« السابقةمتابعة »
And all the sea, from one entire globose
Stretch'd into longitude; which, having pass'd
At length into the limits of the north
They came ; and Satan to his royal seat
High on a bill, far blazing, as a mount
Rais'd on a mount, with pyramids and towers
From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold;
The palace of great Lucifer, (so call
That structure in the dialect of men
Interpreted,) which not long after he,
Affecting all equality with God,
In imitation of that mount whereon
Messiab was declar'd in sight of heaven,
The Mountain of the Congregation callid;
For thither he assembled all his train,
Pretending so commanded, to consult
About the great reception of their King
Thither to come, and with calumnious art
Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears :
“ « Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues,
If these magnific titles yet remain (powers!
Not merely titular, since by decree
Another now hath to himself engross'd
All power, and us eclips'd, under the name
Of King Anointed; for whom all this haste
Of midnight march, and hurried meeting here;
This only to consult how we may best,
With what may be devis'd of honours new,
Receive him, coming to receive from us
Knee-tribute, yet unpaid; prostration vile!
Too much to one, but double how endur'd!
To one, and to his image now proclaim'd ?
But what if better counsels might erect
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke ?
Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend
The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust
To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves
Natives and sons of heaven, possess'd before
By none, and if not equal all, yet free,
Equally free; for orders and degrees
Jar not with liberty, but well consist.
Who can in reason then, or right, assume
Monarchy over such as live by rigbt
His equals; if in power and splendour less,
In freedom equal? Or can introduce
Law and edict on us, who without law
Err not? much less for this to be our Lord,
And look for adoration, to th' abuse
Of those imperial titles, which assert
Our being ordain’d to govern, not to serve !'
“ Thus far his bold discourse without control
Had audience; when among the seraphim
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal ador'd
The Deity', and divine commands obey'd,
Stood up, and in a fame of zeal severe,
The current of his fury thus oppos'd:
“! O argument blasphemous, false and proud !
Words which no ear ever to hear in heaven
Expected, least of all from thee, ingrate!
In place thyself so high above thy peers.
Canst thou with impious oblcquy condemn
The just decree of God, pronounc'd and sworn,
That to his only Son, by right endu'd
With regal sceptre, every soul in heaven
Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due
Confess bim rightful King? 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 lie is; how far from thought
To make us less, bent rather to exalt
Our happy state, under one head more near
United. But to grant it thee unjust,
That equal over equals monarch reign :
Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count,
Or all angelic nature join'd in one,
Equal to him, begotten Son ? 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 nam'd
Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers,
Essential powers! nor by his reign obscurd,
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
Tb' incensed Father, and th' 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 rejoic'd
Th' apostate, and more haughty thus replied:
• That we are 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
When this creation was? remember'st thou [saw
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
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 th' Almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings, carry to th' anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy Aight.'
“ He said, and, as the sound of waters deep, Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause Though the infinite bost i nor less for that
The flaming seraph, fearless, though alone
Encompass'd round with foes, thus answer'd bold;
6. O alienate from God, O spirit accurs'd,
Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall
Determin’d, and thy bapless crew involv'd
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread
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 vouclisaf'd: other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recall :
That golden sceptre 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,
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, unmovid,
Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterribed,
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;
Nor number, nor example, with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
Though single. From amidst them forth he passid,
Long way through bostile scorn, which he sustain'd
Superior, nor of violence fear'd ought;
And with retorted scorn his back he turn'd
On those proud towers to swist destruction doom'd
THE ARGUMENT. Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battle against Satan and his angels. The first tight 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, overwhelmed 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 champaign 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 ber hour To veil the heaven, tho* darkness there might well Seem twilight bere: and now went forth the morn, Such as in highest heaven, array'd in gold, Empyreal; from before her vanish'd night, Shot thro' with orient beams; when all the plain, Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright, Chariots, and Aaming arms, and fiery steeds, Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view. War he perceiv’d, war in procinct, and found,