Imatges de pÓgina
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PARADISE LOST.

intent

Some one,

mischief,

or inspired

With devilish machination, might devise

Like instrument to

Forthwith from

For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Plague the sons of men
None arguing stood; innumerable hands
A council to the work they flew
Were ready, in a moment up they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
The originals of nature in their crude
Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and with subtle art
To blackest grain, and into store convey'd.
Concocted and adjusted they reduced
Entrails unlike, of mineral and stone,
Part hidden veins digg'd up, nor hath this earth
Whereof to found their engines and their balls
Of missive ruin; part incentive reed
Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.

So all ere

Secret, they finish'd, and in order set,
With silent circumspection unespied.
day-spring, under conscious night

Now when fair morn orient in heaven appear'd
Up rose the victor-angels, and to arms
The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood
Of golden panoply, refulgent host,

Soon banded; others from the dawning hills
Look'd round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour
Each quarter, to descry the distant foe,

Where lodged, or whither fled; or if for fight,
In motion or in halt; him soon they met
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow
But firm battalion back with speediest sail
Zophiel, of cherubim the swiftest wing,
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried:

Arm, warriors, arm for fight, the foe at hand,
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit.
This day, fear not his flight; so thick a cloud
He comes, and settled in his face I see
Sad resolution and secure : let each

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His adamantine coat gird well, and each
Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,
Borne even or high; for this day will pour down,
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower,
But rattling storm of arrows barb'd with fire.

So warn'd he them, aware themselves, and soon
In order, quit of all impediment;
Instant without disturb they took alarm,
And onward move embattled; when, behold,
Not distant far with heavy pace the foe
Approaching gross and huge, in hollow cube
Training his devilish enginery, impaled
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,

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To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
Awhile; but suddenly at head appear'd
Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud:

Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold,
That all may see, who hate us, how we seek
Peace and composure, and with open breast
Stand ready to receive them, if they like
Our overture, and turn not back perverse;
But that I doubt; however witness heaven,
Heaven witness thou anon, while we discharge
Freely our part: ye who appointed stand
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
What we propound, and loud that all may hear

So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce
Had ended, when to right and left the front
Divided, and to either flank retired :

Which to our eyes discover'd, new and strange,
A triple mounted row of pillars, laid

On wheels, for like to pillars most they seem'd,
Or hollow'd bodies made of oak or fir,

With branches lopt, in wood or mountain fell'd,
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths
With hideous orifice gaped on us wide,
Portending hollow truce; at each behind
A seraph stood, and in his hand a reed

Stood waving tipt with fire; while we suspense
Collected stood within our thoughts amused;
Not long, for sudden all at once their reeds
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied

With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,

But soon obscured with smoke, all heaven appear'd,
From those deep-throated engines belch'd, whose roar

Embowell'd with outrageous noise the air,

And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul

Their devilish glut, chain'd thunderbolts and hail
Of iron globes, which on the victor host

Levell'd with such impetuous fury smote,

That whom they hit, none on their feet might stand,
Though standing else as rocks; but down they fell
By thousands, angel on archangel roll'd,

The sooner for their arms; unarm'd they might

Have easily as spirits evaded swift

By quick contraction or remove; but now

Foul dissipation follow'd and forced rout;

Nor served it to relax their serried files.

What should they do? if on they rush'd, repulse
Repeated, and indecent overthrow

Doubled, would render them yet more despised,

And to their foes a laughter; for in view
Stood rank'd of seraphim another fow,
In posture to displode their second tire
Of thunder: back defeated to return

PARADISE LOST.

abhorr d.

They worse

Satan beheld their plight,

And to his mates thus in derision call'd :
Erewhile they herce were coming, and when we,
O friends, why come not on these victors proud?
To entertain them fair with open front
And breast (what could we more?) propounded terms
Of composition, straight they changed their minds,
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,
Somewhat extravagant and wild, perhaps
As they would dance; yet for a dance they seem'd
For joy of offer'd peace: but I suppose,

If our proposals
We should

once

again were heard,
compel them to a quick result.

To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood:
Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight,
Of hard contents, and full of force urged home

Such as we

might perceive amused them all,

Had need from head to foot well understand;
And stumbled many; who receives them right,
Not understood, this gift they have besides,
They show us when our foes walk not upright.
So they among themselves in pleasant vein
Stood scoffing, heighten'd in their thoughts beyond
All doubt of victory; Eternal Might

To match with their inventions they presumed
So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn,

And all his host derided, while they stood
Awhile in trouble; but they stood not long;
Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms
Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
Forthwith, behold the excellence, the power
Which God hath in his mighty angels placed!
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills,
For earth hath this variety from heaven
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale,

Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew ;
From their foundations loosening to and fro
They pluck'd the seated hills with all their load,
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
Uplifting bore them in their hands. Amaze,
Be sure, and terror seized the rebel host,
When coming towards them so dread they saw
The bottom of the mountains upward turn'd;
Till on those cursed engines triple row
They saw them whelm'd, and all their confidence
Under the weight of mountains buried deep;
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads
Main promontories flung, which in the air

Came shadowing, and oppress'd whole legions arm'd ;
Their armour helped their harm, crush'd in and bruised.
Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain
Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,

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Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels
That shake heaven's basis, bring forth all my war
My bow and thunder, my almighty arms
Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh;
Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out
From all heaven's bounds into the utter deep;
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
God and Messiah his anointed King.

He said, and on his Son with rays direct
Shone full, he all his Father full express'd
Ineffably into his face received;

And thus the filial Godhead answering spake :
O Father, O Supreme of heavenly thrones,
First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou always seekst
To glorify thy Son; I always thee,

As is most just; this I my glory account,
My exaltation, and my whole delight,
That thou in me well pleased declarest thy will
Fulfill'd, which to fulfil is all my bliss.
Sceptre, and power, thy giving, I assume,
And gladlier shall resign, when in the end
Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee

For

ever, and in me all whom thou lovest:
But whom thou hatest, I hate, and can put on
Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,
Arm'd with thy might, rid heaven of these rebell'd,
To their prepared ill mansion driven down,

To chains of darkness and the undying worm;
That from thy just obedience could revolt,
Whom to obey is happiness entire.

Then shall thy saints unmix'd, and from the impure
Far separate, circling thy holy mount
Unfeigned hallelujahs to thee sing,

Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.

So said, he, o'er his sceptre bowing, rose From the right hand of glory where he sat ; And the third sacred morn began to shine, Dawning through heaven: forth rush'd with whirlwind

sound

The chariot of Paternal Deity,

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 sapphire throne, inlaid with pure
Amber, and colours of the showery arch.
He, in celestial panoply all arm'd

Of radiant Urim-work divinely wrought,

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