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That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of spirits armed,
That durst dislike His reign, and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of heaven,
And shook His throne.

“What though the field be lost ?
All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overcome;
That glory never shall His wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify His power,
Who, from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted His empire ; that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy, and shame beneath
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail ;
Since, through experience of this great event,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage, by force or guile, eternal war,
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,
Who now triumphs, and in the excess of joy
Sole reigning, holds the tyranny of heaven !”
So spake the apostate angel, though in pain,
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair ;
And him thus answered soon his bold compeer.
“O Prince ! O Chief of many thronéd Powers,
That led the embattled seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endangered heaven's perpetual King,
And put to proof His high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate ;
Too well I see and rue the dire event,
That with sad overthrow and foul defeat,

Hath lost us heaven, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as gods and heavenly essences
Can perish ; for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,
Though all our glory extinct and happy state
Here swallowed up in endless misery.
But what if He our conqueror (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less
Than such could have o'erpowered such force as ours)
Hath left us this our spirit and strength entire,
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice His vengeful ire,
Or do Him mightier service, as His thralls
By right of war, whate'er His business be,
Here in the heart of hell to work in fire,
Or do His errands in the gloomy deep ;
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Strength undiminished, or eternal being
To undergo eternal punishment ?”

Whereto with speedy words the Arch-Fiend replied :
“Fallen Cherub! to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering ; but of this be sure,
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to His high will
Whom we resist. If then His providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil ;
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve Him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim.

“ But see! the angry victor hath recalled
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of heaven ; the sulphurous hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge that from the precipice

Of heaven received us falling; and the thunder,
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent His shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not miss the occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury, yield it from our foe.
“ Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of desolation, void of light, .
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful ? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves ;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
And, reassembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy; our own loss how repair ;
How overcome this dire calamity;
What reinforcements we may gain from hope ;
If not, what resolution from despair.”

THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE HOUSE OF

COMMONS. It is well known that the earliest writs of summons to cities and boroughs of which we can prove the existence, are those of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, bearing date 12th December, 1264, in the forty-ninth year of Henry III. After a long controversy, almost all judicious inquirers seem to have acquiesced in admitting this origin of popular representation. The argument may be very concisely stated. We find from innumerable records that the king imposed tallages upon his demesne towns at discretion. No public instrument, previous to the forty-ninth of Henry III., names the citizens and burgesses as constituent parts of Parliament; though prelates, barons, knights, and sometimes freeholders are enumerated ; whilst since the undoubted admission of the Commons, they are almost invariably mentioned. No historian speaks of representatives appearing for the people, or uses the word citizen or burgess in describing those present at Parliament. Such convincing though negative evidence is not to be invalidated by some general and ambiguous phrases, whether in writs and records or in historians. Matthew Paris tells us that in 1237 the whole kingdom repaired to a Parliament of Henry III. But such monkish annalists are poor authorities upon any point where their language is to be delicately measured. It is hardly possible that writing circumstantially, as Roger de Hovedon and Matthew Paris sometimes did, concerning proceedings in Parliament, they could have failed to mention the Commons in unequivocal expressions, if any representatives from that order had actually formed part of the assembly.

Two authorities, however, which have been supposed to prove a greater antiquity than we have assigned to the representations of the Commons, are deserving of particular consideration, the cases of St. Albans and Barnstaple. The burgesses of St. Albans complained to the Council in the eighth year of Edward II., that, although they held of the king in capite, and ought to attend his Parliaments whenever they are summoned, by two of their number, instead of all other services, as had been their custom in all past times, which services the said burgesses and their predecessors had performed in the time of the late king Edward and his ancestors, as in that of the present king until the Parliament now sitting, the names of their deputies having been constantly enrolled in Chancery, yet the sheriff of Hertfordshire, at the instigation of the Abbot of St. Albans, had neglected to cause an election and return to be made ; and prayed remedy. To this petition it was answered : “Let the rolls of Chancery be examined, that it may appear whether the said burgesses were accustomed to come to Parliament, or not, in the time of the king's ancestors, and let right be done them.”

This is, by far, the most plausible testimony for the early representation of boroughs. The burgesses of St. Albans claim a prescriptive right from the usage of all past times, and more especially those of the late Edward and his ancestors. Could this be alleged, it is said, of a privilege at the utmost of fifty years' standing, once granted by

an usurper in the days of the late king's father, and afterwards discontinued till about twenty years before the date of their petition, according to those who refer the regular appearance of the Commons to the twenty-third of Edward I. ? It was observed by Madox, that the petition of St. Albans contains two very singular allegations : it asserts that the town was part of the king's demesne, whereas it had invariably belonged to the adjoining abbey ; and that its burgesses held by the tenure of attending Parliament, instead of all other services, contrary to all analogy, and without parallel in the condition of any tenant in capite throughout the kingdom. “It is no wonder, therefore," says Hume, “that a petition which advances two falsehoods should contain one historical mistake, which, indeed, amounts only to an inaccurate expression.” But it must be confessed that we cannot so easily set aside the whole authority of this record. For whatever assurance the people of St. Albans might show in asserting what was untrue, the king's councils must have been aware how recently the deputies of any towns had been admitted into Parliament. If the lawful birth of the House of Commons were in 1295, as is maintained, is it conceivable that in 1315 the council would have received a petition claiming the elective franchise by prescription, and have referred to the rolls of Chancery to inquire whether this had been used in the days of the king's progenitors ? No answer can easily be given to this objection by such as adopt the latest epoch of borough representation, namely, the Parliament of the twenty-third year of Edward I.

But they are by no means equally conclusive against the supposition that the communities of cities and towns, having been first introduced into the legislature during Leicester's usurpation in the forty-ninth year of Henry III., were summoned, not perhaps uniformly, but without any long intermission, to succeeding Parliaments. There is a strong presumption from the language of a contemporary historian that they sat in the Parliament of 1269, four years after that convened by Leicester. It is more unequivocally stated by another annalist that they were present in the first Parliament of Edward I., held in 1271,

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