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There rest, if any rest can harbor there;
Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
205 With fixéd anchor in his scaly rind Moors by his side under the lee, while night Invests the sea, and wished morn delays: So stretch'd out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay, Chain'd on the burning lake; nor ever thence Had risen, or heaved his head, but that the will And high permission of all-ruling Heaven Left him at large to his own dark designs ; That with reiterated crimes he might Heap on himself damnation, while he sought Evil to others; and, enraged, might see
216 How all his malice served but to bring forth Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shown On man, by him seduced; but on himself Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance pour'd. Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool His mighty stature; on each hand the flames, Driven backward, slope their pointing spires, and, roll'd In billows, leave i' the midst a horrid vale. Then with expanded wings he steers his flight Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air, That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights, if it were land that ever burn'd
" Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,”
So Satan spake; and him Beëlzebub Thus answer'd. “Leader of those armies bright, Which but the Omnipotent none could have foild! If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge Of battle when it raged, in all assaults Their surest signal, they will soon resume New courage and revive, though now they lie Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, 280 As we erewhile, astounded and amazed : No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height."
He scarce had ceased, when the superior Fiend Was moving toward the shore: his ponderous shield, Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, Behind him cast; the broad circumference Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views At evening from the top of Fesolé, Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe.
291 His spear, to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast Of some great ammiral, were but a wand, He walk'd with to support uneasy steps Over the burning marle, not like those steps On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire: Nathless he so endured, till on the beach Of that inflaméd sea he stood, and call’d His legions, angel forms, who lay entranced Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks 302 In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades High overarch'd imbower; or scatter'd sedge Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd Hath vex'd the Red Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew Busiris and his Memphian chivalry, While with perfidious hatred they pursued The sojourners of Goshen, who belield From the safe shore their floating carcases And broken chariot-wheels: so thick bestrown, Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, Under amazement of their hideous change.
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
They heard, and were abash'd, and up they sprung Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, y Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. / 334 Nor did they not perceive the evil plight In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel ; Yet to their general's voice they soon obey'd Innumerable. As when the potent rod Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day, Waved round the coast, up call'd a pitchy cloud Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind, That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nile: So numberless were those bad angels seen Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell,
345 'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires; Till, at a signal given, the uplifted spear Of their great Sultan waving to direct Their course, in even balance down they light On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain; A multitude, like which the populous north Pour'd never from her frozen loins, to pass Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons Came like a deluge on the South, and spread Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands. Forthwith from every squadron and each band 35€
The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last, Roused from the slumber, on that fiery couch,
377 At their great emperor's call, as next in worth Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof. The chief were those, who, from the pit of Hell Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durst fix Their seats long after next the seat of God, Their altars by his altar; gods adored Among the nations round; and durst abide Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned Between the cherubim; yea, often placed Within his sanctuary itself their shrines,
358 Abominations; and with cursed things His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned, And with their darkness durst affront his light. First, Moloch, horrid king, besmear'd with blood Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears; Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud, Their children's cries unheard, that pass'd through fire To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite Worshipp'd in Rabba and her watery plain, In Argob and in Basan, to the stream Of utmost Arnon: nor content with such