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So under fiery cope together rush'd 215
Both battles main, with ruinous assault -
And inextinguishable rage; all heaven
Resounded, and had earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder 2 when
Millions of fierce encount’ring angels fought
On either side, the least of whom could wield
These elements, and arm him with the force
Of all their regions: how much more of power
Army’ against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb, - 22
Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
Had not th’ eternal King omnipotent -
From his strong hold of heav'n high over-rul’d
And limited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem’d
A numerous host, in strength each armed hand

220

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230

A legion, led in fight yet leader seem’d
Each warrior single as in chief, expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway

Of battle, open when, and when to close

235

The ridges of grim war: no thought of flight,

zara 3 orzuaray goatiaz.

Turnvas, but Milton has improved the horror of the description, and a shade of darts is not near so great and dreadful an image as a fiery cope or vault of flaming darts.

229. —though number'd such &c.] Each legion was in number like an army, each single warrior was in strength like a legion, and though led in fight

was as expert as a commander
in chief. So that the angels are
celebrated first for their number,
then for their strength, and lastly
for their expertness in war.
236. The ridges of grim war :]
A metaphor taken from a
ploughed field; the men answer
to the ridges, between whom,
the intervals of the ranks, the
furrows are. The ridges of grim,
fierce frightful looking, war;
that is, the ranks of the army,

None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argued fear; each on himself relied,
As only in his arm the moment lay

Of victory: deeds of eternal fame

Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread That war and various, sometimes on firm ground

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-evrt podou Atown/avoy, ovr' axiawens. 239. As only in his arm the moment lay Of victory :] As if upon his single arm had depended the whole weight of the victory. The moment, the weight that turns the balance, as the word signifies in Latin, Ter. Andr. i. v. 31. Dum in dubio.est animus, paulo momento huc vel illuc impellitur: and as he has employed here the metaphor of the neight, so of the scale a little afterwards—long time in even scale the battle hung —-using as a metaphor what Homer makes a simile of, Iliad. xii. 433. Axx' oxey, &rri raaayra yuyn "ns asy raw sari wa Azazm ruraro wreAspass ra. As when two scales are charg’d with doubtful loads- *

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But how much stronger is it in Milton, that the war Tormented all the air; all air seem'd then Conflicting fire It would be entering into too minute a detail of criticism to mention every little circumstance that is copied from Homer; and where he does not directly copy from Homer, his style and colouring is still very much in Homer's manner; and one may see plainly that he has read him, even where he does not imitate him. Wonderful as his genius was, he could hardly have drawn the battles of the angels so well without first reading those in the Iliad; and Homer taught him to excel Homer. 242. That war and various, sometimes on firm ground A standing fight, then soaring &c.]

A standing fight, then soaring on main wing
Tormented all the air; all air seem'd then

Conflicting fire: long time in even scale

245

The battle hung; till Satan, who that day
Prodigious pow'r had shown, and met in arms
No equal, ranging through the dire attack
Of fighting seraphim confus'd, at length
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and fell’d 250
Squadrons at once ; with huge two-handed sway
Brandish’d aloft the horrid edge came down
Wide wasting ; such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos'd the rocky orb
Oftenfold adamant, his ample shield, 255

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by Abdiel in the beginning of
the action: but I suppose the
poet did not consider Abdiel as
equal to Satan, though he gained
that accidental advantage over
him. Satan no doubt would
have proved an overmatch for
Abdiel, only for the general en-
gagement which ensued, and
broke off the combat between
them.
251. —nith huge invo-handed
sway &c.] It shows how entirely
the ideas of chivalry and romance
had possessed him, to make Mi-
chael fight with a two-handed
sword. The same idea occa-
sioned his expressing himself
very obscurely in the following
lines of his Lycidas, v. 130.
But that two-handed engine at the
door

Stands ready to smite once, , and smite no more.

Warburton.

255. Of tenfold adamant,) In other poets the angels are armed

A vast circumference: At his approach
The great archangel from his warlike toil
Surceas'd, and glad as hoping here to end
Intestine war in heav'n, th’ arch-foe subdued
Or captive dragg'd in chains, with hostile frown 260
And visage all inflam'd first thus began.
Author of ev'il, unknown till thy revolt,
Unnam'd in heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,

Though heaviest by just measure on thyself

And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb’d
Heav'n's blessed peace, and into nature brought
Misery, uncreated till the crime
Of thy rebellion ? how hast thou instill’d

Thy malice into thousands, once upright

270

And faithful, now prov’d false But think not here
To trouble holy rest; heav'n casts thee out

From all her confines.

Heav'n the seat of bliss

Brooks not the works of violence and war.
Hence then, and evil go with thee along, 275

in adamant, and in Tasso there is particular mention of an adamantine shield, cant. vii. st. 82. Scudo di lucidissimo diamante. 262. Author of evil, &c.] These speeches give breath as it were to the reader after the hurry of the general battle ; and prepare his mind, and raise his expectation the more for the ensuing combat between Michael and Satan. It is the practice likewise of Homer and Virgil, to make their heroes discourse before they fight; it renders the action more solemn,

and more engages the reader's
attention.
275. Hence then, and evil go
with thee along,
Thy offspring, to the place of
evil, hell,
Thou and thy nicked crew ;
there mingle broils,J
Imitated from Tasso, where Mi-
chael in like manner rebukes
the infernal spirits who fought
against the Christians, cant. ix.
St. 64.
Itene maledetti al vostro regno,

Regno di pene, e di perpetua morte: i. siano in quegli a voi doulati chiostri

Thy offspring, to the place of evil, hell,
Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broils,
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom,
Or some more sudden vengeance wing’d from God

Precipitate thee with augmented pain.

280

So spake the prince of angels; to whom thus
The Adversary. Northink thou with wind
Of aery threats to awe whom yet with deeds

Thou canst not.

Hast thou turn’d the least of these

To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise 285
Unvanquish'd, easier to transact with me
That thou should'st hope, imperious, and with threats
To chase me hence 2 err not that so shall end
The strife which thou call’st evil, but we style

The strife of glory; which we mean to win,

290

Or turn this heav’n itself into the hell
Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,
If not to reign: mean while thy utmost force,
And join him nam'd Almighty to thy aid,

I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.

295

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