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The throne of God unguarded, and his side
Abandon'd at the terror of thy power
Or potent tongue : fool, not to think how vain

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Against th' Omnipotent to rise in arms;
Who ought of smallest things could without end
Have rais'd incessant armies to defeat
Thy folly; or with solitary hand
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow

140 Unaided could have finish'd thee, and whelm'd Thy legions under darkness : but thou seest All are not of thy train; there be who faith Prefer, and piety to God, though then To thce not visible, when I alone

145 Seem'd in thy world erroneous to dissent From all : my sect thou seest ; now learn too late How few sometimes may know, when thousands err.

Wuom the grand foe with scornful eye askance Thus answer'd. Ill for thee, but in wish'd hour

150 Of my revenge, first sought for thou return'st From flight, seditious Angel, to receive Thy merited reward, the first assay Of this right hand provok', since first that tongue. Inspir'd with contradiction durst oppose

155 A third part of the Gods, in synod met Their deities to assert, who while they feel Vigour divine within them, can allow Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st Before thy fellows, ambitious to win From me some plume, that thy success may show Destruction to the rest : this pause between

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(Unanswer'd lest thou boast) to let thee know;
At first I thought that Liberty and Heaven
To heav'nly souls had been all one ; but now

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I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Minist’ring Spi'rits, traind up in feast and song;
Such hast thou arm’d, the minstrelsy of Heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove. 170

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern reply'd,
Apostate, still thou err’st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote :
Unjustly thou deprav'st it with the name
Of servitude to serve whom God ordains,

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Or nature; God and Nature bid the same,
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels
Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
To serve th' unwise, or him who hath rebell’d
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, 180
Thyself not free, but to thyself inthrall’d;
Yet lewdly dar’st our minist’ring upbraid.
Reign thou in Hell thy kingdom ; let me serve
In Heav'n God ever blest, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd ;'

185 Yet chains in Hell, not realms expect : meanwhile From me return’d, as erst thou saidst, from flight, This greeting on thy impious crest receive.

So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 190 On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight, Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield

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Such ruin intercept : ten paces huge
He back recoil'd; the tenth on bended knee
His massy spear upstay'd; as if on earth

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Winds under ground, or waters forcing way
Sidelong had push'd a mountain from his seat
Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage to see
Thus foil'd their mightiest : ours joy fill'd and shout,
Presage of victory, and fierce desire
Of battle : whereat Michaël bid sound
Th’Arch-Angel trumpet ; through the vast of Heav'n
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the High’st : nor stood at gaze 205
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock : now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in Heav'n till now
Was never; arms on armour clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots rag'd; dire was the noise
Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming vollies flew,
And flying vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rush'd

205 Both battles main, with ruinous assault And inextinguishable rage ; all Heaven Resounded, and had Earth been then, all Earth Had to her centre shook. What wonder? when Millions of fierce encountring Angels fqught On either side, the least of whom could wield These clements, and arm him with the force

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Of all their regions : how much more of power
Army against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb, 225
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not th' eternal King omnipotent
From his strong hold of Heav'n high over-rul'd
And limited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem'd

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A numerous host, in strength each armed hand
A legion, led in fight yet leader seem'd
Each warrior single as in chief, expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
Of battle, open when, and when to close

235 The ridges of grim war : no thought of light, None of retreat, no unbecoming deed That argued fear : each on himself rely'd, As only in his arm the moment lay Of victory : deeds of eternal fame

240 Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread That war and various, sometimes on firm ground A standing fight, then soaring on main wing Tormented all the air ; all air seem'd then Conflicting fire : long time in even scale

245 The battle hung ; till Satan, who that day Prodigious pow'r had shown, and met in arms No equal, ranging through the dire attack Of fighting Seraphim confus'd, at length Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and fellid 250 Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway Brandish'd aloft the horrid edge came down

Wide wasting : such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos’d the rocky orb
Oftenfold adamant, his ample shield,

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A vast circumference : At his approach
The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toil
Surceas'd, and glad as hoping here to end
Intestine war in Heav'n, th' arch-foe subdu'd,
Or captive dragg'd in chains, with hostile frown

260 And visage all inflam'd first thus began.

Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt, Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all, Though heaviest by just measure on thyself 265 And thy adherents : how hast thou disturb'd Heav'n's blessed peace, and into nature brought Misery, uncreated till the crime Of thy rebellion ? How hast thou instillid Thy malice into thousands, once upright

270 And faithful, now prov'd false ? But think not here To trouble holy rest ; Heav'n casts thee out From all her confines. Heav'n the seat of bliss Brooks not the works of violence and war. Hence then, and eyil go with thee along,

275 Thy offspring, to the place of evil, Hell, Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broils, Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom, Or some more sudden vengeance wing'd from God Precipitate thee with augmented pain.

280 So spake the prince of Angels; to whom thus The Adversary. Nor think thou with wind

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