Imágenes de páginas





LL night the dreadless Angel, unpursu'd, Through Heav'n's wide champain held his way,

till Wak'd by the circling hours, with rosy hand Unbarr'd the gates of light. There is a cave Within the mount of God, fast by his throne, 5 Where light and darkness in perpetual round Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes thro'

Heav'n Grateful vicissitude, like day and night; Light issues forth, and at the other door Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour To veil the Heav'n, tho’darkness there might well Seem twilight here: and now went forth the morn Such as in highest Heav'n, array'd in gold Empyreal ; from before her vanish'd night, 14 Shot thro’ with orient beams; when all the plain, Cover'd with thick embattl'd squadrons bright,


Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds, Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view. War he perceiv’d, war in procinct, and found Already known what he for news had thought To have reported. Gladly then he mix'd

21 Among those friendly pow'rs, who him receiv’d With joy and acclamations loud, that one, That of so many myriads fall'n, yet one Return'd not lost. On to the sacred hill

25 They led him, high applauded, and present Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice From midst a golden cloud thus mild was heard: Servant of God, well done! well hast thou

fought The better fight, who single hast maintain'd 30 Against revolted multitudes the cause Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms; And for the testimony of truth hast borne Universal reproach (far worse to bear Than violence); for this was all thy care 35 To stand approv'd in sight of God, tho' 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 Than scorn'd thou didst depart, and to subdue 40 By force, who reason for their law refuse, Right reason for their law, and for their king Messiah, who by right of merit reigns. Go Michael, of celestial armies prince, And thou in military prowess next


Gabriel, lead forth to battle 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 50
Fearless assault, and to the brow of Heav'n
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss
Into their place of punishment, the gulph
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
His fiery Chaos to receive their fall.

So spake the sov'reign voice, and clouds began
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll
In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign
Of wrath awak'd; nor with less dread the loud
Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow: 60
At which command the powers militant
That stood for Heav'n, in mighty quadrate join'd
Of union irresistible, mov'd on
In silence their bright legions, to the sound
Of instrumental harmony, that breath'd 65
Heroic ardor to advent'rous deeds
Under their God-like leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move
Indissolubly firm: nor obvious hill,

69 Nor strait’ning vale, nor wood, nor stream divides Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground Their march was, and the passive air upbore Their nimble tread. As when the total kind Of birds, in orderly array on wing, Came summon'd over Eden, to receive 75

Their 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,
Far in th' horizon to the north appear'd
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretch'd 80
In battailous aspect, and nearer view
Bristled with upright beams innumerable
Of rigid spears, and helmets throng’d, and shields
Various, with boastful argument pourtray'd,
The banded pow’rs of Satan hasting on 85
With furious expedition; for they ween'd
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 their thoughts prov'd fond and vain
In the mid-way: tho' strange to us it seem'd 91
At first, that Angel should with Angel war,
And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimous, as sons of one great sire

95 Hymning th' Eternal Father ; but the shout Of battle now began, and rushing sound Of onset ended soon each milder thought. High in the midst, exalted as a God, Th’Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat, Idol of Majesty Divine, inclos'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 105


Presented, stood in terrible array,
Of hideous length. Before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it join'd,
Satan with vast and haughty strides advanc'd
Came tow'ring, arm'd in adamant and gold : 110
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 High'st Should yet remain, where faith and realty 115 Remain not! wherefore should not strength and

might There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable ? His puissance, trusting in th' Almighty's aid, I mean to try, whose reason I have try'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 foul, When reason hath to deal with force, yet so 125 Most reason is that reason overcome. So pondering, and from his armed

peers Forth stepping opposite, half way he met His daring foe, at this prevention more Incens'd; and thus securely him defy’d: 130 Proud, art thou met? Thy hope was to have

reach'd The height of thy aspiring unoppos’d, The throne of God unguarded, and his side

I 20

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »