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Short poem

John Milton (1608-1674)

Paradise Lost: Book VI (1674)


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.

              1ALL night the dreadless Angel unpursu'd
              2Through Heav'ns wide Champain held his way, till Morn,
              3Wak't by the circling Hours, with rosie hand
              4Unbarr'd the gates of Light.  There is a Cave
              5Within the Mount of God, fast by his Throne,
              6Where light and darkness in perpetual round
              7Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heav'n
              8Grateful vicissitude, like Day and Night;
              9Light issues forth, and at the other dore
            10Obsequious darkness enters, till her houre
            11To veile the Heav'n, though darkness there might well
            12Seem twilight here; and now went forth the Morn
            13Such as in highest Heav'n, arrayd in Gold
            14Empyreal, from before her vanisht Night,
            15Shot through with orient Beams: when all the Plain
            16Coverd with thick embatteld Squadrons bright,
            17Chariots and flaming Armes, and fierie Steeds
            18Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:
            19Warr he perceav'd, warr in procinct, and found
            20Already known what he for news had thought
            21To have reported: gladly then he mixt
            22Among those friendly Powers who him receav'd
            23With joy and acclamations loud, that one
            24That of so many Myriads fall'n, yet one
            25Returnd not lost: On to the sacred hill
            26They led him high applauded, and present
            27Before the seat supream; from whence a voice
            28From midst a Golden Cloud thus milde was heard.

            29Servant of God, well done, well hast thou fought
            30The better fight, who single hast maintaind
            31Against revolted multitudes the Cause
            32Of Truth, in word mightier then they in Armes;
            33And for the testimonie of Truth hast born
            34Universal reproach, far worse to beare
            35Then violence: for this was all thy care
            36To stand approv'd in sight of God, though Worlds
            37Judg'd thee perverse: the easier conquest now
            38Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
            39Back on thy foes more glorious to return
            40Then scornd thou didst depart, and to subdue
            41By force, who reason for thir Law refuse,
            42Right reason for thir Law, and for thir King
            43Messiah, who by right of merit Reigns.
            44Go Michael of Celestial Armies Prince,
            45And thou in Military prowess next
            46Gabriel, lead forth to Battel these my Sons
            47Invincible, lead forth my armed Saints
            48By Thousands and by Millions rang'd for fight;
            49Equal in number to that Godless crew
            50Rebellious, them with Fire and hostile Arms
            51Fearless assault, and to the brow of Heav'n
            52Pursuing drive them out from God and bliss,
            53Into thir place of punishment, the Gulf
            54Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
            55His fiery Chaos to receave thir fall.

            56So spake the Sovran voice, and Clouds began
            57To darken all the Hill, and smoak to rowl
            58In duskie wreathes, reluctant flames, the signe
            59Of wrauth awak't: nor with less dread the loud
            60Ethereal Trumpet from on high gan blow:
            61At which command the Powers Militant,
            62That stood for Heav'n, in mighty Quadrate joyn"d
            63Of Union irresistible, mov'd on
            64In silence thir bright Legions, to the sound
            65Of instrumental Harmonie that breath'd
            66Heroic Ardor to advent'rous deeds
            67Under thir God-like Leaders, in the Cause
            68Of God and his Messiah.  On they move
            69Indissolubly firm; nor obvious Hill,
            70Nor streit'ning Vale, nor Wood, nor Stream divides
            71Thir perfet ranks; for high above the ground
            72Thir march was, and the passive Air upbore
            73Thir nimble tread, as when the total kind
            74Of Birds in orderly array on wing
            75Came summond over Eden to receive
            76Thir names of thee; so over many a tract
            77Of Heav'n they march'd, and many a Province wide
            78Tenfold the length of this terrene: at last
            79Farr in th' Horizon to the North appeer'd
            80From skirt to skirt a fierie Region, stretcht
            81In battailous aspect, and neerer view
            82Bristl'd with upright beams innumerable
            83Of rigid Spears, and Helmets throng'd, and Shields
            84Various, with boastful Argument portraid,
            85The banded Powers of Satan hasting on
            86With furious expedition; for they weend
            87That self same day by fight, or by surprize
            88To win the Mount of God, and on his Throne
            89To set the envier of his State, the proud
            90Aspirer, but thir thoughts prov'd fond and vain
            91In the mid way: though strange to us it seemd
            92At first, that Angel should with Angel warr,
            93And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
            94So oft in Festivals of joy and love
            95Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire
            96Hymning th' Eternal Father: but the shout
            97Of Battel now began, and rushing sound
            98Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
            99High in the midst exalted as a God
          100Th' Apostat in his Sun-bright Chariot sate
          101Idol of Majestie Divine, enclos'd
          102With Flaming Cherubim, and golden Shields;
          103Then lighted from his gorgeous Throne, for now
          104'Twixt Host and Host but narrow space was left,
          105A dreadful intervall, and Front to Front
          106Presented stood in terrible array
          107Of hideous length: before the cloudie Van,
          108On the rough edge of battel ere it joyn,d,
          109Satan with vast and haughtie strides advanc't,
          110Came towring, armd in Adamant and Gold;
          111Abdiel that sight endur'd not, where he stood
          112Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
          113And thus his own undaunted heart explores.

