Page images
PDF
EPUB

825

830

Or I alone against them, since by strength

820 They measure all, of other excellence Not emulous, nor care who them excels; Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe. So spake the Son, and into terror chang'd His count'nance too severe to be beheld, And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the Four spread out their starry wings With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. He on his impious foes right onward drove, Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels The steady empyréan shook throughout, All but the throne itself 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 their souls infix'd Plagues; they astonish'd all resistance lost, All courage; down their idle weapons dropt; O'er shields and helms and helmed heads he rode 840 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 Four Extinct with eyes, and from the living wheels Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; One spirit in them rul'd, and every eye

835

845

[ocr errors]

Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
Among th' accurs'd, that wither'd all their strength,
And of their wonted vigour left them drain'd, 851
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall’n.
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd
His thunder in mid volley; for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven :
The overthrown he rais'd, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together throng'd
L'rove them before him thunder-struck, pursu'd
With terrors and with furies to the bounds
And crystal wall of Heav'n, which opening wide, 860
Roll'd inward, and a spacious gap disclos'd
Into the wasteful deep; the monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward, but far worse
Urg'd them behind; headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of Heav'n; eternal wrath 865
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.

Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, Hell saw
Heav'n ruining from Heav'n, and would have filed
Affrighted; but strict fate had cast too deep
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roar'd,
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall
Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout
Incumber'd him with ruin : Hell at last
Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd;
Hell their fit habitation fraught with fire

876 Unquenchable, thc house of woe and pain.

870

Disburden'd Heaven rejoic'd, and soon repair'd
Her mural breach, returning whence it roll'd.
Sole victor from th’expulsion of his foes

880
Messiah his triumphal chariot turn'd:
To meet him all his Saints, who-silent stood
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts,
With jubilee advanc'd; and as they went,
Shading with branching palm, each order bright, 885
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given,
Worthiest to reign : he celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid Heav'n, into the courts
And temple of his mighty Father thron'd 890
On high ; who into glory him receiv'd,
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
Thus measuring things in Heay'n by things on

earth,
At thy request, and that thou may'st bewarc
By what is past, to thee I have reveald

895
What might have else to human race been hid;
The discord which befel, and war in Heaven
Among th' angelic Pow'rs, and the deep fall
Of those too high aspiring, who rebell’d
With Satan; he who envies now thy state, 900
Who now is plotting how he may seduce
Thee from all obedience, that with him
Bereav'd of happiness thou may'st partake
His punishment, eternal misery;
Which would be all his solaçe and revenge, 905

?

As a despite done against the most High,
Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
But listen not to his temptations, warn
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.

910

[merged small][ocr errors]

BOOK THE SEVENTH.

THE ARGUMENT. Raphael at the request of Adam relates how and wherefore this world was first

created ; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of Heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory and attendance of Angels to perform the work of creation in six days: the Angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascension into Heaven.,

5

DESCEND from Heav'n, Urania, by that name
If rightly thou art call’d, whose voice divine
Following, above th’ Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegaséan wing.
The meaning, not the name I call: for thou
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwellst, but heav'nly born,
Before the hills appear'd, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with eternal wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
In presence of th’ Almighty Father, pleas'd
With thy celestial song. Up led by thee
Into the Heav'n of Heav'ns I have presum'd,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy temp'ring; with like safety guided down
Return me to my native element :
Lest from this flying steed unrein'd, (as once
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime)
Dismounted, on th' Aleian field I fall

IO

15

« PreviousContinue »