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Hymning the Eternal Father: But the shout
Of battle 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, enclos’d
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 battle ere it join'd,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanc'd,
Came towering, arm’d in adamant and gold,
Abdiel that fight endur'd 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 rëalty
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
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 alive
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
Incens’d, and thus securely him defied.

Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reach'd The highth of thy aspiring unoppos’d, 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 rais'd incessant armies to defeat Thy folly; or with solitary hand Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow, Unaided, could have finished thee, and whelm'd Thy legions under darkness : But thou seest All are not of thy train; there be, whọ 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 learnı too late How few sometimes may know, when thousands err.

Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance, Thus answered. 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 provok’d, 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 com'st
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
Of 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,
Ministring Spirits, train'd up in feast and song!
Such hast thou arm’d, the minstrelsy of Heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove.

To whom in brief thus Addiel stern replied.
Apostate ! still thou err'st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote :
Unjustly 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 the unwise, or him who hath rebell's
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
Thyself not free, but to thyself enthrall’d;
Yet lewdly dar'st our ministring upbraid.
Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me serve
In Heaven God ever blest, and luis divine
Behests obey, worthiest to bę obey'd ;
Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect: mean while
From me return'd, as erst thou saidst, from fight,
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.

So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell
On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield,
Such ruin intercept: Then paces huge
He back recoild ; the tenth on bended knee
His massy spear upstaid; 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 seis'd
The rebel thrones, but greater rage, to see
Thus foil'd their miglitiest ; ours joy fill'd, and shout
Presage of victory, and fierce desire
Of battle : whereat Michaël bid sound
The Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vast of

Heaven
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze

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The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in Heaven till now
Was never; arms on armour clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
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 Heaven
Resounded; and had Earth been then, all Earth
Had to her center shook. What wonder ? when
Millions of fierce encountering 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 power
Army against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturh,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent,
From his strong hold of Heaven, high over-rul'd
And limited 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 warriour single as in chief, expert

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