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النشر الإلكتروني

High in 'he midst exalted as a God
Th' apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, enclos'd
With flaming cherubim and şolden shields ;
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for non
'Twixt host and host but narrow space was let's
A dreadful interval, and front to front
Presented, stood in terrible

array
Of hideous length: before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it join'd,
Satan with vast and haughty strides advanc'd
Came tow'ring, arm'd in adamant and gold:
Abdiel that sight endur'd not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores :

O heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest
Should yet remain, where faith and realty
Remain not: wherefore should not strength and migh
There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable ?
His puissance, trusting in th' Almighty's aid,
I mean to try, whose reason I have try'd
Unsound and false; nor is it ought but just,
That he who in debate of truth hath won,
Should win in arins, in both disputes alike
Victor: though brutish that contest

, and foul, When reason hath to deal with force, yet so Most reason is that reason overcome.

So pondering, and from his armed peers Forth stepping opposite, half-way he met His daring foe, at this prevention more Incens'd, and thus securely him defy'd :

Proud, art thou met ? thy hope was to have reach'd The height of thy aspiring unopposid, The throne of God unguarded, and his side Abandon'd at the terror of thy power Or potent longue : fool, not to ihink how vain Against th' Omnipotent to rise in arms; Who out 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
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 thee not visible, when I alone
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 ert

Whom the grand foe with scornful eye askance
Thus answer'd: Ill for thee, but in wish'd hour
Of my revenge first sought, for thou return'st
From fight, seditious angel, to receive
Thy merited reward, the first assay
Of this right hand provok'd, since first that tongue
Inspired with contradiction durst oppose
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
(Unanswer'd lest thou boast) to let thee know ;
At first I thought that liberty and heav'n
To heavenly souls had been all one; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Ministring spirits, train'd up in feast and song;
Such hast thou arm’d, the minstrelsy of heav'n,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove.

To whom in brief ihus Abdiel stern reply'd
Apostate, still thou err'st, nor end will find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote:
Unjust.y thou deprav'st it with the name
Of servitude to serve whom God ordains,
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,
Thyself not free, but to thyself inthral'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 :
Yet chains in hell, not realms expect : meanwhile
From me return'd as erst thou saidst, froin flight,
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.

So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
Which hung not, but so swist with tempest fell
On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield
Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge
He back recoil'd ; the tenth on bended knee
His massy spear upstay'd; as if on earth,
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 fillid, and shou
Presage of victory, and fierce desire
Of battle : whereat Michael bid sound
Th' arch-angel trumpet : through the vast of heav'n
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze
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 wheel:
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

Both battles main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage; all heav'n
Resounded, and had earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder ? when
Millions of fierce encount’ring angels fought
On either side, the least of whom could wield
These elements, and arm him with the force
Of all their regions : how much more of pow'r
Army against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
llad not th' eternal King omnipotent
From his strong hold of heav'n high over-rul'd
And lirnited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem'd
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
The ridges of grim war: no thought of flight,
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
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
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 fell!
Squadrons at once ; with huge two-handed sway
Brandish'd aloft the horrid edge came down
Wille wasting; such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos'd the rocky orb

Di tenfold adamant, his ample shield,
A vast circumference : at his approach
The great arch-angel from his warlike soil
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
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
And thy adherents : how hast thou disturbid
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
And faithful, now prov'd false? But think not nere
To trouble holy rest; heav'n cast thee out
From all her confines. Heav'n the seat of bliss
Brooks not the works of violence and war.
Hence then, and evil go with thee along,
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.

So spake the prince of angels : to whom thus The adversary : Nor think thou with wind Of airy threats to awe whom yet with deeds Thou canst not. Hast thou turn'd the least of these To fight, or if to fall, but that they rise Unvanquish'd, easier to transact with me, That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats To chase me hence ? err not that so shall end The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style The strife of glory : which we mean to win. Or turn this heav'n itself into the hell Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,

not to reign: mear while thy utmost force.

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