« AnteriorContinuar »
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven,
Seek not the praise of men: The other sort,
In might though wonderous and in acts of war,
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom
Cancell'd from Heaven and sacred memory,
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
For strength from truth divided, and from just,
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise
And ignominy; yet to glory aspires
Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame:
Therefore eternal silence be their doom.
And now their mightiest quell'd, the battle swerv'd,
With many an inroad gor'd; deformed rout
Enter'd, and foul disorder ; all the ground
With shiver'd armour strown, and on a heap
Chariot and charioteer lay overturn'd,
And fiery-foaming steeds; what stood, recoild
O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanick host
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surpris’d,
Then first with fear surpris'd, and sense of pain,
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought
By sin of disobedience; till that hour
Nor liable to fear, or flight, or pain.
Far otherwise the inviolable Saints,
In cubick phalanx firm, advanc'd entire,
Invulnerable, impenetrably arm’d;
Such high advantages their innocence
Gave them above their foes ; not to have sinn'd,
Not to have disobey'd ; in fight they stood
Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain'd
By wound, though from their place by violence mov'd.
Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven
Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos’d,
And silence on the odious din of war :
Under her cloudy covert both retir’dy
Victor and vanquished: On the foughten field
Michaël and his Angels prevalent
Encamping, plac'd in guard their watches round,
Cherubick waving fires : On the other part,
Satan with his rebellious disappear'd,
Far in the dark dislodg’d; and, void of rest,
His potentates to council calls by night;
And in the midst thus undismay'd begán.
O now in danger tried, now known in arms Not to be overpower'd, Companions dear, Found worthy not of liberty alone, Too mean pretence! but what we more affect, Honour, dominion, glory, and renown; Who have sustain'd one day in doubtful fight, (And if one day, why not eternal days ?) What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send Against us from about his throne, and judg'd Sufficient to subdué us to his will, But proves not so: Then fallible, it seems, Of future we may deem him, though till now Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly ärm’dy
Some disadvantage we endur'd and pain,
Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemn'd;
Since now we find this our empyreal form
Incapable of mortal injury,
Imperishable, and, though pierc'd with wound,
Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
Of evil then so small as easy think
The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
Weapons more violent, when next we meet, .
May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
Or equal what between us made the odds,
In nature none: If other hidden cause
Left them superiour, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose.
He sat; and in the assembly next upstood
Nisroch, of Principalities the prime ;
As one he stood escap'd from cruel fight,
Sore toil'd, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And cloudy in aspéct thus answering spake.
Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard
For Gods, and too unequal work we find,
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain'd, impassive; from which evil
Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails
Valour or strength, though matchless, quell'd with
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
But live content, which is the calmest life:
But pain is perfect misery, the worst
Of evils, and excessive, overturns
All patience. He, who therefore can invent
With what more forcible we may offend
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.
Whereto with look compos’d Satan replied.
Not uninvented that, which thou aright
Believ'st so main to our success, I bring.
Which of us who beholds the bright surface
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand,
This continent of spacious Heaven adorn'd
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems and gold;
Whose eye so superficially surveys
These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till, touch'd
With Heaven's ray, and temper'd, they shoot forth
So beauteous, opening to the ambient light ?
These in their dark nativity the deep
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;
Which, into hollow engines, long and round,
Thick ramm'd, at the other bore with touch of fire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth
From far, with thundering noise, among our foes
Such implements of mischief, as shall dash
To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm’d
The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
Nor long shall be our labour ; yet ere dawn,
Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive ;
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair’d.
He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
Enlighten'd, and their languish'd hope reviv'd.
The invention all admir'd, and each, how he
To be the inventer miss'd; so easy it seem'd
Once found, which yet unfound most would have
Impossible : yet, haply, of thy race
In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
With devilish machination, might devise
Like instrument to plague the sons of men
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Forthwith from council to the work they flew;
None arguing stood ; innumerable hands
Were ready; in a moment up they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
The originals of nature in their crude
Conception ; sulphurous and nitrous foam