« PreviousContinue »
Torn from Pelorus ', or the shattered side
“Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,” Said then the lost Arch-Angel, “this the seat That we must change for heaven; this mournful gloom For that celestial light ? Be it so, since he Who now is Sovran, can dispose and bid What shall be right: farthest from Him is best, Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields, Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors ! hail, Infernal world! and thou, profoundest Hell, Receive thy new possessor ! one who brings A mind not to be changed by place or time: The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. What matter where, if I be still the same, And what I should be; all but less than he Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built Here for his envy, — will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure, and, in my choice, To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell : Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven ! But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, The associates and co-partners of our loss, Lie thus astonished on the oblivious pool, And call them not to share with us their part In this unhappy mansion ; or once more 1 The ancient name of Cape Faro the poets, flowed nine times round in Sicily.
the infernal regions. 2 Stygian — infernal ; from Styx, 5 The Italian form of the word the river of hate, which, according to “Sovereign.”
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
5 Nathless for na-the-less, or not % A town of Tuscany, near Flo- the less ; i. e. nevertheless.
6 Now the Val d'Ombrone, or of 3 Valdarno, or Val d'Arno; the Pistoja, one of the numerous valleys valley of the Arno.
which follow the course of the rivers 4 Åmmiral; any large ship.
that flow into the Arno.
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion 1 armed
“Princes, Potentates, Warriors, the flower of Heaven! once yours, now lost, If such astonishment as this can seize Eternal spirits ; or have ye chosen this place After the toil of battle to repose Your wearied virtue 4, for the ease you find To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven? Or in this abject posture have ye sworn To adore the Conqueror? who now beholds Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood, With scattered arms and ensigns; till anon5 His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern The advantage, and, descending, tread us down Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf. Awake! arise! or be for ever fallen!” They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung Upon the wing; as when men wonto to watch On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. 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 obeyed, Innumerable. As when the potent rod
1 A constellation, whose rising and 5 Anon — in one (moment), soon. setting was believed to be accompa- 6 Accustomed, or used. nied by storms and rain.
7 “Nor did they not,” &c., i e. ? Pharaoh, and his Egyptian host. they did perceive; a double negative 3 The Israelites.
- a Latin idiom. 4 Virtue is here used in its Latin sense - valour, courage.
Of Amram's son', in Egypt's evil day,
1 Moses. See Exod. vi. 20.
5 Here follows a catalogue of the 2 Commander, or sovereign. infernal spirits, whom the poet iden
3 Erst; up to the present time; tifies with the various heathen deities the superlative form of “ ere.'
of antiquity. 4 Rites, ceremonies.
All these and more came flocking; but with looks Downcast and damp; (yet such wherein appeared Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their Chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost In loss itself;) which on his countenance cast Líke doubtful hue; but he, his wonted pride Soon re-collecting, with high words, that bore Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears. Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound Of trumpets loud and clarions be upreared His mighty standard: that proud honour claimed Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall ; Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled The imperial ensign ; which, full high advanced, Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind, With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed, Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds : At which the universal host up sent A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. All in a moment through the gloom were seen Ten thousand banners rise into the air,
400 With orient colours waving : with them rose A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms Appeared, and serried shields in thick array Of depth immeasurable: anon they move In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood ? Of flutes and soft recorders ; such as raised To height of noblest temper heroes old Arming to battle; and instead of rage Deliberate valour breathed, firm and unmoved With dread of death to flight or foul retreat ; Nor wanting power to mitigate and 'suage With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain, From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,
1 The antecedent to “which” is the each other in pitch and interval. word “looks,” in line 377.
The principal of these were, the % There were several kinds of mu- Lydian, used at funerals; the Phrysical scales, or modes, in use among gian, on festive occasions; and the the ancients, supposed to differ from Dorian, in solemn processions.