Слике страница
PDF
ePub

666

Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers
From diamond quarries hewn and rocks of gold-
The palace of great Lucifer (so call

760
That structure, in the dialect of men
Interpreted) which, not long after, he,
Affecting all equality with God,
In imitation of that mount whereon
Messiah was declared in sight of Heaven,
The Mountain of the Congregation called ;
For thither he assembled all his train,
Pretending so commanded to consult
About the great reception of their King
Thither to come, and with calumnious art

770 Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears :

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, If these magnific titles yet remain

[Powers-Not merely titular, since by decree Another now hath to himself engrossed All power, and us eclipsed under the name Of King Anointed; for whom all this haste Of midnight march, and hurried meeting here, This only to consult, how we may best, With what may be devised of honours new, Receive him coming to receive from us Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile ! Too much to one! but double how endured To one and to his image now proclaimed ? But what if better counsels might erect Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke ! Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves Natives and Sons of Heaven possessed before 790 By none, and, if not equal all, yet free, Equally free ; for orders and degrees Jar not with liberty, but well consist. Who can in reason, then, or right, assume Monarchy over such as live by right His equals--if in power and splendour less,

780

In freedom equal ? or can introduce
Law and edict on us, who without law
Err not? much less for this to be our Lord,
And look for adoration, to the abuse

800 Of those imperial titles which assert Our being ordained to govern, not to serve !'

“ Thus far his bold discourse without control
Had audience, when, among the Seraphim,
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored
The Deity, and divine commands obeyed,
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe
The current of his fury thus opposed :-

“O argument blasphemous, false, and proud-
Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven 810
Expected ; least of all from thee, ingrate,
In place thyself so high above thy peers !
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn
The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn,
That to his only Son, by right endued
With regal sceptre, every soul in Heaven
Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due
Confess him rightful King ? Unjust, thou say'st,
Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free,
And equal over equals to let reign,

820 One over all with unsucceeded power ! Shalt thou give law to God ? shalt thou dispute With Him the points of liberty, who made Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being ? Yet, by experience taught, we know how good, And of our good and of our dignity How provident, he is—how far from thought To make us less; bent rather to exalt Our happy state, under one head more near 830 United. But—to grant it thee unjust That equal over equals monarch reignThyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count, Or all angelic nature joined in one, Equal to him, begotten Son, by whom,

N

850

As by his Word, the mighty Father inade
All things, even thee, and all the Spirits of Heaven
By him created in their bright degrees,
Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers ?-
Essential Powers ; nor by his reign obscured,

841
But more illustrious made ; since he, the head,
One of our number thus reduced becomes ;
His laws our laws; all honour to him done
Returns our own. Cease, then, this impious rage,
And tempt not these ; but hasten to appease
The incensed Father and the incensèd Son
While pardon may be found, in time besought.'

So spake the fervent Angel ; but his zeal
None seconded, as out of season judged,
Or singular and rash. Whereat rejoiced
The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied :-

That we were formed, then, say'st thou? and the
Of secondary hands, by task transferred [work
From Father to his Son ? Strange point and new!
Doctrine which we would know whence learned ! Who
When this creation was? Remember'st thou [saw
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being ?
We know no time when we were not as now;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised 860
By our own quickening power when fatal course
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native Heaven, Ethereal Sons.
Our puissance is our own ; our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
Who is our equal. Then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begirt the Almighty Throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings, carry to the Anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.'

“ He said ; and, as the sound of waters deep, Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause Through the infinite host. Nor less for that

870 890

The flaming Seraph, fearless, though alone, Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold :

6. O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed, Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall Determined, and thy hapless crew involved In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread

880
Both of thy crime and punishment. Henceforth
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
Of God's Messiah. Those indulgent laws
Will not be now youtsafed ; other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recall ;
That golden sceptre which thou didst reject
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise ;
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly
These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath
Impendent, raging into sudden flame,
Distinguish not : for soon expect to feel
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
Then who created thee lamenting learn
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.'

“ So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found ;
Among the faithless faithful only he ;
Among innumerable false unmoved,
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal ;

900
Nor number nor example with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
Though single. From amidst them forth he passed,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained
Superior, nor of violence feared aught ;
And with retorted scorn his back he turned
On those proud towers, to swift destruction doomed.”

THE END OF THE FIFTH BOOK.

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK VI.

THE ARGUMENT.

Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battle against Satan and his Angels. The first fight described : Satan and his Powers retire under night. He calls a council ; invents devilish engines, which, in the second day's fight, put Michael and his Angels to some disorder; but they at length, pulling up mountains, overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan. Yet, the tumult not so ending, God, on the third day, sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory. He, in the power of his Father, coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his chariot and tounder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them, unable to resist, towards the wall of Heaven ; which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the Deep. Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

“ALL night the dreadless Angel

, unpursued, Through Heaven's wide champaign held his

way, till Morn, Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand Unbarred the gates of Light. There is a cave Within the Mount of God, fast by his throne, Where Light and Darkness in perpetual round Lodge and dislodge by turns—which makes through

Heaven Grateful vicissitude, like day and night; Light issues forth, and at the other door Obsequious Darkness enters, till her hour To veil the heaven, though darkness there might well Seem twilight here. And now went forth the Morn Such as in highest heaven, arrayed in gold Empyreal; from before her vanished Night, Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright,

IO

« ПретходнаНастави »