          114O Heav'n! that such resemblance of the Highest
          115Should yet remain, where faith and realtie
          116Remain not; wherfore should not strength and might
          117There fail where Vertue fails, or weakest prove
          118Where boldest; though to sight unconquerable?
          119His puissance, trusting in th' Almightie's aide,
          120I mean to try, whose Reason I have tri'd
          121Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just,
          122That he who in debate of Truth hath won,
          123Should win in Arms, in both disputes alike
          124Victor; though brutish that contest and foule,
          125When Reason hath to deal with force, yet so
          126Most reason is that Reason overcome.

          127So pondering, and from his armed Peers
          128Forth stepping opposite, half way he met
          129His daring foe, at this prevention more
          130Incens't, and thus securely him defi'd.

          131Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reacht
          132The highth of thy aspiring unoppos'd,
          133The Throne of God unguarded, and his side
          134Abandond at the terror of thy Power
          135Or potent tongue; fool, not to think how vain
          136Against th' Omnipotent to rise in Arms;
          137Who out of smallest things could without end
          138Have rais'd incessant Armies to defeat
          139Thy folly; or with solitarie hand
          140Reaching beyond all limit at one blow
          141Unaided could have finisht thee, and whelmd
          142Thy Legions under darkness; but thou seest
          143All are not of thy Train; there be who Faith
          144Prefer, and Pietie to God, though then
          145To thee not visible, when I alone
          146Seemd in thy World erroneous to dissent
          147From all: my Sect thou seest, now learn too late
          148How few somtimes may know, when thousands err.

          149Whom the grand foe with scornful eye askance
          150Thus answerd.  Ill for thee, but in wisht houre
          151Of my revenge, first sought for thou returnst
          152From flight, seditious Angel, to receave
          153Thy merited reward, the first assay
          154Of this right hand provok't, since first that tongue
          155Inspir'd with contradiction durst oppose
          156A third part of the Gods, in Synod met
          157Thir Deities to assert, who while they feel
          158Vigour Divine within them, can allow
          159Omnipotence to none.  But well thou comst
          160Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
          161From me som Plume, that thy success may show
          162Destruction to the rest: this pause between
          163(Unanswerd least thou boast) to let thee know;
          164At first I thought that Libertie and Heav'n
          165To heav'nly Soules had bin all one; but now
          166I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
          167Ministring Spirits, traind up in Feast and Song;
          168Such hast thou arm'd, the Ministrelsie of Heav'n,
          169Servilitie with freedom to contend,
          170As both thir deeds compar'd this day shall prove.

          171To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern repli'd.
          172Apostat, still thou errst, nor end wilt find
          173Of erring, from the path of truth remote:
          174Unjustly thou deprav'st it with the name
          175Of Servitude to serve whom God ordains,
          176Or Nature; God and Nature bid the same,
          177When he who rules is worthiest, and excells
          178Them whom he governs.  This is servitude,
          179To serve th' unwise, or him who hath rebelld
          180Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
          181Thy self not free, but to thy self enthrall'd;
          182Yet leudly dar'st our ministring upbraid.
          183Reign thou in Hell thy Kingdom, let mee serve
          184In Heav'n God ever blest, and his Divine
          185Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd,
          186Yet Chains in Hell, not Realms expect: mean while
          187From mee returnd, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
          188This greeting on thy impious Crest receive.
          189So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
          190Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell
          191On the proud Crest of Satan, that no sight,
          192Nor motion of swift thought, less could his Shield
          193Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge
          194He back recoild; the tenth on bended knee
          195His massie Spear upstaid; as if on Earth
          196Winds under ground or waters forcing way
          197Sidelong, had push't a Mountain from his seat
          198Half sunk with all his Pines.  Amazement seis'd
          199The Rebel Thrones, but greater rage to see
          200Thus foil'd thir mightiest, ours joy filld, and shout,
          201Presage of Victorie and fierce desire
          202Of Battel: whereat Michael bid sound
          203Th' Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vast of Heaven
          204It sounded, and the faithful Armies rung
          205Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze
          206The adverse Legions, nor less hideous joyn'd
          207The horrid shock: now storming furie rose,
          208And clamour such as heard in Heav'n till now
          209Was never, Arms on Armour clashing bray'd
          210Horrible discord, and the madding Wheeles
          211Of brazen Chariots rag'd; dire was the noise
          212Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss
          213Of fiery Darts in flaming volies flew,
          214And flying vaulted either Host with fire.
          215So under fierie Cope together rush'd
          216Both Battels maine, with ruinous assault
          217And inextinguishable rage; all Heav'n
          218Resounded, and had Earth bin then, all Earth
          219Had to her Center shook.  What wonder? when
          220Millions of fierce encountring Angels fought
          221On either side, the least of whom could weild
          222These Elements, and arm him with the force
          223Of all thir Regions: how much more of Power
          224Armie against Armie numberless to raise
          225Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
          226Though not destroy, thir happie Native seat;
          227Had not th' Eternal King Omnipotent
          228From his strong hold of Heav'n high over-rul'd
          229And limited thir might; though numberd such
          230As each divided Legion might have seemd
          231A numerous Host, in strength each armed hand
          232A Legion; led in fight, yet Leader seemd
          233Each Warriour single as in Chief, expert
          234When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
          235Of Battel, open when, and when to close
          236The ridges of grim Warr; no thought of flight,
          237None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
          238That argu'd fear; each on himself reli'd,
          239As onely in his arm the moment lay
          240Of victorie; deeds of eternal fame
          241Were don, but infinite: for wide was spred
          242That Warr and various; somtimes on firm ground
          243A standing fight, then soaring on main wing
          244Tormented all the Air; all Air seemd then
          245Conflicting Fire: long time in eeven scale
          246The Battel hung; till Satan, who that day
          247Prodigious power had shewn, and met in Armes
          248No equal, raunging through the dire attack
          249Of fighting Seraphim confus'd, at length
          250Saw where the Sword of Michael smote, and fell'd
          251Squadrons at once, with huge two-handed sway
          252Brandisht aloft the horrid edge came down
          253Wide wasting; such destruction to withstand
          254He hasted, and oppos'd the rockie Orb
          255Of tenfold Adamant, his ample Shield
          256A vast circumference:  At his approach
          257The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toile
          258Surceas'd, and glad as hoping here to end
          259Intestine War in Heav'n, the arch foe subdu'd
          260Or Captive drag'd in Chains, with hostile frown
          261And visage all enflam'd first thus began.

