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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
but cast Signs of remorse and passion to behold The fellows of his crime, the foll'wers rather
(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'd
O Myriads of immortal Sp’rits, 0 Pow'rs
By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns
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
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,
And strength, and art, are easily outdone 696
cells prepar’d, 700
many a row of pipes, the sound-board breathes.