Paradise Lost, by John Milton

Book VI

The Argument

Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to Battel against Satan and his Angels. The first Fight describ’d: Satan and his Powers retire under Night: He calls a Councel, invents devilish Engines, which in the second dayes Fight put Michael and his Angels to some disorder; But they at length pulling up Mountains overwhelm’d both the force and Machins of Satan: Yet the Tumult not so ending, God on the third day sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserv’d the glory of that Victory: Hee 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 Heaven; which opening, they leap down with horrour and confusion into the place of punishment prepar’d for them in the Deep: Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

All night the dreadless Angel unpursu’d

Through Heav’ns wide Champain held his way, till Morn,

Wak’t by the circling Hours, with rosie 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 Heav’n

Grateful vicissitude, like Day and Night;

Light issues forth, and at the other dore

Obsequious darkness enters, till her houre

To veile the Heav’n, though darkness there might well

Seem twilight here; and now went forth the Morn

Such as in highest Heav’n, arrayd in Gold

Empyreal, from before her vanisht Night,

Shot through with orient Beams: when all the Plain

Coverd with thick embatteld Squadrons bright,

Chariots and flaming Armes, and fierie Steeds

Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:

Warr he perceav’d, warr in procinct, and found

Already known what he for news had thought

To have reported: gladly then he mixt

Among those friendly Powers who him receav’d

With joy and acclamations loud, that one

That of so many Myriads fall’n, yet one

Returnd not lost: On to the sacred hill

They led him high applauded, and present

Before the seat supream; from whence a voice

From midst a Golden Cloud thus milde was heard.

Servant of God, well done, well hast thou fought

The better fight, who single hast maintaind

Against revolted multitudes the Cause

Of Truth, in word mightier then they in Armes;

And for the testimonie of Truth hast born

Universal reproach, far worse to heare

Then violence: for this was all thy care

To stand approv’d in sight of God, though Worlds

Judg’d thee perverse: the easier conquest now

Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,

Back on thy foes more glorious to return

Then scornd thou didst depart, and to subdue

By force, who reason for thir Law refuse,

Right reason for thir Law, and for thir King

Messiah, who by right of merit Reigns.

Goe 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 rang’d for fight;

Equal in number to that Godless crew

Rebellious, them with Fire and hostile Arms

Fearless assault, and to the brow of Heav’n

Pursuing drive them out from God and bliss,

Into thir place of punishment, the Gulf

Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide

His fiery Chaos to receave thir fall.

So spake the Sovran voice, and Clouds began

To darken all the Hill, and smoak to rowl

In duskie wreathes, reluctant flames, the signe

Of wrauth awak’t: nor with less dread the loud

Ethereal Trumpet from on high gan blow:

At which command the Powers Militant,

That stood for Heav’n, in mighty Quadrate joyn’d

Of Union irresistible, mov’d on

In silence thir bright Legions, to the sound

Of instrumental Harmonie that breath’ d

Heroic Ardor to advent’rous deeds

Under thir God-like Leaders, in the Cause

Of God and his Messiah. On they move

Indissolubly firm; nor obvious Hill,

Nor streit’ning Vale, nor Wood, nor Stream divides

Thir perfet ranks; for high above the ground

Thir march was, and the passive Air upbore

Thir nimble tread; as when the total kind

Of Birds in orderly array on wing

Came summond over Eden to receive

Thir names of thee; so over many a tract

Of Heav’n they march’d, and many a Province wide

Tenfold the length of this terrene: at last

Farr in th’ Horizon to the North appeer’d

From skirt to skirt a fierie Region, stretcht

In battailous aspect, and neerer view

Bristl’d with upright beams innumerable

Of rigid Spears, and Helmets throng’d, and Shields

Various, with boastful Argument portraid,

The banded Powers of Satan hasting on

With furious expedition; for they weend

That self same day by fight, or by surprize

To win the Mount of God, and on his Throne

To set the envier of his State, the proud

Aspirer, but thir thoughts prov’d fond and and vain

In the mid way: though strange to us it seemd

At first, that Angel should with Angel warr,

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 th’ 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

Th’ Apostat in his Sun-bright Chariot sate

Idol of Majestie 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 cloudie Van,

On the rough edge of battel ere it joyn’d,

Satan with vast and haughtie strides advanc’t,

Came towring, armd 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 realtie

Remain not; wherefore should not strength & might

There fail where Vertue fails, or weakest prove

Where boldest; though to sight unconquerable?

His puissance, trusting in th’ Almightie’s aide,

I mean to try, whose Reason I have tri’d

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 contest and foule,

When Reason hath to deal with force, yet so

Most reason is that Reason overcome.

So pondering, and from his armed Peers

way stepping opposite, half way he met

His daring foe, at this prevention more

Incens’t, and thus securely him defi’d.

Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reacht

The highth of thy aspiring unoppos’d,

The Throne of God unguarded, and his side

Abandoned at the terror of thy Power

Or potent tongue; fool, not to think 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 solitarie hand

Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow

Unaided could have finisht thee, and whelmd

Thy Legions under darkness; but thou seest

All are not of thy Train; there be who Faith

Prefer, and Pietie to God, though then

To thee not visible, when I alone

Seemed in thy World erroneous to dissent

From all: my Sect thou seest, now learn too late

How few somtimes may know, when thousands err.

Whom the grand foe with scornful eye askance

Thus answerd. Ill for thee, but in wisht houre

Of my revenge, first sought for thou returnst

From flight, seditious Angel, to receave

Thy merited reward, the first assay

Of this right hand provok’t, since first that tongue

Inspir’d with contradiction durst oppose

A third part of the Gods, in Synod met

Thir Deities to assert, who while they feel

Vigour Divine within them, can allow

Omnipotence to none. But well thou comst

Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

From me som Plume, that thy success may show

Destruction to the rest: this pause between

(Unanswerd least thou boast) to let thee know;

At first I thought that Libertie and Heav’n

To heav’nly Soules had bin all one; but now

I see that most through sloth had rather serve,

Ministring Spirits, trained up in Feast and Song;

Such hast thou arm’d, the Minstrelsie of Heav’n,

Servilitie with freedom to contend,

As both thir deeds compar’d this day shall prove.

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern repli’d.

Apostat still thou errst, 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 excells

Them whom he governs. This is servitude,

To serve th’ unwise, or him who hath rebelld

Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,

Thy self not free, but to thy self enthrall’d;

Yet leudly dar’st our ministring upbraid.

Reign thou in Hell thy Kingdom, let mee serve

In Heav’n God ever blest, and his Divine

Behests obey, worthiest to be obey’d,

Yet Chains in Hell, not Realms expect: mean while

From mee returnd, as erst thou saidst, from flight,

This greeting on thy impious Crest receive.

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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: ten paces huge

He back recoild; the tenth on bended knee

His massie Spear upstaid; as if on Earth

Winds under ground or waters forcing way

Sidelong, had push’t 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 thir mightiest, ours joy filld, and shout,

Presage of Victorie and fierce desire

Of Battel: 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 joyn’d

The horrid shock: now storming furie rose,

And clamour such as heard in Heav’n till now

Was never, Arms on Armour clashing bray’d

Horrible discord, and the madding Wheeles

Of brazen Chariots rag’d; dire was the noise

Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss

Of fiery Darts in flaming volies flew,

And flying vaulted either Host with fire.

So under fierie Cope together rush’d

Both Battels maine, with ruinous assault

And inextinguishable rage; all Heav’n

Resounded, and had Earth bin then, all Earth

Had to her Center shook. What wonder? when

Millions of fierce encountring Angels fought

On either side, the least of whom could weild

These Elements, and arm him with the force

Of all thir Regions: how much more of Power

Armie against Armie numberless to raise

Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,

Though not destroy, thir happie Native seat;

Had not th’ Eternal King Omnipotent

From his strong hold of Heav’n high over-rul’d

And limited thir might; though numberd such

As each divided Legion might have seemed

A numerous Host, in strength each armed hand

A Legion; led in fight, yet Leader seemd

Each Warriour single as in Chief, expert

When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway

Of Battel, open when, and when to close

The ridges of grim Warr; no thought of flight,

None of retreat, no unbecoming deed

That argu’d fear; each on himself reli’d,

As onely in his arm the moment lay

Of victorie; deeds of eternal fame

Were don, but infinite: for wide was spred

That Warr and various; somtimes on firm ground

A standing fight, then soaring on main wing

Tormented all the Air; all Air seemd then

Conflicting Fire: long time in eeven scale

The Battel hung; till Satan, who that day

Prodigious power had shewn, and met in Armes

No equal, raunging through the dire attack

Of fighting Seraphim confus’d, at length

Saw where the Sword of Michael smote, and fell’d

Squadrons at once, with huge two-handed sway

Brandisht aloft the horrid edge came down

Wide wasting; such destruction to withstand

He hasted, and oppos’d the rockie Orb

Of tenfold Adamant, his ample Shield

A vast circumference: At his approach

The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toile

Surceas’d, and glad as hoping here to end

Intestine War in Heav’n, the arch foe subdu’d

Or Captive drag’d in Chains, with hostile frown

And visage all enflam’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 thy self

