Imágenes de páginas

Great things by small, if nature's concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planets rushing from aspéct malign
Of fiercest opposition in mid-sky

Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound.
Together both with next to' almighty arm
Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aim'd
That might determine, and not need repeat,
As not of pow'r at once; nor odds appear'd
In might or swift prevention: but the sword 320
Of Michael from the armoury of God
Was giv'n him temper'd so, that neither keen
Nor solid might resist that edge: it met
The sword of Satan with steep force to smite
Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor stay'd,
But with swift wheel reverse, deep ent'ring shar'd
All his right side: then Satan first knew pain,
And writh'd him to and fro convolv'd; so sore
The griding sword with discontinuous wound
Pass'd through him: but th' ethereal substance


Not long divisible; and from the gash
A stream of necta'rous humour issuing flow'd
Sanguine, such as celestial Spi'rits may bleed,
And all his armour stain'd ere while so bright.
Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run
By Angels many' and strong, who interpos'd
Defence, while others bore him on their shields
Back to his chariot, where it stood retir'd
From off the files of war; there they him laid

Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame, 340
To find himself not matchless, and his pride
Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath
His confidence to equal God in power.

Yet soon he heal'd; for Spi`rits that live throughous
Vital in every part, not as frail man

In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,
Cannot but by annihilating die;

Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound
Receive, no more than can the fluid air:
All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear,
All intellect, all sense: and as they please,
They limb themselves, and colour, shape or size
Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.


Mean while in other parts like deeds deserv'd
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,
And with fierce ensigns pierc'd the deep array
Of Molech furious king; who him defy'd,
And at his chariot wheels to drag him bound
Threaten'd, nor from the Holy One of Heaven
Refrain'd his tongue blasphemous; but anon 360
Down cloven to the waist, with shatter'd arms
And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing
Uriel and Raphaël his vaunting foe,

Though huge, and in a rock of diamond arm'd,
Vanquish'd Adramelech, and Asmaida,

Two potent thrones, that to be less than Gods
Disdain'd, but meaner thoughts learn'd in their


Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail.



Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy
The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow
Ariel and Arioch, and the violence

[ocr errors][merged small]

Of Ramiel scorch'd and blasted overthrew.
I might relate of thousands, and their names
Eternize here on earth; but those elect
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven
Seek not the praise of men: the other sort,
In might though wond'rous and in acts of war,
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom
Cancel'd from Heav'n and sacred memory,
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
For strength from truth divided and from just,
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise
And ignominy, yet to glory' aspires
Vain glorious, and through infamy seeks fame:
Therefore eternal silence be their doom.


And now their mightiest quell'd, the battle swerv'd, With many an inroad gor'd; deformed rout Enter'd, and foul disorder; all the ground With shiver'd armour strown, and on a heap Chariot and charioteer lay overturn'd, And fiery foaming steeds; what stood, recoil'd O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanic host Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surpris'd, Then first with fear surpris'd and sense of pain, Fled ignominious, to such evil brought By sin of disobedience, till that hour Not liable to fear or flight or pain. Far otherwise th' inviolable Saints


In cubic phalanx firm advanc'd entire,
Invulnerable, impenetrably arm'd;
Such high advantages their innocence
Gave them above their foes, not to have sinn'd,
Not to have disobey'd; in fight they stood
Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'd

By wound, though from their place by violence mov'd.


Now night her course began, and over Heav'n Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos'd. And silence on the odious din of war: Under her cloudy covert both retir'd,

Victor and vanquish'd: on the foughten field 410 Michaël and his Angels prevalent

O now in danger try'd, not known in arms
Not to be overpow'r'd, Companions dear,
Found worthy not of liberty alone,

Too mean pretence, but what we more affect,
Honour, dominion, glory, and renown;
Who have sustain'd one day in doubtful fight
(And if one day, why not eternal days?)
What Heaven's Lord had pow'rfullest to send
Against us from about his throne, and judg'd
Sufficient to subdue us to his will,

Incamping, plac'd in guard their watches round,
Cherubic waving fires: on th' other part
Satan with his rebellious disappear'd,
Far in the dark dislodg'd; and void of rest,
His potentates to council call'd by night;
And in the midst thus undismay'd began.

But proves not so: then fallible, it seems,
Of future we may deem him, though till now
Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm'd, 430
Some disadvantage we endur'd and pain,

Till now not known, but known as soon contemn'd,
Since now we find this our empyreal form

Incapable of mortal injury,
Imperishable, and though pierc'd with wound,
Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
Of evil then so small as easy think
The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
Or equal what between us made the odds,
In nature none: if other hidden cause
Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose.
He sat;
and in th' assembly next upstood
Nisroch, of Principalities the prime;
As one he stood escap'd from cruel fight,
Sore toil'd, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And cloudy in aspect thus answ'ring spake.
Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard
For Gods, and too unequal work we find,
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain'd, impassive; from which evil
Ruin must needs ensue, for what avails



Valour or strength, though matchless, quell'd with


« AnteriorContinuar »