          262Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,
          263Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
          264These Acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
          265Though heaviest by just measure on thy self
          266And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb d
          267Heav'ns blessed peace, and into Nature brought
          268Miserie, uncreated till the crime
          269Of thy Rebellion? how hast thou instill'd
          270Thy malice into thousands, once upright
          271And faithful, now prov'd false.  But think not here
          272To trouble Holy Rest; Heav'n casts thee out
          273From all her Confines.  Heav'n the seat of bliss
          274Brooks not the works of violence and Warr.
          275Hence then, and evil go with thee along
          276Thy ofspring, to the place of evil, Hell,
          277Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broiles,
          278Ere this avenging Sword begin thy doome,
          279Or som more sudden vengeance wing'd from God
          280Precipitate thee with augmented paine.

          281So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus
          282The Adversarie.  Nor think thou with wind
          283Of airie threats to aw whom yet with deeds
          284Thou canst not.  Hast thou turnd the least of these
          285To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise
          286Unvanquisht, easier to transact with mee
          287That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats
          288To chase me hence? erre not that so shall end
          289The strife which thou call'st evil, but wee style
          290The strife of Glorie: which we mean to win,
          291Or turn this Heav'n it self into the Hell
          292Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,
          293If not to reign: mean while thy utmost force,
          294And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid,
          295I flie not, but have sought thee farr and nigh.

          296They ended parle, and both addrest for fight
          297Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue
          298Of Angels, can relate, or to what things
          299Liken on Earth conspicuous, that may lift
          300Human imagination to such highth
          301Of Godlike Power: for likest Gods they seemd,
          302Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, arms
          303Fit to decide the Empire of great Heav'n.
          304Now wav'd thir fierie Swords, and in the Aire
          305Made horrid Circles; two broad Suns thir Shields
          306Blaz'd opposite, while expectation stood
          307In horror; from each hand with speed retir'd
          308Where erst was thickest fight, th' Angelic throng,
          309And left large field, unsafe within the wind
          310Of such commotion, such as to set forth
          311Great things by small, If Natures concord broke,
          312Among the Constellations warr were sprung,
          313Two Planets rushing from aspect maligne
          314Of fiercest opposition in mid Skie,
          315Should combat, and thir jarring Sphears confound.
          316Together both with next to Almightie Arme,
          317Uplifted imminent one stroke they aim'd
          318That might determine, and not need repeate,
          319As not of power, at once; nor odds appeerd
          320In might or swift prevention; but the sword
          321Of Michael from the Armorie of God
          322Was giv'n him temperd so, that neither keen
          323Nor solid might resist that edge: it met
          324The sword of Satan with steep force to smite
          325Descending, and in half cut sheere, nor staid,
          326But with swift wheele reverse, deep entring shar'd
          327All his right side; then Satan first knew pain,
          328And writh'd him to and fro convolv'd; so sore
          329The griding sword with discontinuous wound
          330Pass'd through him, but th' Ethereal substance clos'd
          331Not long divisible, and from the gash
          332A stream of Nectarous humor issuing flow'd
          333Sanguin, such as Celestial Spirits may bleed,
          334And all his Armour staind ere while so bright.
          335Forthwith on all sides to his aide was run
          336By Angels many and strong, who interpos'd
          337Defence, while others bore him on thir Shields
          338Back to his Chariot; where it stood retir'd
          339From off the files of warr; there they him laid
          340Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame
          341To find himself not matchless, and his pride
          342Humbl'd by such rebuke, so farr beneath
          343His confidence to equal God in power.
          344Yet soon he heal'd; for Spirits that live throughout
          345Vital in every part, not as frail man
          346In Entrailes, Heart or Head, Liver or Reines;
          347Cannot but by annihilating die;
          348Nor in thir liquid texture mortal wound
          349Receive, no more then can the fluid Aire:
          350All Heart they live, all Head, all Eye, all Eare,
          351All Intellect, all Sense, and as they please,
          352They Limb themselves, and colour, shape or size
          353Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.