And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb’d

Heav’ns blessed peace, and into Nature brought

Miserie, uncreated till the crime

Of thy Rebellion? how hast thou instill’d

Thy malice into thousands, once upright

And faithful, now prov’d false. But think not here

To trouble Holy Rest; Heav’n casts thee out

From all her Confines. Heav’n the seat of bliss

Brooks not the works of violence and Warr.

Hence then, and evil go with thee along

Thy ofspring, to the place of evil, Hell,

Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broiles,

Ere this avenging Sword begin thy doome,

Or som more sudden vengeance wing’d from God

Precipitate thee with augmented paine.

So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus

The Adversarie. Nor think thou with wind

Of airie threats to aw whom yet with deeds

Thou canst not. Hast thou turnd the least of these

To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise

Unvanquisht, easier to transact with mee

That thou shouldst hope, imperious, & with threats

To chase me hence? erre not that so shall end

The strife which thou call’st evil, but wee style

The strife of Glorie: which we mean to win,

Or turn this Heav’n it self into the Hell

Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,

If not to reign: mean while thy utmost force,

And join him nam’d Almightie to thy aid,

I flie not, but have sought thee farr and nigh.

They ended parle, and both addrest for fight

Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue

Of Angels, can relate, or to what things

Liken on Earth conspicuous, that may lift

Human imagination to such highth

Of Godlike Power: for likest Gods they seemd,

Stood they or mov’d, in stature, motion, arms

Fit to decide the Empire of great Heav’n.

Now wav’d thir fierie Swords, and in the Aire

Made horrid Circles; two broad Suns thir Shields

Blaz’d opposite, while expectation stood

In horror; from each hand with speed retir’d

Where erst was thickest fight, th’ Angelic throng,

And left large field, unsafe within the wind

Of such commotion, such as to set forth

Great things by small, if Natures concord broke,

Among the Constellations warr were sprung,

Two Planets rushing from aspect maligne

Of fiercest opposition in mid Skie,

Should combat, and thir jarring Sphears confound.

Together both with next to Almightie Arme,

Uplifted imminent one stroke they aim’d

That might determine, and not need repeate,

As not of power, at once; nor odds appeerd

In might or swift prevention; but the sword

Of Michael from the Armorie of God

Was giv’n him temperd so, that neither keen

Nor solid might resist that edge: it met

The sword of Satan with steep force to smite

Descending, and in half cut sheere, nor staid,

But with swift wheele reverse, deep entring shar’d

All his right side; then Satan first knew pain,

And writh’ d him to and fro convolv’d; so sore

The griding sword with discontinuous wound

Pass’d through him, but th’ Ethereal substance clos’d

Not long divisible, and from the gash

A stream of Nectarous humor issuing flow’d

Sanguin, such as Celestial Spirits may bleed,

And all his Armour staind ere while so bright.

Forthwith on all sides to his aide was run

By Angels many and strong, who interpos’d

Defence, while others bore him on thir Shields

Back to his Chariot; where it stood retir’d

From off the files of warr: there they him laid

Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame

To find himself not matchless, and his pride

Humbl’d by such rebuke, so farr beneath

His confidence to equal God in power.

Yet soon he heal’d; for Spirits that live throughout

Vital in every part, not as frail man

In Entrailes, Heart or Head, Liver or Reines,

Cannot but by annihilating die;

Nor in thir liquid texture mortal wound

Receive, no more then can the fluid Aire:

All Heart they live, all Head, all Eye, all Eare,

All Intellect, all Sense, and as they please,

They Limb themselves, and colour, shape or size

Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.

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Then Satan first knew pain,
And writh’ d him to and fro.

Mean while in other parts like deeds deservd

Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,

And with fierce Ensignes pierc’d the deep array

Of Moloc furious King, who him defi’d

And at his Chariot wheeles to drag him bound

Threatn’d, nor from the Holie One of Heav’n

Refrein’d his tongue blasphemous; but anon

Down clov’n to the waste, with shatterd Armes

And uncouth paine fled bellowing. On each wing

Uriel and Raphael his vaunting foe,

Though huge, and in a Rock of Diamond Armd,

Vanquish’d Adramelec, and Asmadai,

Two potent Thrones, that to be less then Gods

Disdain’d, but meaner thoughts learnd in thir flight,

Mangl’d with gastly wounds through Plate and Maile.

Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy

The Atheist crew, but with redoubl’d blow

Ariel and Arioc, and the violence

Of Ramiel scorcht and blasted overthrew.

I might relate of thousands, and thir names

Eternize here on Earth; but those elect

Angels contented with thir fame in Heav’n

Seek not the praise of men; the other sort

In might though wondrous and in Acts of Warr,

Nor of Renown less eager, yet by doome

Canceld from Heav’n and sacred memorie,

Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.

For strength from Truth divided and from Just,

Illaudable, naught merits but dispraise

And ignomime, yet to glorie aspires

Vain glorious, and through infamie seeks fame:

Therfore Eternal silence be thir doome.

And now thir mightiest quelld, the battel swerv’d,

With many an inrode gor’d; deformed rout

Enter’d, and foul disorder; all the ground

With shiverd armour strow’n, and on a heap

Chariot and Charioter lay overturnd

And fierie foaming Steeds; what stood, recoyld

Orewearied, through the faint Satanic Host

Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surpris’d,

Then first with fear surpris’d and sense of paine

Fled ignominious, to such evil brought

By sinne of disobedience, till that hour

Not liable to fear or flight or paine.

Far otherwise th’ inviolable Saints

In Cubic Phalanx firm advanc’t entire,

Invulnerable, impenitrably arm’d:

Such high advantages thir innocence

Gave them above thir foes, not to have sinnd,

Not to have disobei’d; in fight they stood

Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain’d

By wound, though from thir place by violence mov’d.

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Now Night her course began

Now Night her course began, and over Heav’n

Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos’d,

And silence on the odious dinn of Warr:

Under her Cloudie covert both retir’d,

Victor and Vanquisht: on the foughten field

Michael and his Angels prevalent

Encamping, plac’d in Guard thir Watches round,

Cherubic waving fires: on th’ other part

Satan with his rebellious disappeerd,

Far in the dark dislodg’d, and void of rest,

His Potentates to Councel call’d by night;

And in the midst thus undismai’d began.

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On the foughten field
Michael and his Angels prevalent
Encamping, plac’d in Guard thir Watches round

O now in danger tri’d, now known in Armes

Not to be overpower’d, Companions deare,

Found worthy not of Libertie alone,

Too mean pretense, but what we more affect,

Honour, Dominion, Glorie, and renowne,

Who have sustaind one day in doubtful fight,

(And if one day, why not Eternal dayes?)

What Heavens Lord had powerfullest to send

Against us from about his Throne, and judg’d

Sufficient to subdue us to his will,

But proves not so: then fallible, it seems,

Of future we may deem him, though till now

Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm’d,

Some disadvantage we endur’d and paine,

Till now not known, but known as soon contemnd,

Since now we find this our Empyreal forme

Incapable of mortal injurie

Imperishable, and though peirc’d with wound,

Soon closing, and by native vigour heal’d.

Of evil then so small as easie think

The remedie; perhaps more valid Armes,

Weapons more violent, when next we meet,

May serve to better us, and worse our foes,

Or equal what between us made the odds,

In Nature none: if other hidden cause

Left them Superiour, while we can preserve

Unhurt our mindes, and understanding sound,

Due search and consultation will disclose.

He sat; and in th’ assembly next upstood

Nisroc, of Principalities the prime;

As one he stood escap’t from cruel fight,

Sore toild, his riv’n Armes to havoc hewn,

And cloudie in aspect thus answering spake.

Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free

Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard

For Gods, and too unequal work we find

Against unequal armes to fight in paine,

Against unpaind, impassive; from which evil

Ruin must needs ensue; for what availes

Valour or strength, though matchless, quelld with pain

Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands

Of Mightiest. Sense of pleasure we may well

Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,

But live content, which is the calmest life:

But pain is perfet miserie, the worst

Of evils, and excessive, overturnes

All patience. He who therefore can invent

With what more forcible we may offend

Our yet unwounded Enemies, or arme

Our selves with like defence, to mee deserves

No less then for deliverance what we owe.

Whereto with look compos’d Satan repli’d.

