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Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due 817
Confess him rightful King 3 unjust, thou say'st,
Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free,
And equal over equals to let reign,
One over all with unsucceeded power.
Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute
With him the points of liberty, who made
Thee what thou art, and form'd the Powers of Heaven
Such as he pleas'd, and circumscrib'd their being :
Yet, by experience taught, we know how good,
And of our good and of our dignity
How provident he is ; how far from thought
To make us less, bent rather to exalt
Our happy state, under one head more near 830
United. But to grant it thee unjust,
That equal over equals monarch reign :
Thyself though great and glorious, dost thou count,
Or all angelick nature join’d in one,
Equal to him, begotten Son 3 by whom,
As by his Word, the mighty Father made
All things, even thee; and all the Spirits of Heaven
By him created in their bright degrees,
Crown'd them with glory, and to their glory named
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, 840
Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscur'd,
But more illustrious made ; since he the Head,
One of our number thus reduc’d becomes;
His laws our laws; all honour to him done
Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage,
And tempt not these ; but hasten to appease
The incensed Father and the incensed Son,
While pardon may be found in time besought.
So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal
None seconded, as out of season judg’d,

Or singular and rash: Whereat rejoiced 851
The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied:
That we were form'd then, say'st thou? and the work
Of secondary hands, by task transferr'd
From Father to his Son strange point and new
Doctrine which we would know whence learn'd: who saw
Whence this creation was 4 remember'st thou
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being
We know no time when we were not as now ;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-rais'd 860
By our own quick’ning 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 begirt the almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings carry to the anointed King; 870
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.
0 alienate from God, O Spirit accurs'd,
Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall
Determin'd, and thy hapless crew involved
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread 880
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 vouchsafd; other decrees

Against thee are gone forth without recall; 885
That golden scepter, 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 890
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, unmov’d,
Unshaken, unseduc’d, unterrified.
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal; 900
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
Superiour, nor of violence fear'd aught;
And, with retorted scorn, his back he turn'd
On those proud towers to swift destruction doom'd.

BOOK WI.

THE ARGUMENT.

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, overwhelm 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 champain held his way; till Morn,

Wak'd 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 Heaven

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 perceiv'd, war in procinct; and found 19
Already known what he for news had thought
To have reported : Gladly then he mix’d
Among those friendly Powers, who him receiv'd
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, 30
Against revolted multitudes, the cause
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms;
And for the testimony of truth has borne
Universal reproach, far worse to bear
Than violence; for this was all thy care,
To stand approv’d in sight of God, though worlds
Judg’d 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 40
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 my sons
Invincible; lead forth my armed saints,
By thousands and by millions, rang'd for fight,
Equal in number to that godless crew
Rebellious : Them with fire and hostile arms 50
Fearless assault; and, to the brow of Heaven

• ‘Procinct: i. e., on the very point of beginning.

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