          354Mean while in other parts like deeds deservd
          355Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,
          356And with fierce Ensignes pierc'd the deep array
          357Of Moloc furious King, who him defi'd,
          358And at his Chariot wheeles to drag him bound
          359Threatn'd, nor from the Holie One of Heav'n
          360Refrein'd his tongue blasphemous; but anon
          361Down clov'n to the waste, with shatterd Armes
          362And uncouth paine fled bellowing.  On each wing
          363Uriel and Raphael his vaunting foe,
          364Though huge, and in a Rock of Diamond Armd,
          365Vanquish'd Adramelec, and Asmadai,
          366Two potent Thrones, that to be less then Gods
          367Disdain'd, but meaner thoughts learnd in thir flight,
          368Mangl'd with gastly wounds through Plate and Maile,
          369Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy
          370The Atheist crew, but with redoubl'd blow
          371Ariel and Arioc, and the violence
          372Of Ramiel scorcht and blasted overthrew.
          373I might relate of thousands, and thir names
          374Eternize here on Earth; but those elect
          375Angels contented with thir fame in Heav'n
          376Seek not the praise of men: the other sort
          377In might though wondrous and in Acts of Warr,
          378Nor of Renown less eager, yet by doome
          379Canceld from Heav'n and sacred memorie,
          380Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
          381For strength from Truth divided and from Just,
          382Illaudable, naught merits but dispraise
          383And ignominie, yet to glorie aspires
          384Vain glorious, and through infamie seeks fame:
          385Therfore Eternal silence be thir doome.

          386And now thir Mightiest quelld, the battel swerv'd,
          387With many an inrode gor'd; deformed rout
          388Enter'd, and foul disorder; all the ground
          389With shiverd armour strow'n, and on a heap
          390Chariot and Charioter lay overturnd
          391And fierie foaming Steeds; what stood, recoyld
          392Orewearied, through the faint Satanic Host
          393Defensive scarse, or with pale fear surpris'd,
          394Then first with fear surpris'd and sense of paine
          395Fled ignominious, to such evil brought
          396By sin of disobedience, till that hour
          397Not liable to fear or flight or paine.
          398Far otherwise th' inviolable Saints
          399In Cubic Phalanx firm advanc't entire,
          400Invulnerable, impenitrably arm'd:
          401Such high advantages thir innocence
          402Gave them above thir foes, not to have sinnd,
          403Not to have disobei'd; in fight they stood
          404Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'd
          405By wound, though from thir place by violence mov'd.

          406Now Night her course began, and over Heav'n
          407Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos'd,
          408And silence on the odious dinn of Warr:
          409Under her Cloudie covert both retir'd,
          410Victor and Vanquisht: on the foughten field
          411Michael and his Angels prevalent
          412Encamping, plac'd in Guard thir Watches round,
          413Cherubic waving fires: on th' other part
          414Satan with his rebellious disappeerd,
          415Far in the dark dislodg'd, and void of rest,
          416His Potentates to Councel call'd by night;
          417And in the midst thus undismai'd began.

          418O now in danger tri'd, now known in Armes
          419Not to be overpowerd, Companions deare,
          420Found worthy not of Libertie alone,
          421Too mean pretense, but what we more affect,
          422Honour, Dominion, Glorie, and renowne,
          423Who have sustaind one day in doubtful fight
          424(And if one day, why not Eternal dayes?)
          425What Heavens Lord had powerfullest to send
          426Against us from about his Throne, and judg'd
          427Sufficient to subdue us to his will,
          428But proves not so: then fallible, it seems,
          429Of future we may deem him, though till now
          430Omniscient thought.  True is, less firmly arm'd,
          431Some disadvantage we endur'd and paine,
          432Till now not known, but known as soon contemnd,
          433Since now we find this our Empyreal form
          434Incapable of mortal injurie
          435Imperishable, and though peirc'd with wound,
          436Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
          437Of evil then so small as easie think
          438The remedie; perhaps more valid Armes,
          439Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
          440May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
          441Or equal what between us made the odds,
          442In Nature none: if other hidden cause
          443Left them Superiour, while we can preserve
          444Unhurt our mindes, and understanding sound,
          445Due search and consultation will disclose.

          446He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood
          447Nisroc of Principalities the prime;
          448As one he stood escap't from cruel fight,
          449Sore toild, his riv'n Armes to havoc hewn,
          450And cIoudie in aspect thus answering spake.
          451Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
          452Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard
          453For Gods, and too unequal work we find
          454Against unequal armes to fight in paine,
          455Against unpaind, impassive; from which evil
          456Ruin must needs ensue; for what availes
          457Valour or strength, though matchless, quelld with pain
          458Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
          459Of Mightiest.  Sense of pleasure we may well
          460Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
          461But live content, which is the calmest life:
          462But pain is perfet miserie, the worst
          463Of evils, and excessive, overturnes
          464All patience.  He who therefore can invent
          465With what more forcible we may offend
          466Our yet unwounded Enemies, or arme
          467Our selves with like defence, to me deserves
          468No less then for deliverance what we owe.

