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We have the full majesty of Homer in this short description, improved by the imagination of Claudian, without its puerilities.

I need not point out the description of the fallen angels seeing the promontories hanging over their heads in such a dreadful manner, with the other numberless beauties in this book, which are so conspicuous, that they cannot escape the notice of the most ordinary reader.

There are indeed so many wonderful strokes of poetry in this book, and such a variety of sublime ideas, that it would have been impossible to have given them a place within the bounds of this paper.

In a word, Milton's genius, which was so great in itself, and so strengthened by all the helps of learning, appears in this book every way equal to his subject, which was the most sublime that could enter into the thoughts of a poet. As he knew all the arts of affecting the mind, he has given it certain resting-places, and opportunities of recovering itself from time to time; several speeches, reflections, similitudes, and the like reliefs, being interspersed to diversify his narration, and ease the attention of the reader.

ADDISOX.

BOOK VI.

THE ARGUMEN T.

RAPHAEL continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth

to battel against Satan and his angels. The first fight described. Satan and his powers retire under night: he calls a council; invents devilish engines, which, in the second day's fight, put Michael and his angels to some disorder; but they at length, pulling up mountains, overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan : yet, the tumult not so ending, God on the third day sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory. He, in the power of his Father, coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them, unable to resist, towards the wall of hea. ven; which opening, they leap down with horrour and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the deep. Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

10

All night the dreadless angel, unpursued,
Through heaven's wide champain held his way; till Morn,
Waked by the circling hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light. There is a cave
Within the mount of God, fast by his throne,
Where light and darkness in perpetual round
Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through heaven
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night;
Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour
To veil the heaven, though darkness there might well
Seem twilight here: and now went forth the Morn,
Such as in highest heaven, array'd in gold
Empyreal: from before her vanish'd Night,
Shot through, with orient beams; when all the plain, 15
Cover'd with thick embattel'd squadrons bright,
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:
War he perceived, war in procinct; and found
Already known what he for news had thought
To have reported: gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly powers, who him received
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,

1. The dreadless angel, that is, Abdiel, used, before going into the battle, to mentioned in the last of the preceding gird their flowing garments close about book.

them. Heuce the figurative allusion of 19. War in procinct. This is from the the apostle. " Wherefore gird up the loios Latin procinctus, and means girded fur, of your mind;" that is, be ready to " fight that is, ready girded; as the ancients' the good fight of faith.” 1 Peter i. 13.

That of so many myriads fallen, yet one
Return'd not lost. On to the sacred hill
They led him high applauded, and present
Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice,
From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard:

Servant of God, well done; well hast thou fought
The better fight, who single hast maintain'd
Against revolted multitudes the cause
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms;
And for the testimony of truth hast borne
Universal reproach, far worse to bear
Than violence; for this was all thy care,
To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds
Judged thee perverse: the easier conquest now
Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
Back on thy foes more glorious to return,
Than scorn'd thou didst depart; and to subdue
By force, who reason for their law refuse,
Right reason for their law, and for their King
Messiah, who by right of merit reigns.
Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince;
And thou, in military prowess next,
Gabriel, lead forth to battel these my sons
Invincible; lead forth my armed saints,
By thousands and by millions, ranged for fight,
Equal in number to that godless crew
Rebellious: them with fire and hostile arms
Fearless assault; and to the brow of heaven
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss,
Into their place of punishment, the gulf
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
His fiery chaos to receive their fall..

So spake the Sovran Voice, and clouds began To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow: At which command the powers militant, That stood for heaven, in mighty quadrate join'd Of union irresistible, moved on In silence their bright legions, to the sound Of instrumental harmony, that breathed Heroic ardour to adventurous deeds, Under their godlike leaders, in the cause Of God and his Messiah. On they move Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill, Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground

29. Abdiel signifies serrant of God in the Hebrew

58. Reluctant flames. The word reluctant is here used in the sense of its

original Latin, reluctari, “to struggle against," implying & most violent exertion of the fire to break through the smoke and clouds that envelop it.

Their march was, and the passive air upbore
Their nimble tread; as when the total kind
Of birds, in orderly array on wing,
Came summon'd over Eden to receive
Their names of thee; so over many a tract
Of heaven they march'd, and many a province wide,
Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last,
Far in the horizon to the north appear'd
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretch'd
In battailous aspect, and nearer view
Bristled with upright beams innumerable
Of rigid spears, and helmets throng'd, and shields
Various, with boastful argument portray'd,
The banded powers of Satan hasting on
With furious expedition; for they ween'd
That self-same day, by fight or by surprise,
To win the mount of God, and on his throne
To set the envier of his state, the proud
Aspirer: but their thoughts proved fond and vain
In the mid way. Though strange to us it seem'd
At first, that angel should with angel war,
And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire,
Hymning the Eternal Father: but the shout
of battel now began, and rushing sound
Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
High in the midst, exalted as a god,
The apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, enclosed
With flaming cherubim and golden shields;
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now
"Twixt host and host but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval; and front to front
Presented stood in terrible array
Of hideous length. Before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battel ere it join'd,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced,
Came towering, arm'd in adamant and gold.
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds;
And thus his own undaunted heart explores:

O heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest
Should yet remain, where faith and reälty
Remain not: wherefore should not strength and might
There fail where virtue fails? or weakest prove
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable?
His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid,

115 120

76. Of thee, that is, of Adam, to whom Raphael is coptinuing the narration.

$1. This image is amazing, picturesque, and magnificent.--BRYDGES.

93. Hosting, encounter, from hostis,
an enemy."
101. ldol, that is, representative.

135

130

135

140

I mean to try, whose reason I have tried
Unsound and false: nor is it aught but just,
That he, who in debate of truth hath won,
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
Victor; though brutish that contést 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
Incensed, and thus securely him defied:

Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reach'd
The highth of thy aspiring unopposed;
The throne of God unguarded, and his side
Abandon'd, at the terrour of thy power
Or potent tongue: fool! not to think how vain
Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms;
Who, out of smallest things could, without end,
Have raised 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 err.

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 flight, seditious angel! to receive
Thy merited reward, the first assay
Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue,
Inspir'd 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 comest
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 heaven
To heavenly souls had been all one; but now
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Ministering spirits, train'd up in feast and song:
Such hast thou arm’d, the minstrelsy of heaven,

145

150

155

160

165

139. Solitary hand, single hand.
161. The word success is here probably

used in the sense of ill-success, as in
book ii. 9.

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