;
Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour
To veil the heaven, though darkness there might well
Seem twilight here ; and now went forth the Morn
Such as in highest heaven, array'd in gold
Empyreal, from before her vanish'd night,
Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain
Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright,
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view.
War he perceived, war in procinct, and found
Already known what he for news had thought
To have reported : gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly powers, who him received
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
That of so many myriads fallen 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 :

Servant of God, well done ; well hast thou fought
The better fight, who single hast maintain'd
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

my sons

Than violence ; for this was all thy care,

: To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds Judged 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 By force, who reason for their law refuse, Right reason for their law, and for their King 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 Invincible ; lead forth my armed saints By thousands and by millions ranged 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 Sovereign Voice, and clouds began To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll In dusky wreaths, reluctant Aames, the sign Of wrath awaked : 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, moved on In silence their bright legions, to the sound Of instrumental harmony, that breath'd Heroic ardour to adventurous deeds, Under their godlike leaders, in the cause Of God and his Messiah. On they move Indissolubly firm ; nor obvious hill, Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground Their march was, and the passive air upbore 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 heaven they march’d, and many a province wide, Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last Far in the horizon to the north appear'd From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretch'd In battailous aspect, 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 powers of Satan hasting on With furious expedition ; for they ween'd

That self-same 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 proved fond and vain
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 the 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,
The apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, enclosed
With flaming cherubim and golden shields;
Then lighted from her 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 advanced,
Came towering, arm'd in adamant and gold ;
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores:

O Heaven ! 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 the Almighty's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have tried
Unsound and false ; nor is it aught 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 soul,
When reason hath to deal with force ; yet so
Most reason is that reason overcome.

So pondering, and from his arm’d peers Forth stepping

opposite, half-way he met His daring foe, at this prevention more Incensed, and thus securely him defied :

Proud, art thou met ? thy hope was to have reach'd The height of thy aspiring unopposed, 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 the Omnipotent to rise in arms; Who out of smallest things could without end Have raised incessant armies to defeat

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Thy folly ; or, with solitary hand
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow
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
Of my revenge, first sought for thou return'st
From flight, seditious angel, to receive
Thy merited reward, the first essay
Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue,
Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose,
A third part of the gods, in synod met
Their deities to assert; who, while they feel
Vigour divine within them, can allow
Omnipotence to none. But well thou comest
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
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,
At first I thought that liberty and heaven
To heavenly souls had been all one ; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Ministering spirits, train'd up in feast and song :
Such hast thou arm'd, the minstrelsy of heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.
| To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied :
Apostate, still thou err'st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote :
Unjustly thou depravest it with the name
Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains,
Or Nature ; God and Nature bid the same,
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels
Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebell'd
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
Thyself not free, but to thyself enthrall’d;
Yet lewdly darest our ministering upbraid.
Reign thou in hell, thy kingdom, let me serve
In heaven God ever-bless'd, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd ;
Yet chains in hell, not realms, expect : meanwhile,
From me return'd as erst thou saidst, from flight,
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.

So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell

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