          469Whereto with look compos'd Satan repli'd.
          470Not uninvented that, which thou aright
          471Believst so main to our success, I bring;
          472Which of us who beholds the bright surface
          473Of this Ethereous mould whereon we stand,
          474This continent of spacious Heav'n, adornd
          475With Plant, Fruit, Flour Ambrosial, Gemms & Gold,
          476Whose Eye so superficially surveyes
          477These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
          478Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
          479Of spiritous and fierie spume, till toucht
          480With Heav'ns ray, and temperd they shoot forth
          481So beauteous, op'ning to the ambient light.
          482These in thir dark Nativitie the Deep
          483Shall yield us pregnant with infernal flame,
          484Which into hallow Engins long and round
          485Thick-rammd, at th' other bore with touch of fire
          486Dilated and infuriate shall send forth
          487From far with thundring noise among our foes
          488Such implements of mischief as shall dash
          489To pieces, and orewhelm whatever stands
          490Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmd
          491The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
          492Nor long shall be our labour, yet ere dawne,
          493Effect shall end our wish.  Mean while revive;
          494Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joind
          495Think nothing hard, much less to be despaird.
          496He ended, and his words thir drooping chere
          497Enlightn'd, and thir languisht hope reviv'd.
          498Th' invention all admir'd, and each, how hee
          499To be th' inventer miss'd, so easie it seemd
          500Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought
          501Impossible: yet haply of thy Race
          502In future dayes, if Malice should aboun,
          503Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
          504With dev'lish machination might devise
          505Like instrument to plague the Sons of men
          506For sin, on warr and mutual slaughter bent.
          507Forthwith from Councel to the work they flew,
          508None arguing stood, innumerable hands
          509Were ready, in a moment up they turnd
          510Wide the Celestial soile, and saw beneath
          511Th' originals of Nature in thir crude
          512Conception; Sulphurous and Nitrous Foame
          513They found, they mingl'd, and with suttle Art,
          514Concocted and adusted they reduc'd
          515To blackest grain, and into store convey'd:
          516Part hidd'n veins diggd up (nor hath this Earth
          517Entrails unlike) of Mineral and Stone,
          518Whereof to found thir Engins and thir Balls
          519Of missive ruin; part incentive reed
          520Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
          521So all ere day-spring, under conscious Night
          522Secret they finish'd, and in order set,
          523With silent circumspection unespi'd.
          524Now when fair Morn Orient in Heav'n appeerd
          525Up rose the Victor Angels, and to Arms
          526The matin Trumpet Sung: in Arms they stood
          527Of Golden Panoplie, refulgent Host,
          528Soon banded; others from the dawning Hills
          529Lookd round, and Scouts each Coast light-armed scoure,
          530Each quarter, to descrie the distant foe,
          531Where lodg'd, or whither fled, or if for fight,
          532In motion or in alt: him soon they met
          533Under spred Ensignes moving nigh, in slow
          534But firm Battalion; back with speediest Sail
          535Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,
          536Came flying, and in mid Aire aloud thus cri'd.

          537Arme, Warriours, Arme for fight, the foe at hand,
          538Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
          539This day, fear not his flight; so thick a Cloud
          540He comes, and settl'd in his face I see
          541Sad resolution and secure: let each
          542His Adamantine coat gird well, and each
          543Fit well his Helme, gripe fast his orbed Shield,
          544Born eevn or high, for this day will pour down,
          545If I conjecture aught, no drizling showr,
          546But ratling storm of Arrows barbd with fire.
          547So warnd he them aware themselves, and soon
          548In order, quit of all impediment;
          549Instant without disturb they took Allarm,
          550And onward move Embattelld; when behold
          551Not distant far with heavie pace the Foe
          552Approaching gross and huge; in hollow Cube
          553Training his devilish Enginrie, impal'd
          554On every side with shaddowing Squadrons Deep,
          555To hide the fraud.  At interview both stood
          556A while, but suddenly at head appeerd
          557Satan: And thus was heard Commanding loud.

          558Vanguard, to Right and Left the Front unfould;
          559That all may see who hate us, how we seek
          560Peace and composure, and with open brest
          561Stand readie to receive them, if they like
          562Our overture, and turn not back perverse;
          563But that I doubt, however witness Heaven,
          564Heav'n witness thou anon, while we discharge
          565Freely our part; yee who appointed stand
          566Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
          567What we propound, and loud that all may hear.

