صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

We mean to hold what anciently we claim
Of deity or empire; such a foe
is rising, who intends to erect his throne
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north;
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try
In battle, what our pow'r is, or our right.
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw
With speed what force is left. and all employ
In our defence, lest unawares we lose
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.
To whom the son with calm

aspect

and clear, Lightning divine, ineffable, serene, Made answer: Mighty Father, thoi thy foes Justly hast in derision, and secure Laugh'st at their vain designs and tumults vain, Matter to me of glory, whom their hate Illustrates, when they see all regal power Giv'n me to quell their pride, and in event Know whether I be dextrous to subdue Thy rebels, or be found the worst in heav'n.

So spake the Son; but Satan with his powers Far was advanc'd on winged speed, a host Innumerable as the stars of night, Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun Impearls on every leaf and every flower. Regions they pass'd, the mighty regencies Of seraphim, and potentates, and thrones, In ineir triple degrees: regions to which All thy dominion, Adam, is no more Than what this garden is to all the earth, 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 hill, far blazing as a mount Rais'd on a mount, with pyramids and towers From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gol 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
Messiah was declar'd in sight of heav'n,
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 powers
If these magnific titles yet remain
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 heav'n 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 right
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

[ocr errors]

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,
Slood

up,

and in a flame 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 heav'n Expected, Jeast of all from thee, ingrate, In place thyself so high above thy peers. Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn The just decree of God, pronounc'd and sworn, That to his only Son by right endued With regal sceptre, every soul in Heaven Shail bend the knee, and in that honour due Confess him 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 unsiicceeded 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 heav'r 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 heppy 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 inade All things, e'en thee; and all the spirits of heav'n By him created in their bright degrees, Crown'd them with glory, and to their glory nam'd

Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virus, powers,
Essential pow'rs; nor by his reigu susitr'll,
Bul miore illustrious Ir ade; since he the head
One of our number thus reduc'd becomes ;
His laws our laws; all honour'io him done
Returns our own.

Cease then this impious rage,
And tempt not these; but hasten to appease
Th' incensed Father, and th' incensed Son,
While pardon may be found in time besough!.

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 bus reply'u:

That we were form’d then say'st thou ? and the work
Of secondary hands, by task transíerr'd
From Father to his Son ? sirange point and net!
Doctrine which we would know whence learn'd. ivic

saw
When this creation was ? remember'st thou
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being?
We know no time when we were not as pow;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-rais d
By our own quick’ning pow'r, when fatal course
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native hear'n, ethereal sons.
Our puissance is our own : our own right banú
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
Who is our equal : ihen thou shall behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begirt th' almighty throne
Beseeching cr besieging. This report,
These tidings carry to th' anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.

He said, and as the sound of waters deep,
Hoarse murmur echo'd to his words applause
Through the infinite host; nor less for that
The flaming seraph fearless, though alone,
Encompass'd round with foes, thus answerd bold

• O alienate from God, O spirit accurs'd,
Forsaken of all good; I see thy fall
Determin’d, and thy hapless 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 vouchsaf'd; other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recal ;
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 net: 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, unterrify'd,
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 pass'd
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustain'd
Superior, nor of violence fear'd ought;
And with retorted scorn his back he turn'd
On those proud tow'rs tr swift destruction dooin'j

END OF BOOK FIFTH.

« السابقةمتابعة »