Not uninvented that, which thou aright

Beleivst so main to our success, I bring;

Which of us who beholds the bright surface

Of this Ethereous mould whereon we stand,

This continent of spacious Heav’n, adornd

With Plant, Fruit, Flour Ambrosial, Gemms & Gold,

Whose Eye so superficially surveyes

These things, as not to mind from whence they grow

Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,

Of spiritous and fierie spume, till toucht

With Heav’ns ray, and temperd they shoot forth

So beauteous, op’ning to the ambient light.

These in thir dark Nativitie the Deep

Shall yeild us, pregnant with infernal flame,

Which into hollow Engins long and round

Thick-rammd, at th’ other bore with touch of fire

Dilated and infuriate shall send forth

From far with thundring noise among our foes

Such implements of mischief as shall dash

To pieces, and orewhelm whatever stands

Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmd

The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.

Nor long shall be our labour, yet ere dawne,

Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;

Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joind

Think nothing hard, much less to be despaird.

He ended, and his words thir drooping chere

Enlightn’d, and thir languisht hope reviv’d.

Th’ invention all admir’d, and each, how hee

To be th’ inventer miss’d, so easie it seemd

Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought

Impossible: yet haply of thy Race

In future dayes, if Malice should abound,

Some one intent on mischief, or inspir’d

With dev’lish machination might devise

Like instrument to plague the Sons of men

For sin, on warr and mutual slaughter bent.

Forthwith from Councel to the work they flew,

None arguing stood, innumerable hands

Were ready, in a moment up they turnd

Wide the Celestial soile, and saw beneath

Th’ originals of Nature in thir crude

Conception; Sulphurous and Nitrous Foame

They found, they mingl’d, and with suttle Art,

Concocted and adusted they reduc’d

To blackest grain, and into store conveyd:

Part hidd’n veins diggd up (nor hath this Earth

Entrails unlike) of Mineral and Stone,

Whereof to found thir Engins and thir Balls

Of missive ruin; part incentive reed

Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.

So all ere day-spring, under conscious Night

Secret they finish’d, and in order set,

With silent circumspection unespi’d.

Now when fair Morn Orient in Heav’n appeerd

Up rose the Victor Angels, and to Arms

The matin Trumpet Sung: in Arms they stood

Of Golden Panoplie, refulgent Host,

Soon banded; others from the dawning Hills

Lookd round, and Scouts each Coast light-armed scoure,

Each quarter, to descrie the distant foe,

Where lodg’d, or whither fled, or if for fight,

In motion or in alt: him soon they met

Under spred Ensignes moving nigh, in slow

But firm Battalion; back with speediest Sail

Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,

Came flying, and in mid Aire aloud thus cri’d.

Arme, Warriours, Arme for fight, the foe at hand,

Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit

This day, fear not his flight; so thick a Cloud

He comes, and settl’d in his face I see

Sad resolution and secure: let each

His Adamantine coat gird well, and each

Fit well his Helme, gripe fast his orbed Shield,

Born eevn or high, for this day will pour down,

If I conjecture aught, no drizling showr,

But ratling storm of Arrows barbd with fire.

So warnd he them aware themselves, and soon

In order, quit of all impediment;

Instant without disturb they took Allarm,

And onward move Embattelld; when behold

Not distant far with heavie pace the Foe

Approaching gross and huge; in hollow Cube

Training his devilish Enginrie, impal’d

On every side with shaddowing Squadrons Deep,

To hide the fraud. At interview both stood

A while, but suddenly at head appeerd

Satan: And thus was heard Commanding loud.

Vangard, to Right and Left the Front unfould;

That all may see who hate us, how we seek

Peace and composure, and with open brest

Stand readie to receive them, if they like

Our overture, and turn not back perverse;

But that I doubt, however witness Heaven,

Heav’n witness thou anon, while we discharge

Freely our part: yee who appointed stand

Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch

What we propound, and loud that all may hear.

So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce

Had ended; when to Right and Left the Front

Divided, and to either Flank retir’d.

Which to our eyes discoverd new and strange,

A triple-mounted row of Pillars laid

On Wheels (for like to Pillars most they seem’d

Or hollow’d bodies made of Oak or Fir

With branches lopt, in Wood or Mountain fell’d)

Brass, Iron, Stonie mould, had not thir mouthes

With hideous orifice gap’t on us wide.

