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Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon 325
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern
The advantage, and descending tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf?
Awake, arise, or be forever fallen!”

330 They heard, and were abashed, and up they

sprung Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch, On duty sleeping found by whom they dread, Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. Nor did they not perceive the evil plight 335 In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel; Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed Innumerable. As when the potent rod Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day, Waved round the coast, up called a pitchy cloud Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind, 341 That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung Like night, and darkened all the land of Nile: So numberless were those bad angels seen Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell, 345 'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires; Till, as a signal given, the uplifted spear Of their great Sultan waving to direct Their course, in even balance down they light On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain: 350 A multitude like which the populous North Poured never from her frozen loins, to pass Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons Came like a deluge on the South, and spread Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands. 355 Forthwith, from every squadron and each band, The heads and leaders thither haste where stood Their great Commander; godlike shapes, and

forms Excelling human, princely Dignities,

359 And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones; Though of their names in Heavenly records now Be no memorial, blotted out and rased By their rebellion from the Books of Life. Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the earth,

365 Through God's high sufferance for the trial of

man, By falsities and lies the greatest part Of mankind they corrupted to forsake God their Creator, and the invisible Glory of him that made them, to transform 370 Oft to the image of a brute, adorned With gay religions full of pomp and gold, And devils to adore for deities: Then were they known to men by various names, And various idols through the heathen world. 375

Say, Muse, their names then known, who first,

who last, Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch, At their great Emperor's call, as next in worth, Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof. 380

The chief were those who, from the pit of Hell Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fix Their seats; long after, next the seat of God, Their altars by his altar, gods adored Among the nations round, and durst abide 385 Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned Between the Cherubim; yea, often placed Within his sanctuary itself their shrines, Abominations; and with cursèd things His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned, 390 And with their darkness durst affront his light. First Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears, Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels

loud, Their children's cries unheard that passed through fire

395 To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite Worshipped in Rabba and her watery plain, In Argob and in Basan, to the stream Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart Of Solomon he led by fraud to build His temple right against the temple of God On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell. 405 Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab's sons, From Aroar to Nebo and the wild Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines, 410 And Eleale to the Asphaltic pool. Peor his other name, when he enticed Israel in Sittin on their march from Nile, To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged

415 Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate, Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell. With these came they who, from the bordering

flood Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names Of Baälim and Ashtaroth those male, These feminine. For Spirits, when they please, Can either sex assume, or both; so soft And uncompounded is their essence pure, 425 Not tied or manacled with joint or limb, Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,

420

445

450

Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they

choose, Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure, Can execute their aery purposes,

430 And works of love or enmity fulfil. For those the race of Israel oft forsook Their living Strength, and unfrequented left His righteous altar, bowing lowly down To bestial gods; for which their heads as low 435 Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear Of despicable foes. With these in troop Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians called Astarte, Queen of Heaven, with crescent horns; To whose bright image nightly by the moon

440 Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs; In Sion also not unsung, where stood Her temple on the offensive mountain, built By that uxorious king whose heart, though large, Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind, Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured The Syrian damsels to lament his fate In amorous ditties all a summer's day, While smooth Adonis from his native rock Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood. Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale Infected Sion's daughters with like heat, Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led, 455 His eye surveyed the dark idolatries Of alienated Judah. Next came one Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge, 460 Where he fell flat, and shamed his worshippers: Dagon his name, sea-monster, upward man And downward fish; yet had his temple high Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon,

465 And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds. Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seat Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams. He also against the house of God was bold: 470 A leper once he lost, and gained a king, Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drew God's altar to disparage and displace For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn His odious offerings, and adore the gods

475 Whom he had vanquished. After these appeared A crew who, under names of old renown, Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train, With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms Rather than human. Nor did Israel 'scape

The infection, when their borrowed gold composed
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan, 485
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox —
Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed
From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods.
Belial came last, than whom a Spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love 491
Vice for itself. To him no temple stood
Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he
In temples and at altars, when the priest
Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled 495
With lust and violence the house of God?
In courts and palaces he also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers,
And injury and outrage; and when night 500
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
Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape. 505

These were the prime in order and in might;
The rest were long to tell, though far renowned
The Ionian gods — of Javan's issue held
Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth,
Their boasted parents; — Titan, Heaven's first-
born,

510 With his enormous brood, and birthright seized By younger Saturn; he from mightier Jove, His own and Rhea's son, like measure found; So Jove usurping reigned. These, first in Crete And Ida known, thence on the snowy top 515 Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air, Their highest Heaven; 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 the Hesperian fields,

520 And o'er the Celtic roamed the utmost isles. All these and more came flocking; but with

looks Downcast and damp, yet such wherein appeared Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their

Chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost In loss itself; which on his countenance cast 526 Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride Soon recollecting, with high words that bore Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears: Then straight commands that at the warlike sound Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared 532 His mighty standard. That proud honour claimed Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall: Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurlet

480

605

The imperial ensign, which, full high advanced,
Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind, 537
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed,
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds: 540
At which the universal host up-sent
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 colours waving; with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appeared, and serried shields in thick array
Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood

550
Of flutes and soft recorders — such as raised
To highth of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle, and instead of rage
Deliberate valour breathed, firm and unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat; 555
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage,
With solemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,
Breathing united force with fixed thought, 560
Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; and now
Advanced in view they stand, a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield,
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief 566
Had to impose. He through the armèd files
Darts his experienced 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 hardening in his strength Glories; for never, since created man, Met such embodied force as, named with these, Could merit more than that small infantry 575 Warred on by cranes: though all the giant brood Of Phlegra with the heroic race were joined That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side Mixed 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, baptized 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 observed 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 original brightness, nor appeared
Less than Archangel ruined, and the excess
Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen
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. Darkened so, yet shone
Above them all the Archangel; but his face 600
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, 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
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned
Forever now to have their lot in pain;
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced
Of Heaven, and from eternal splendors flung 610
For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory withered: as, when Heaven's fire
Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines,
With singèd top their stately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
With all his peers: attention held them mute.
Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn,
Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last
Words interwove with sighs found out their
way:

621 O myriads of immortal Spirits! O powers Matchless, but with the Almighty! - and that

strife Was not inglorious, though the event was dire, As this place testifies, and this dire change, 625 Hateful to utter. But what power of mind, Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth Of knowledge past or present, could have feared How such united force of gods, how such As stood like these, could ever know repulse ? For who can yet believe, though after loss, 631 That all these puissant legions, whose exile Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to reascend, Self-raised, and repossess their native seat? For me, be witness all the host of Heaven, 635 If counsels different, or dangers shunned By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns Monarch in Heaven, 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 concealed; 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 provoked. Our better part remains

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655

war

To work in close design, by fraud or guile, 646 And hands innumerable, scarce perform.
What force effected not; that he no less

Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared, 700
At length from us may find, who overcomes That underneath had veins of liquid fire
By force hath overcome but half his foe.

Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife With wondrous art founded the massy ore, There went a fame in Heaven that he erelong Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion Intended to create, and therein plant

dross. A generation whom his choice regard

A third as soon had formed within the ground Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven. A various mould, and from the boiling cells 706 Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps

By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook: Our first eruption: thither or elsewhere;

As in an organ, from one blast of wind, For this infernal pit shall never hold

To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes. Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor the Abyss Anon out of the earth a fabric huge

710 Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts, Rose like an exhalation, with the sound Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired, Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet For who can think submission? War, then, Built like a temple, where pilasters round

Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid Open or understood, must be resolved."

662

With golden architrave; nor did there want 715 He spake; and, to confirm his words, out-flew Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven: Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon, Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze

665 Nor great Alcairo, such magnificence Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat

720 Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war, Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven. In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 670 Stood fixed her stately highth, and straight the Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire doors, Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide That in his womb was hid metallic ore,

Within, her ample spaces o'er the smooth 725 The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with And level pavement: from the archèd roof, speed,

Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
A numerous brigade hastened: as when bands 675 Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed, With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,

As from a sky. The hasty multitude 730 Or cast a rampart.

Mammon led them on, Admiring entered, and the work some praise, Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell

And some the architect. His hand was known From Heaven, for even in Heaven his looks and In Heaven by many a towered structure high, thoughts

680 Where sceptred Angels held their residence, Were always downward bent, admiring more And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King 735 The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold, Exalted to such power, and gave to rule, Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed

Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright. In vision beatific. By him first

Nor was his name unheard or unadored Men also, and by his suggestion taught, 685 In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land Ransacked the Centre, and with impious hands Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell 740 Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth

From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew

Jove Opened into the hill a spacious wound,

Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best 691 A summer's day; and with the setting sun Deserve the precious bane. And here let those Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star, 745 Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell On Lemnos, the Ægæan isle. Thus they relate, Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, Erring; for he with this rebellious rout Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, Fell long before; nor aught availed him now And strength, and art, are easily outdone 696 To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour

'scape What in an age they, with incessant toil

By all his engines, but was headlong sent 7

SIR JOHN SUCKLING (1609–1642)

A DOUBT OF MARTYRDOM

755

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With his industrious crew to build in Hell.

Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command
Of sovran power, with awful ceremony
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host pro-

claim
A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers.

Their summons called
From every band and squarèd regiment
By place or choice the worthiest; they anon 759
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came
Attended. All access was thronged, the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a covered field, where champions

bold Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair Defied the best of Panim chivalry

765 To mortal combat, or career with lance) Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the

air, Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As

bees In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides,

769 Pour forth their populous youth about the hive In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers Fly to and fro, or on the smoothèd plank, The suburb of their straw-built citadel, New rubbed with balm, expatiate and confer Their state-affairs. So thick the aery crowd 775 Swarmed and were straightened; till, the signal

given, Behold a wonder! they but now who seemed In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons, Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room Throng numberless, like that pygmean race

780 Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves, Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side Or fountain, some belated peasant sees, Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth 785 Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and

dance Intent, with jocund music charm his ear; At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large,

790 Though without number still, amidst the hall Of that infernal court. But far within, And in their own dimensions like themselves, The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim In close recess and secret conclave sat, 795 A thousand demi-gods on golden seats, Frequent and full. After short silence then, And summons read, the great consult began.

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