          568So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce
          569Had ended; when to Right and Left the Front
          570Divided, and to either Flank retir'd.
          571Which to our eyes discoverd new and strange,
          572A triple mounted row of Pillars laid
          573On Wheels (for like to Pillars most they seem'd
          574Or hollow'd bodies made of Oak or Firr
          575With branches lopt, in Wood or Mountain fell'd)
          576Brass, Iron, Stonie mould, had not thir mouthes
          577With hideous orifice gap't on us wide,
          578Portending hollow truce; at each behind
          579A Seraph stood, and in his hand a Reed
          580Stood waving tipt with fire; while we suspense,
          581Collected stood within our thoughts amus'd,
          582Not long, for sudden all at once thir Reeds
          583Put forth, and to a narrow vent appli'd
          584With nicest touch.  Immediate in a flame,
          585But soon obscur'd with smoak, all Heav'n appeerd,
          586From those deep throated Engins belcht, whose roar
          587Emboweld with outragious noise the Air,
          588And all her entrails tore, disgorging foule
          589Thir devilish glut, chaind Thunderbolts and Hail
          590Of Iron Globes, which on the Victor Host
          591Level'd, with such impetuous furie smote,
          592That whom they hit, none on thir feet might stand,
          593Though standing else as Rocks, but down they fell
          594By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rowl'd;
          595The sooner for thir Arms, unarm'd they might
          596Have easily as Spirits evaded swift
          597By quick contraction or remove; but now
          598Foule dissipation follow'd and forc't rout;
          599Nor serv'd it to relax thir serried files.
          600What should they do? if on they rusht, repulse
          601Repeated, and indecent overthrow
          602Doubl'd, would render them yet more despis'd,
          603And to thir foes a laughter; for in view
          604Stood rankt of Seraphim another row
          605In posture to displode thir second tire
          606Of Thunder: back defeated to return
          607They worse abhorr'd.  Satan beheld thir plight,
          608And to his Mates thus in derision call'd.

          609O Friends, why come not on these Victors proud?
          610Ere while they fierce were coming, and when wee,
          611To entertain them fair with open Front
          612And Brest, (what could we more?) propounded terms
          613Of composition, strait they chang'd thir minds,
          614Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,
          615As they would dance, yet for a dance they seemd
          616Somwhat extravagant and wilde, perhaps
          617For joy of offerd peace: but I suppose
          618If our proposals once again were heard
          619We should compel them to a quick result.

          620To whom thus Belial in like gamesom mood,
          621Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight,
          622Of hard contents, and full of force urg'd home,
          623Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,
          624And stumbl'd many, who receives them right,
          625Had need from head to foot well understand;
          626Not understood, this gift they have besides,
          627They shew us when our foes walk not upright.

          628So they among themselves in pleasant veine
          629Stood scoffing, highthn'd in thir thoughts beyond
          630All doubt of Victorie, eternal might
          631To match with thir inventions they presum'd
          632So easie, and of his Thunder made a scorn,
          633And all his Host derided, while they stood
          634A while in trouble; but they stood not long,
          635Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms
          636Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
          637Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power
          638Which God hath in his mighty Angels plac'd)
          639Thir Arms away they threw, and to the Hills
          640(For Earth hath this variety from Heav'n
          641Of pleasure situate in Hill and Dale)
          642Light as the Lightning glimps they ran, they flew,
          643From thir foundations loosning to and fro
          644They pluckt the seated Hills with all thir load,
          645Rocks, Waters, Woods, and by the shaggie tops
          646Up lifting bore them in thir hands: Amaze,
          647Be sure, and terrour seis'd the rebel Host,
          648When coming towards them so dread they saw
          649The bottom of the Mountains upward turn'd,
          650Till on those cursed Engins triple-row
          651They saw them whelm'd, and all thir confidence
          652Under the weight of Mountains buried deep,
          653Themselves invaded next, and on thir heads
          654Main Promontories flung, which in the Air
          655Came shadowing, and opprest whole Legions arm'd,
          656Thir armor help'd thir harm, crush't in and bruis'd
          657Into thir substance pent, which wrought them pain
          658Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,
          659Long strugling underneath, ere they could wind
          660Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light,
          661Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.
          662The rest in imitation to like Armes
          663Betook them, and the neighbouring Hills uptore;
          664So Hills amid the Air encounterd Hills
          665Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire
          666That under ground, they fought in dismal shade;
          667Infernal noise; Warr seem'd a civil Game
          668To this uproar; horrid confusion heapt
          669Upon confusion rose: and now all Heav'n
          670Had gon to wrack, with ruin overspred,
          671Had not th' Almightie Father where he sits
          672Shrin'd in his Sanctuarie of Heav'n secure,
          673Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
          674This tumult, and permitted all, advis'd:
          675That his great purpose he might so fulfill,
          676To honour his Anointed Son aveng'd
          677Upon his enemies, and to declare
          678All power on him transferr'd: whence to his Son
          679Th' Assessor of his Throne he thus began.
          680Effulgence of my Glorie, Son belov'd,
          681Son in whose face invisible is beheld
          682Visibly, what by Deitie I am,
          683And in whose hand what by Decree I doe,
          684Second Omnipotence, two dayes are past,
          685Two dayes, as we compute the dayes of Heav'n,
          686Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame
          687These disobedient; sore hath been thir fight,
          688As likeliest was, when two such Foes met arm'd;
          689For to themselves I left them, and thou knowst,
          690Equal in their Creation they were form'd,
          691Save what sin hath impaird, which yet hath wrought
          692Insensibly, for I suspend thir doom;
          693Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last
          694Endless, and no solution will be found:
          695Warr wearied hath perform'd what Warr can do,
          696And to disorder'd rage let loose the reines,
          697With Mountains as with Weapons arm'd, which makes
          698Wild work in Heav'n, and dangerous to the maine.
          699Two dayes are therefore past, the third is thine;
          700For thee I have ordain'd it, and thus farr
          701Have sufferd, that the Glorie may be thine
          702Of ending this great Warr, since none but Thou
          703Can end it.  Into thee such Vertue and Grace
          704Immense I have transfus'd, that all may know
          705In Heav'n and Hell thy Power above compare,
          706And this perverse Commotion governd thus,
          707To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir
          708Of all things, to be Heir and to be King
          709By Sacred Unction, thy deserved right.
          710Go then thou Mightiest in thy Fathers might,
          711Ascend my Chariot, guide the rapid Wheeles
          712That shake Heav'ns basis, bring forth all my Warr,
          713My Bow and Thunder, my Almightie Arms
          714Gird on, and Sword upon thy puissant Thigh;
          715Pursue these sons of Darkness, drive them out
          716From all Heav'ns bounds into the utter Deep:
          717There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
          718God and Messiah his anointed King.

