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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 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 Charlemagne with all his peerage

fell By Fontarabia. Thus far these beyond Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd Their dread commander: he above the rest In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 590 Stood like a tow'r; his form had not yet lost All her original brightness, nor appear’d Less than Arch-Angel ruin'd, and th' excess Of glory obscur’d; as when the sun new ris'n Looks through the horizontal misty air 595 Shorn of his beams, 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 consid'rate pride Waiting revenge: cruel his

eye,

but cast Signs of remorse and passion to behold The fellows of his crime, the foll'wers rather

605

(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 610
For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither’d: as when Heav'n's fire
Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth tho' bare
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepar'd 615
To speak; whereat their doubl’d ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half inclose him round
With all his peers. Attention held them mute.
Thrice he assay'd, and thrice, in spite of scorn,
Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth. At last 620
Words interwove with sighs found out their way.

O Myriads of immortal Sp’rits, 0 Pow'rs
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 empty'd 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 repute,
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 not : that he no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife
There went a fame in Heav'n that he ere long 651
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation, whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the sons of Heav'n :
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps

655 Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere : For this infernal pit shall never hold Celestial Sp'rits in bondage, nor th' abyss Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts Full counsel must mature: Peace is despair'd, 660 For who can think submission ? War then, War, Open or understood, must be resolv'd.

He spake: and, to confirm his words, out flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty Cherubim : the sudden blaze

VOL. I.

665

E

Far round illumin’d Hell. Highly they rag'd Against the highest, and fierce with grasped arms Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance tow'rd the vault of Heaven.

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 670 Belch'd fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign That in his womb was hid metallic ore, The work of sulphur. Thither wing'd with speed A num'rous brigade hasten'd: as when bands Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe arm’d, 676 Forerun the royal camp to trench a field, Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on; Mammon, the least erected Sp’rit that fell From Heav'n; for e'en in Heav'n his looks and thoughts

680 Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of Heav'n's pavement, trodden gold, Than aught divine or holy else enjoy'd In vision beatific. By him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught, 685 Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands Rifled the bowels of their mother earth For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew Open'd into th' hill a spacious wound, 689 And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best Deserve the precious bane. And here let those Who boast in mortal things, and wond'ring tell Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,

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And strength, and art, are easily outdone 696
By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour
What in an age they with incessant toil
And hands innumerable scarce perform.
Nigh on the plain in

many

cells prepar’d, 700
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluic'd from the lake, a second multitude
With wond'rous art founded the massy ore,
Severing each kind, and scumm’d the bullion

dross:
A third as soon had form’d within the ground
A various mould, and from the boiling cells 706
By strange conveyance fill’d each hollow nook,
As in an organ, from one blast of wind,
To

many a row of pipes, the sound-board breathes.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge 710
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With golden architrave; nor did there want 715
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures grav'n:
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
Equal'd in all their glories, to inshrine
Belus or Serapis their Gods, or seat

720
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. Th'ascending pile
Stood fix'd her stately height; and straight the

doors,

C

1

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