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Attended with ten thousand thousand saints
He onward came; far off his coming shone,
And twenty thousand, (I their number heard,)
Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen. 770
He on the wings of cherub rode sublime,
On the crystalline sky, in saphire thron'd.
Illustrious far and wide, but by his own
First seen; them unexpected joy surpris’d,
When the great ensign of Messiah blaz’d,
Aloft by angels borne, his sign in heav'n:
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduc'd
His army, circumfus’d on either wing,
Under their head embodied all in one.
Before him Power Divine his way prepard ;
At his command the uprooted hills retir'd
Each to his place; they heard his voice and went
Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renew'd,
And with fresh flow'rets hill and valley smild.
This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdur'd, 785
And to rebellious fight rallied their powers
Insensate, hope conceiving from despair :
In heavenly spirits could such perverseness dwell?
But to convince the proud what signs avail,
Or wonders move the obdurate to relent?
They harden’d more by what might most reclaim,
Grieving to see his glory, at the sight
787 hope] Virg. Æn. ï. 354.
• Una salus victis, nullam sperare salutem.' and Q. Curt. L. v. c. iv.
Sæpe desperatio spei causa est.' Newton.
Took envy, and, aspiring to his highth,
Stood reimbattle'd fierce, by force or fraud
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail
Against God and Messiah, or to fall
In universal ruin last; and now
To final battle drew, disdaining flight,
Or faint retreat ; when the great Son of God
To all his host on either hand thus spake.
Stand still in bright array, ye saints; here stand,
Ye angels arm’d, this day from battle rest ;
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause,
And as ye have receiv'd, so have ye done
Invincibly : but of this cursed crew
The punishment to other hand belongs ;
Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints :
Number to this day's work is not ordain’d,
Nor multitude; stand only and behold
God's indignation on these godless pour’d
By me; not you, but me they have despis’d,
Yet envied : against me is all their rage, ,
Because the Father, t whom in heaven supreme
Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains,
Hath honour'd me according to his will.
Therefore to me their doom he hath assign'd;
That they may have their wish, to try with me
In battle which the stronger proves, they all,
Or I alone against them ; since by strength
797 last] Tickell and Bentley read lost.'
They measure all, of other excellence
Not emulous, nor care who them excels;
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.
So spake the Son, and into terror chang'd
His count'nance, too severe to be beheld
And full of wrath bent on his enemies.
At once the Four spread out their starry wings
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs
Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host.
He on his impious foes right onward drove,
Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels
The steadfast empyrean shook throughout,
All but the throne itself of God. Full soon
Among them he arrivd, in his right hand
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent
Before him, such as in their souls infix'd
Plagues: they astonish'd all resistance lost,
All courage; down their idle weapons dropp'd ;
O’er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode
Of thrones and mighty seraphim prostrate,
That wish'd the mountains now might be again
Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
His arrows, from the fourfold visag'd Four,
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels
841 prostrate] Fairfax and Spenser accent this word on the last syllable. v. Tasso, c. i. 83;
And lay his powers prostráte.' F. Qu. xii. 39.
• Before fair Britomart she fell prostráte.' Newton.
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes ;
One spirit in them ruld, and every eye
Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
Among th' accurst, that wither'd all their strength,
And of their wonted vigour left them drain’d,
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall’n.
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check'd
His thunder in mid volly, for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of heaven.
The overthrown he rais'd, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together throng'd
Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursu'd
With terrors and with furies to the bounds
And crystal wall of heaven; which op'ning wide 860
Roll'd inward, and a spacious gap disclos’d
Into the wasteful deep; the monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward ; but far worse
Urg'd them behind ; headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of heaven; eternal wrath
Burn’d after them to the bottomless pit.
Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, hell saw
Heaven ruining from heaven, and would have fled
858 thunder] See Beaumont's Psyche, c. xx. st. 102.
· Down plung'd this mixed rout which almost split
The greedy throat of the sulphureous deep,
Loud was the noise of this great fall, but yet
Far louder was their crie, who down the steep
Eternal precipice still tumbled, and
No bottom saw, to bid their ruine stand.' 868 ruining] Falling down with ruin, from the stalian ruinando. v. Tasso's Gier. Lib. ix. 39.
• Gli alberi intorno ruinando atterra.' Thyer.
Affrighted; but strict fate had cast too deep
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roar'd,
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall
Through his wild anarchy; so huge a rout
Incumber'd him with ruin : hell at last
Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd;
Hell their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.
Disburden'd heav'n rejoic'd, and soon repair’d
Her mural breach, returning whence it rolld.
Sole victor from th’ expulsion of his foes
Messiah his triumphal chariot turn’d:
To meet him all his saints, who silent stood
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts,
With jubilee advanc'd; and as they went,
Shaded with branching palm, each order bright Ss5
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,
Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion givin,
Worthiest to reign : he celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid heaven, into the courts
And temple of his mighty Father thron’d
On high; who into glory him receiv’d,
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
Thus measuring things in heaven by things on earth, At thy request, and that thou may'st beware By what is past, to thee I have reveald What might have else to human race been hid ;
877 house] Fairfax's Tasso, ix. st. 59.
• Fit house for them, the house of grief and pain.' Newton.