          719He said, and on his Son with Rayes direct
          720Shon full, he all his Father full expresst
          721Ineffably into his face receiv'd,
          722And thus the filial Godhead answering spake.

          723O Father, O Supream of heav'nly Thrones,
          724First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou alwayes seekst
          725To glorifie thy Son, I alwayes thee,
          726As is most just; this I my Glorie account,
          727My exaltation, and my whole delight,
          728That thou in me well pleas'd, declarst thy will
          729Fulfill'd, which to fulfil is all my bliss.
          730Scepter and Power, thy giving, I assume,
          731And gladlier shall resign, when in the end
          732Thou shalt be All in All, and I in thee
          733For ever, and in mee all whom thou lov'st:
          734But whom thou hat'st, I hate, and can put on
          735Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
          736Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,
          737Armd with thy might, rid heav'n of these rebell'd,
          738To thir prepar'd ill Mansion driven down
          739To chains of darkness, and th' undying Worm,
          740That from thy just obedience could revolt,
          741Whom to obey is happiness entire.
          742Then shall thy Saints unmixt, and from th' impure
          743Farr separate, circling thy holy Mount
          744Unfained Halleluiahs to thee sing,
          745Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.
          746So said, he o're his Scepter bowing, rose
          747From the right hand of Glorie where he sate,
          748And the third sacred Morn began to shine
          749Dawning through Heav'n: forth rush'd with whirlwind sound
          750The Chariot of Paternal Deitie,
          751Flashing thick flames, Wheele within Wheele undrawn,
          752It self instinct with Spirit, but convoyd
          753By four Cherubic shapes, four Faces each
          754Had wondrous, as with Starrs thir bodies all
          755And Wings were set with Eyes, with Eyes the wheels
          756Of Beril, and careering Fires between;
          757Over thir heads a chrystal Firmament,
          758Whereon a Saphir Throne, inlaid with pure
          759Amber, and colours of the showrie Arch.
          760Hee in Celestial Panoplie all armd
          761Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,
          762Ascended, at his right hand Victorie
          763Sate Eagle-wing'd, beside him hung his Bow
          764And Quiver with three-bolted Thunder stor'd,
          765And from about him fierce Effusion rowld
          766Of smoak and bickering flame, and sparkles dire;
          767Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,
          768He onward came, farr off his coming shon,
          769And twentie thousand (I thir number heard)
          770Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen:
          771Hee on the wings of Cherub rode sublime
          772On the Chrystallin Skie, in Saphir Thron'd.
          773Illustrious farr and wide, but by his own
          774First seen, them unexpected joy surpriz'd,
          775When the great Ensign of Messiah blaz'd
          776Aloft by Angels born, his Sign in Heav'n:
          777Under whose conduct Michael soon reduc'd
          778His Armie, circumfus'd on either Wing,
          779Under thir Head imbodied all in one.
          780Before him Power Divine his way prepar'd;
          781At his command the uprooted Hills retir'd
          782Each to his place, they heard his voice and went
          783Obsequious, Heav'n his wonted face renewd,
          784And with fresh Flourets Hill and Valley smil'd.
          785This saw his hapless Foes but stood obdur'd,
          786And to rebellious fight rallied thir Powers
          787Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.
          788In heav'nly Spirits could such perverseness dwell?
          789But to convince the proud what Signs availe,
          790Or Wonders move th' obdurate to relent?
          791They hard'nd more by what might most reclame,
          792Grieving to see his Glorie, at the sight
          793Took envie, and aspiring to his highth,
          794Stood reimbattell'd fierce, by force or fraud
          795Weening to prosper, and at length prevaile
          796Against God and Messiah, or to fall
          797In universal ruin last, and now
          798To final Battel drew, disdaining flight,
          799Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God
          800To all his Host on either hand thus spake.