Portending behind truce; at each behind

A Seraph stood, and in his hand a Reed

Stood waving tipt with fire; while we suspense,

Collected stood within our thoughts amus’d,

Not long, for sudden all at once thir Reeds

Put forth, and to a narrow vent appli’d

With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,

But soon obscurd with smoak, all Heav’n appeerd,

From those deep-throated Engins belcht, whose roar

Emboweld with outragious noise the Air,

And all her entrails tore, disgorging foule

Thir devillish glut, chaind Thunderbolts and Hail

Of Iron Globes, which on the Victor Host

Level’d, with such impetuous furie smote,

That whom they hit, none on thir feet might stand,

Though standing else as Rocks, but down they fell

By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rowl’d;

The sooner for thir Arms, unarm’d they might

Have easily as Spirits evaded swift

By quick contraction or remove; but now

Foule dissipation should and forc’t rout;

Nor serv’d it to relax thir serried files.

What should they do? if on they rusht, repulse

Repeated, and indecent overthrow

Doubl’d, would render them yet more despis’d,

And to thir foes a laughter; for in view

Stood rankt of Seraphim another row

In posture to displode thir second tire

Of Thunder: back defeated to return

They worse abhorr’d. Satan beheld thir plight,

And to his Mates thus in derision call’d.

O Friends, why come not on these Victors proud?

Ere while they fierce were coming, and when wee,

To entertain them fair with open Front

And Brest, (what could we more?) propounded terms

Of composition, strait they chang’d thir minds,

Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,

As they would dance, yet for a dance they seemd

Somwhat extravagant and wilde, perhaps

For suppose of offerd peace: but suppose

If our proposals once again were heard

We should compel them to a quick result.

To whom thus Belial in like gamesom mood.

Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight,

Of hard contents, and full of force urg’d home,

Such as we might perceive amus’d them all,

And stumbl’d many, who receives them right,

Had need from head to foot well understand;

Not understood, this gift they have besides,

They shew us when our foes walk not upright.

So they among themselves in pleasant veine

Stood scoffing, highthn’d in thir thoughts beyond

All doubt of Victorie, eternal might

To match with thir inventions they presum’d

So easie, and of his Thunder made a scorn,

And all his Host derided, while they stood

A while in trouble; but they stood not long,

Rage prompted them at length, & found them arms

Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.

Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power

Which God hath in his mighty Angels plac’d)

Thir Arms away they threw, and to the Hills

(For Earth hath this variety from Heav’n

Of pleasure situate in Hill and Dale)

Light as the Lightning glimps they ran, they flew,

From thir foundations loosning to and fro

They pluckt the seated Hills with all thir load,

Rocks, Waters, Woods, and by the shaggie tops

Up lifting bore them in thir hands: Amaze,

Be sure, and terrour seis’d the rebel Host,

When coming towards them so dread they saw

The bottom of the Mountains upward turn’d,

Till on those cursed Engins triple-row

They saw them whelmd, and all thir confidence

Under the weight Mountains buried deep,

Themselves invaded next, and on thir heads

Main Promontories flung, which in the Air

Came shadowing, and opprest whole Legions arm’d,

Thir armor help’d their harm, crush’t in and brus’d

Into thir substance pent, which wrought them pain

Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,

Long strugling underneath, ere they could wind

Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light,

Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.

The rest in imitation to like Armes

Betook them, and the neighbouring Hills uptore;

So Hills amid the Air encountered Hills

Hurl’d to and fro with jaculation dire,

That under ground they fought in dismal shade;

Infernal noise; Warr seem’d a civil Game

To this uproar; horrid confusion heapt

Upon confusion rose: and now all Heav’n

Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspred,

Had not th’ Almightie Father where he sits

Shrin’d in his Sanctuarie of Heav’n secure,

Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen

This tumult, and permitted all, advis’d:

That his great purpose he might so fulfill,

To honour his Anointed Son aveng’d

Upon his enemies, and to declare

All power on him transferr’d: whence to his Son

Th’ Assessor of his Throne he thus began.

Effulgence of my Glorie, Son belov’d,

Son in whose face invisible is beheld

Visibly, what by Deitie I am,

And in whose hand what by Decree I doe,

Second Omnipotence, two dayes are past,

Two dayes, as we compute the dayes of Heav’n,

Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame

These disobedient; sore hath been thir fight,

As likeliest was, when two such Foes met arm’d;

For to themselves I left them, and thou knowst,

Equal in their Creation they were form’d,

Save what sin hath impaird, which yet hath wrought

Insensibly, for I suspend thir doom;

Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last

Endless, and no solution will be found:

Warr wearied hath perform’d what Warr can do,

And to disorder’d rage let loose the reines,

With Mountains as with Weapons arm’d, which makes

Wild work in Heav’n, and dangerous to the maine.

