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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 heav'nly souls had been all one; but now I see that most through sloth had rather serve, Minist'ring Spi'rits, 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 compar'd this day shall prove.

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern reply'd. 171 Apostate, still thou err’st, nor end wilt find Of erring, from the path of truth remote : Unjustly thou depravost 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 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 dar’st our minist’ring upbraid. Reign thou in Hell thy kingdom; let me serve In Heav'n God ever blest, 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 saidst, from flight, This greeting on thy impious crest receive.

So say’ing, a noble stroke he lifted high, Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 19 On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,


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 massy spear upstay’d; as if on earth
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way
Sidelong had push'd a mountain from his seat
Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage to see
Thus foil'd their mightiest: ours joy filld and

Presage of victory, and fierce desire
Of battle: whereat Michaël bid sound
Th’Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vast of Heav'n
It sounded, and the faithful armies

rung Hosanna to the High’st: nor stood at gaze The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd The horrid shock: now storming fury rose, And clamour such as heard in Heav'n till now Was never; arms on armour clashing bray'd Horrible discord, and the madding wheels Of brazen chariots rag'd; dire was the noise Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss Of fiery darts in faining vollies flew, And flying vaulted either host with fire. So under fiery cope together rush'd Both battles main, with ruinous assault And inextinguishable rage; all Heaven Resounded, and had Earth been then, all Earth Had to her centre shook. What wonder? when Millions of fierce encount'ring Angels fought 22@

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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 numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not th’ eternal King omnipotent
From his strong hold of Heav'n high over-ruld
And limited their might; though number'd such
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 single as in chief, expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
Of battle, open when, and when to close
The ridges of grim war: no thought of flight,
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argued fear: each on himself rely'd,
As only in his arm the moment lay
Df victory: deeds of eternal fame

Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread
That war and yarious, sometimes on firm ground
A standing fight, then soaring on main wing
Tormented all the air; all air seem'd then
Conflicting fire: long time in even scale
The battle hung; till Satan, who that day
Prodigious pow'r 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 smote, and feil'd 28.

Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway
Brandish'd aloft the horrid edge came down
Wide wasting: such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos’d the rocky orb
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,
A vast circumference: At his approach
The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toil
Surceas'd, and glad as hoping here to end
Intestine war in Heav'n, th' arch-foe subdu'd
Or captive dragg'd in chains, with hostile frown 260
And visage all inflam'd first thus began.

Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,
Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
Though heaviest by just measure on thyself
And thy adherents : how hast thou disturb’d
Heav'n's blessed peace,

and into nature brought Misery, uncreated till the crime Of thy rebellion? How hast thou instill'd Thy malice into thousands, once upright 270 And faithful, now prov'd false? But think not here To trouble holy rest; Heav'n casts thee out From all her confines. Heav'n the seat of bliss Brooks not the works of violence and war. Hence then, and evil go with thee along, 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 airy threats to awe whom yet with deeds
Thou canst not. Hast thou turn'd the least of these
To fight, or if to fall, but that they rise
Unvanquish'd, easier to transact with me
That thou shouldst 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, 290
Or turn this Heav'n itself into the Hell
Thou fablest, 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 sought thee far and nigh.

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 lift
Human imagination to such height
Of Godlike pow'r? for likest Gods they seem'd,
Stood they or mov’d, in stature, motion, arms,
Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven.
Now wav'd their fiery swords, and in the air
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields
Blazd 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, unsafe within the wind
Of such commotion; such as, to set forth 31


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