          801Stand still in bright array ye Saints, here stand
          802Ye Angels arm'd, this day from Battel rest;
          803Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
          804Accepted, fearless in his righteous Cause,
          805And as ye have receivd, so have ye don
          806Invincibly; but of this cursed crew
          807The punishment to other hand belongs,
          808Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints;
          809Number to this dayes work is not ordain'd
          810Nor multitude, stand onely and behold
          811Gods indignation on these Godless pourd
          812By mee, not you but mee they have despis'd,
          813Yet envied; against mee is all thir rage,
          814Because the Father, t' whom in Heav'n supream
          815Kingdom and Power and Glorie appertains,
          816Hath honourd me according to his will.
          817Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assig'n'd;
          818That they may have thir wish, to trie with mee
          819In Battel which the stronger proves, they all,
          820Or I alone against them, since by strength
          821They measure all, of other excellence
          822Not emulous, nor care who them excells;
          823Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.

          824So spake the Son, and into terrour chang'd
          825His count'nance too severe to be beheld
          826And full of wrauth bent on his Enemies.
          827At once the Four spred out thir Starrie wings
          828With dreadful shade contiguous, and the Orbes
          829Of his fierce Chariot rowld, as with the sound
          830Of torrent Floods, or of a numerous Host.
          831Hee on his impious Foes right onward drove,
          832Gloomie as Night; under his burning Wheeles
          833The stedfast Empyrean shook throughout,
          834All but the Throne it self of God.  Full soon
          835Among them he arriv'd; in his right hand
          836Grasping ten thousand Thunders, which he sent
          837Before him, such as in thir Soules infix'd
          838Plagues; they astonisht all resistance lost,
          839All courage; down thir idle weapons drop'd;
          840O're Shields and Helmes, and helmed heads he rode
          841Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate,
          842That wisht the Mountains now might be again
          843Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.
          844Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
          845His arrows, from the fourfold-visag'd Foure,
          846Distinct with eyes, and from the living Wheels
          847Distinct alike with multitude of eyes,
          848One Spirit in them rul'd, and every eye
          849Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
          850Among th' accurst, that witherd all thir strength,
          851And of thir wonted vigour left them draind,
          852Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n.
          853Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd
          854His Thunder in mid Volie, for he meant
          855Not to destroy, but root them out of Heav'n:
          856The overthrown he rais'd, and as a Heard
          857Of Goats or timerous flock together throngd
          858Drove them before him Thunder-struck, pursu'd
          859With terrors and with furies to the bounds
          860And Chrystal wall of Heav'n, which op'ning wide,
          861Rowld inward, and a spacious Gap disclos'd
          862Into the wastful Deep; the monstrous sight
          863Strook them with horror backward, but far worse
          864Urg'd them behind; headlong themselves they threw
          865Down from the verge of Heav'n, Eternal wrauth
          866Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.

          867Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, Hell saw
          868Heav'n ruining from Heav'n and would have fled
          869Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep
          870Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
          871Nine dayes they fell; confounded Chaos roard,
          872And felt tenfold confusion in thir fall
          873Through his wilde Anarchie, so huge a rout
          874Incumberd him with ruin: Hell at last
          875Yawning receavd them whole, and on them clos'd,
          876Hell thir fit habitation fraught with fire
          877Unquenchable, the house of woe and paine.
          878Disburd'nd Heav'n rejoic'd, and soon repaird
          879Her mural breach, returning whence it rowld.
          880Sole Victor from th' expulsion of his Foes
          881Messiah his triumphal Chariot turnd:
          882To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood
          883Eye witnesses of his Almightie Acts,
          884With Jubilie advanc'd; and as they went,
          885Shaded with branching Palme, each order bright,
          886Sung Triumph, and him sung Victorious King,
          887Son, Heir, and Lord, to him Dominion giv'n,
          888Worthiest to Reign: he celebrated rode
          889Triumphant through mid Heav'n, into the Courts
          890And Temple of his migihtie Father Thron'd
          891On high: who into Glorie him receav'd,
          892Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.

          893Thus measuring things in Heav'n by things on Earth
          894At thy request, and that thou maist beware
          895By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd
          896What might have else to human Race bin hid;
          897The discord which befel, and Warr in Heav'n
          898Among th' Angelic Powers, and the deep fall
          899Of those too high aspiring, who rebelld
          900With Satan, hee who envies now thy state,
          901Who now is plotting how he may seduce
          902Thee also from obedience, that with him
          903Bereavd of happiness thou maist partake
          904His punishment, Eternal miserie;
          905Which would be all his solace and revenge,
          906As a despite don against the most High,
          907Thee once to gaine Companion of his woe.
          908But list'n not to his Temptations, warne
          909Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard
          910By terrible Example the reward
          911Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,
          912Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.


568] words, he scarce (1667); words he scarce, (1674).

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Milton, Paradise Lost, 2nd edn. (London: Samuel Simmons, 1674). A transcription by Roy Flannagan of the second (1674) edition in John Milton's Complete Poetical Works Reproduced in Photographic Facsimile. A Critical Text Edition, ed. Harris Francis Fletcher, III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948). PR 3551 F52 Robarts Library. As published in Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM.
First publication date: 1667
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/9

Composition date: 1650 - 1665
Composition date note: Transcription courtesy of Roy Flannagan.
Rhyme: unrhyming.

Other poems by John Milton