Two dayes are therefore past, the third is thine;

For thee I have ordain’d it, and thus farr

Have sufferd, that the Glorie may be thine

Of ending this great Warr, since none but Thou

Can end it. Into thee such Vertue and Grace

Immense I have transfus’d, that all may know

In Heav’n and Hell thy Power above compare,

And this perverse Commotion governd thus,

To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir

Of all things, to be Heir and to be King

By Sacred Unction, thy deserved right.

Go then thou Mightiest in thy Fathers might,

Ascend my Chariot, guide the rapid Wheeles

That shake Heav’ns basis, bring Warr, all my Warr.

My Bow and Thunder, my Almightie Arms

Gird on, and Sword upon thy puissant Thigh;

Pursue these sons of Darkness, drive them out

From all Heav’ns bounds into the utter Deep:

There let them learn, as likes them, to despise

God and Messiah his anointed King.

He said, and on his Son with Rayes direct

Shon full, he all his Father full exprest

Ineffably into his face receiv’d,

And thus the filial Godhead answering spake.

O Father, O Supream of heav’nly Thrones,

First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou alwayes seekst

To glorifie thy Son, I alwayes thee,

As is most just; this I my Glorie account,

My exaltation, and my whole delight,

That thou in me well pleas’d declarst thy will

Fulfill’d, which to fulfil is all my bliss.

Scepter and Power, thy giving, I assume,

And gladlier shall resign, when in the end

Thou shalt be All in All, and I in thee

For ever, and in mee all whom thou lov’st;

But whom thou hat’st, I hate, and can put on

Thy terrors, as put thy mildness on,

Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,

In with these might, rid heav’n of these rebell’d,

To thir prepar’d ill Mansion driven down

To chains of and Darkness and th’ undying Worm,

That from thy just obedience could revolt,

Whom to obey is happiness entire.

Then shall thy Saints unmixt, and from th’ impure

Farr separate, circling thy holy Mount

Unfained Halleluiahs to thee sing,

Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.

So said, he o’re his Scepter bowing, rose

From the right hand of Glorie where he sate,

And the third sacred Morn began to shine

Dawning through Heav’n: forth rush’d with whirl-wind sound

The Chariot of Paternal Deitie,

Flashing thick flames, Wheele within Wheele undrawn,

It self instinct with Spirit, but convoyd

By four Cherubic shapes, four Faces each

Had wondrous, as with Starrs thir bodies all

And Wings were set with Eyes, with Eyes the Wheels

Of Beril, and careering Fires between;

Over thir heads a chrystal Firmament,

Whereon a Saphir Throne, inlaid with pure

Amber, and colours of the showrie Arch.

Hee in Celestial Panoplie all armd

Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,

Ascended, at his right hand Victorie

Sate Eagle-wing’d, beside him hung his Bow

And Quiver with three-bolted Thunder stor’d,

And from about him fierce Effusion rowld

Of smoak and bickering flame, and sparkles dire;

Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,

He onward came, farr off his coming shon,

And twentie thousand (I thir number heard)

Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen:

Hee on the wings of Cherub rode sublime

On the Crystallin Skie, in Saphir Thron’d.

Illustrious farr and wide, but by his own

First seen, them unexpected joy surpriz’d,

When the great Ensign of Messiah blaz’d

Aloft by Angels born, his Sign in Heav’n:

Under whose Conduct Michael soon reduc’d

His Armie, circumfus’d on either Wing,

Under thir Head imbodied all in one.

Before him Power Divine his way prepar’d;

At his command the uprooted Hills retir’d

Each to his place, they heard his voice and went

Obsequious, Heav’n his wonted face renewed,

And with fresh Flourets Hill and Valley smil’d.

This saw his hapless Foes, but stood obdur’d,

And to rebellious fight rallied thir Powers

Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.

In heav’nly Spirits could such perverseness dwell?

But to convince the proud what Signs availe,

Or Wonders move th’ obdurate to relent?

They hard’nd more by what might most reclame,

Grieving to see his Glorie, at the sight

Took envie, and aspiring to his highth,

Stood reimbattell’d fierce, by force or fraud

Weening to prosper, and at length prevaile

Against God and Messiah, or to fall

In universal ruin last, and now

To final Battel drew, disdaining flight,

Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God

To all his Host on either hand thus spake.

