Imatges de pÓgina

With orient colours waving: with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appear'd; and serried shields, in thick array,
Of depth immeasurable: anon they move
550 In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood

Of flutes, and soft recorders; such as rais'd
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle; and, instead of rage,

Delib'rate valour breath'd, firm, and unmov'd 555 With dread of death to flight, or foul retreat; Nor wanting power to mitigate and 'suage,

With solemn touches, troubled thoughts; and chase Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain, From mortal, or immortal minds. Thus they, 560 Breathing united force, with fixed thought

Mov'd on in silence to soft pipes, that charm'd
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil and now,
Advanc'd in view, they stand; a horrid front
Of dreadful length, and dazzling arms! in guise
565 Of warriors old with order'd spear and shield;
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose. He through the armed files
Darts his experienc'd eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views-their order due-
570 Their visages and stature as of gods—

Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and hard'ning in his strength
Glories for never, since created man,

Met such embodied force, as, nam'd with these, 575 Could merit more than that small infantry

Warr'd on by cranes; though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were join'd
That fought at Thebes, and Ilium, on each side
Mix'd with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
580 In fable or romance of Uther's son

Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptiz'd or infidel,
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban,

Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond;
585 Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore,
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess yet observ'd
Their dread commander: he, above the rest
590 In shape and gesture proudly eminent,

Stood like a tow'r : his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appear'd
Less than archangel ruin'd, and th' excess
Of glory obscur'd: as when the sun, new ris'n,
595 Looks through the horizontal misty air

Shorn of his beams; or, from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds

On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs; darken'd so, yet shone
600 Above them all th' Arch-Angel: but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd; and care.
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast
605 Signs of remorse and passion, to behold
The fellows of his crime,-the followers rather,-
(Far other once beheld in bliss!) condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain:
Millions of spirits for his fault amerc'd

610 Of heav'n, and from eternal splendours flung For his revolt! yet faithful how they stood, Their glory wither'd! as when heaven's fire Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines, With singed top their stately growth, though bare, 615 Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepar'd

To speak whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half enclose him round. With all his peers; attention held them mute: Thrice he assay'd, and thrice, in spite of scorn, 620 Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth: at last Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way.

"O myriads of immortal spirits! O pow'rs Matchless, but with the Almighty! and that strife "Was not inglorious; though the event was dire, 625"As this place testifies, and this dire change "Hateful to utter! But what power of mind, "Foreseeing, or presaging, from the depth "Of knowledge, past or present, could have fear'd "How such united force of gods,-how such 630"As stood like these, could ever know repulse? "For who can yet believe, though after loss, "That all these puissant legions, whose exile "Hath emptied heaven, shall fail to reascend, "Self-rais'd, and repossess their native seat? 635"For me,-be witness all the host of heav'n, "If counsels different, or dangers shunn'd


By me, have lost our hopes! But He who reigns. "Monarch in Heav'n, till then as one secure "Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute, 640"Consent, or custom; and his regal state

"Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal'd,
"Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
"Henceforth his might we know, and know our own;
"So as not either to provoke, or dread

645"New war, provok'd. Our better part remains
"To work in close design, by fraud or guile,
"What force effected not; that he no less

"At length from us may find, who overcomes


By force, hath overcome but half his foe.

650"Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife

"There went a fame in heaven, that He ere long
"Intended to create; and therein plant

"A generation, whom his choice regard
"Should favour, equal to the sons of heaven:
655"Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
"Our first eruption; thither or elsewhere;

"For this infernal pit shall never hold

"Celestial spirits in bondage, nor th' abyss

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"Full counsel must mature: peace

is despair'd;

"For who can think submission? War then,-war, "Open or understood, must be resolv'd."

He spake; and, to confirm his words, out flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs 665 Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze

Far round illumin'd hell: highly they rag'd
Against the Highest; and fierce, with grasped arms,
Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war,
Hurling defiance toward the vault of heav'n.
670 There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top
Belch'd fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire
Shone with a glossy scurf; undoubted sign
That in his womb was hid metallic ore,

The work of sulphur. Thither, wing'd with speed,
675 A num'rous brigade hasten'd: as when bands
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe arm'd,
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
Or cast a rampart. MAMMON led them on:
MAMMON, the least erected spirit that fell

680 From heav'n; for e'en in heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold,
Than aught, divine or holy, else enjoy'd

In vision beatific by him first

685 Men also, and by his suggestion taught,

Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands,
Rifled the bowels of their mother earth,

For treasures, better hid. Soon had his crew
Open'd into the hill a spacious wound,

690 And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire
That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those,
Who boast in mortal things, and wond'ring tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings,
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,
And strength, and art, are easily outdone
By spirits reprobate; and in an hour


What in an age they with incessant toil
And hands innumerable scarce perform.
700 Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepar'd,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluic'd from the lake, a second multitude,
With wondrous art, founded the massy ore,
Sev'ring each kind, and scumm'd the bullion dross:
705 A third as soon had form'd within the ground
A various mould, and from the boiling cells
By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook:
As in an organ, from one blast of wind,


To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.
Anon, out of the earth a fabric huge

Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies, and voices sweet;
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars, overlaid

715 With golden architrave: nor did there want
Cornice, or frieze, with bossy sculptures grav'n;
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo, such magnificence
Equall'd in all their glories, to enshrine
720 Belus, or Serapis, their gods; or seat

Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile

Stood fix'd her stately height: and straight the doors,
Op'ning their brazen folds, discover, wide

725 Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof,
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light
730 As from a sky. The hasty multitude

Admiring enter'd; and the work some praise,
And some the architect: his hand was known
In heav'n by many a tower'd structure high,
Where sceptred angels held their residence,
735 And sat as princes; whom the supreme King

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