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Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
Expos’d a matron to avoid worse rape. 505
These were the prime in order and in might;
The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd,
Th' Ionian gods, of Javan's issue held
Gods, yet confess'd later than heav'n and earth,
Their boasted parents: Titan Heav'n's first-born,
With his enormous brood, and birthright seiz'd 511
By younger Saturn; he from mightier Jove
His own and Rhea's son like measure found;
So Jove usurping reign'd: these first in Crete
And Ida known, thence on the snowy top

515
Of cold Olympus rul’d the middle air,
Their highest heav'n; or on the Delphian cliff,
Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds
Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old
Fled over Adria to th' Hesperian fields, 520
And o'er the Celtic roam'd the utmost ilcs.
All these and more came flocking; but with

looks Down cast and damp, yet such wherein appear’d Obscure some glimpse of joy, to' have found their chief

524 Not in despair, to' have found themselves not lost In loss itself; which on his count'nance cast Like doubtful hue: but he his wonted pride Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore

Semblance of worth not substance, gently rais'd
Their fainting courage, and dispelld their fears. 330
Then strait commands that at the warlike sound
Of trumpers loud and clarions be uprear'd
His mighty standard: that proud honor claim'd
Azazel as his right, a cherub tall :

534
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurl'd
Th' imperial ensign, which full high advanc'd
Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich imblaz’d,
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds : 540
At which the universal host upsent
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 545
With orient colors waving : with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appear’d, and scrried shields in thick array
of depth immeasurable: anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood 550
Of flutes and soft recorder ; such as rais'd
To highth of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battel, and instead of
Deliberate valor breath'd, firm and unmov'd
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat ;

555 Nor wanting pow'r to mitigate and 'swage With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow' and pain

rage

From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they
Breathing united force with fixed thonght 560
Mov'd on in silence to soft pipes, that charm’d

Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; and now ! Advanc'd in view they stand, a horrid front

Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old with order'd spear and shield, 565
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief
Had to impose : he through the armed files
Darts his experienc'd eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views their order due,
Their visages and stature as of gods, 570
Their number last he sums. And now his heart,
Distends with pride, and hard’ning in his strength
Glories : for never since created man
Met such embodied force, as nam'd with these
Could merit more than that small infantry 575
Warr'd on by cranes; though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were join'd
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side

Mix'd with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
5
In fable or romance of Uther's son

580
Begirt with British and Armoric knights ;
And all who since, baptiz’d or infidel,
Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore, 585
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd

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Their dread Commander: he above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent 590
Stood like a tower; his form had yet not lost
All her orig'inal brightness, nor appear'd
Less than Arch-angel ruin'd, and th’ excess
Of glory' obscur'd; as when the Sun now risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air 593
Shorn of his teams, or from behind the moon
In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darken'd so, yet shone
Above them all th’ Arch-angel: but his face 600
Deep scars of thunder had intrench’d, and Care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge : cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion to behold 605
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain,
Millions of spirits for his fault amerc’d
Of Heav'n, and from eternal splendors flung
For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither'd : as when Heaven's fire
Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth though bare
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepar'd 615
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
With all his peers i attention held them mute.

610

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! Thrice he assay’d, and thrice in spite of Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth: at last 620 Words interwove with sighs found out their way,

O myriads of immortal Spi'rits, O Powers Matchless, but with th' Almighty, and that strife Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire, As this place testifies, and this dire change

625 Hateful to utter : but what pow'r of mind Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth Of knowledge past or present, could have fear’d, How such united force of gods, how such As stood like these, could ever know repulse ? 630 For who can yet believe, though after loss, That all these puissant legions, whose exile Hath emptied Heav'n, shall fail to re-ascend Self-rais'd, and repossess their native seat ? For me be witness all the host of Heav'n, 635 If counsels different, or danger shunn’d By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns Monarch in Heav'n, till then as one secure Sat on his throne, upheld by old repure, Consent or custom, and his regal state

640 Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal'd, Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall. Henceforth his might we know, and know our own, So as not either to provoke, or dread New

war, provok'd; our better part remains 645 To work in close design, by fraud or guile, What force effected nor: that he no less At length from us may find, who overcomes

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