Stand still in bright array ye Saints, here stand

Ye Angels arm’d, this day from Battel rest;

Faithful hath been your Warfare, and of God

Accepted, fearless in his righteous Cause,

And as ye have receivd, so have ye don

Invincibly: but of this cursed crew

The punishment to other hand belongs,

Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints;

Number to this dayes work is not ordain’d

Nor multitude, stand onely and behold

Gods indignation on these Godless pourd

By mee; not you but mee they have despis’d,

Yet envied; against mee is all thir rage,

Because the Father, t’whom in Heav’n supream

Kingdom and Power and Glorie appertains,

Hath honourd me according to his will.

Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assig’n’d;

That they may have thir wish, to trie with me

In Battel which the stronger proves, they all,

Or I alone against them, since by strength

They measure all, of other excellence

Not emulous, nor care who them excells;

Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.

So spake the Son, and into terrour chang’d

His count’nance too severe to be beheld

And full of wrauth bent on his Enemies.

At once the Four spred out thir Starrie wings

With dreadful shade contiguous, and the Orbes

Of his fierce Chariot rowld, as with the sound

Of torrent Floods, or of a numerous Host.

Hee on his impious Foes right onward drove,

Gloomie as Night; under his burning Wheeles

The stedfast Empyrean shook throughout,

All but the Throne it self of God. Full soon

Among them he arriv’d; in his right hand

Grasping ten thousand Thunders, which he sent

Before him, such as in thir Soules infix’d

Plagues; they astonisht all resistance lost,

All courage; down thir idle weapons drop’d;

O’re Shields and Helmes, and helmed heads he rode

Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate,

That wish’d the Mountains now might be again

Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.

Nor less on either side tempestuous fell

His arrows, from the fourfold-visag’d Foure,

Distinct with eyes, and from the living Wheels,

Distinct alike with multitude of eyes,

One Spirit in them rul’d, and every eye

Glar’d lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire

Among th’ accurst, that witherd all thir strength,

And of thir wonted vigour left them draind,

Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall’n.

Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check’d

His Thunder in mid Volie, for he meant

Not to destroy, but root them out of Heav’n:

The overthrown he rais’d, and as a Heard

Of Goats or timerous flock together throngd

Drove them before him Thunder-struck, pursu’d

With terrors and with furies to the bounds

And Chrystall wall of Heav’n, which op’ning wide,

Rowld inward, and a spacious Gap disclos’d

Into the wastful Deep; the monstrous sight

Strook them with horror backward, but far worse

Urg’d them behind; headlong themselvs they threw

Down from the verge of Heav’n, Eternal wrauth

Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.

plate27
Nine dayes they fell

Hell heard th’ unsufferable noise, Hell saw

Heav’n ruining from Heav’n, and would have fled

Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep

Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.

Nine dayes they fell; confounded Chaos roard,

And felt tenfold confusion in thir fall

Through his wilde Anarchie, so huge a rout

Incumberd him with ruin: Hell at last

Yawning receavd them whole, and on them clos’d,

Hell thir fit habitation fraught with fire

Unquenchable, the house of woe and paine.

Disburd’nd Heav’n rejoic’d, and soon repaird

Her mural breach, returning whence it rowld.

Sole Victor from th’ expulsion of his Foes

Messiah his triumphal Chariot turnd:

To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood

Eye witnesses of his Almightie Acts,

With jubilie advanc’d; and as they went,

Shaded with branching Palme, each order bright,

Sung Triumph, and him sung Victorious King,

Son, Heire, and Lord, to him Dominion giv’n,

Worthiest to Reign: he celebrated rode

Triumphant through mid Heav’n, into the Courts

And Temple of his mightie Father Thron’d

On high; who into Glorie him receav’d,

Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.

plate28
Hell at last
Yawning receavd them whole.

Thus measuring things in Heav’n by things on Earth

At thy request, and that thou maist beware

By what is past, to thee I have reveal’d

What might have else to human Race bin hid:

The discord which befel, and Warr in Heav’n

Among th’ Angelic Powers, and the deep fall

Of those too high aspiring, who rebelld

With Satan, hee who envies now thy state,

Who now is plotting how he may seduce

Thee also from obedience, that with him

Bereavd of happiness thou maist partake

His punishment, Eternal miserie;

Which would be all his solace and revenge,

As a despite don against the most High,

Thee once to gaine Companion of his woe.

But list’n not to his Temptations, warne

Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard

By terrible Example the reward

Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,

Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09