Imágenes de páginas
PDF
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepard
To speak; whereat their doubld ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half inclose him round
With all his peers: attention held them mute.
Thrice he assay'd, and thrice in spite of scorn,
Tears such as angels weep, burst forth: at last
Words interwove with sighs found out their way.

"O myriads of immortal spirits, O powers
Matchless, but with th’ Almighty; and that strife
Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire,
As this place testifies, and this dire change
Hateful to utter: but what power of mind
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd,
How such united force of gods, how such
As stood like these, could ever know repulse ?
For who can yet believe, though after loss,
That all these puissant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied Heav'n, shall fail to re-ascend
Self-rais'd, and re-possess their native seat?
For me be witness all the host of Heav'n,
If counsels different, or danger shunn'd
By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns
Monarch in Heav'n, till then as one secure
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute,
Consent or custom, and his regal state
Put forth at full, but still his strength conceald;
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own;
So as not either to provoke, or dread
New war, provok't; our better part remains,
To work in close design by fraud or guile
What force effected not: that he no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife
There went a fame in Heav'n that he ere long
Intended to create, and therein plant

A generation, whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the sons of Heaven;
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps

655
Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:
For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial spirits 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 resolved.'

He spake: and, to confirm his words, out-flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty cherubim; the sudden blaze

665 Far round illumined 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 toward the vault of Heav'n. 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 numerous brigad hasten’d: as when bands Of pioneers with spade and pick-axe arm’d Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field, Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on; Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell From Heav'n; for ev'n in Heav'n his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more

681 The riches of Heav'ns pavement, trodd'n gold, Than aught divine or holy else enjoy'd In vision beatific. By him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught, Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands Rifl'd the bowels of their mother Earth For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew Op'nd into the hill a spacious wound And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire, боо

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those
Who boast in mortal things, and wondring tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings,
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,
And strength and art are easily out-done
By spirits reprobate, and in an hour
What in an age they with incessant toil
And hands innumerable scarce perform.
Nigh on the plain in many cells prepar'd,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluic'd from the lake, a second multitude
With wondrous art found out the massy ore,
Severing each kind, and scumm'd the bullion dross:
A third as soon had form'd within the ground
A various mould, and from the boiling cells
By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook,
As in an organ from one blast of wind
To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet;
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures grav'n,
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
Equall'd in all their glories, to enshrine
Belus or Serapis their Gods, or seat
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. Th’ ascending pile
Stood fixt her stately highth, and straight the doors
Opening their brazen folds discover wide
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof
Pendent by subtle magic many a row
Of starry lamps, and blazing cressets fed

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

With naphtha and asphaltus yielded light
As from a sky. The hasty multitude
Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise,
And some the architect: his hand was known
In Heav'n by many a towred structure high,
Where scepter'd angels held their residence,
And sat as princes, whom the Supreme King
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unador'd
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men call'd him Mulciber; and how he fell
From Heav'n, they fabld, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements; from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropt from the zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos, th' Ægean ile : thus they relate,
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout,
Fell long before; nor aught avail'd him now
To have built in Heav'n high towrs; nor did he scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent

750 With his industrious crew to build in Hell.

Meanwhile the winged heralds by command
Of sovran power, with awful ceremony
And trumpets' sound throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council forthwith to be held

755
At Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers: their summons callid
From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice the worthiest ; they anon,
With hunderds and with thousands trooping came 760
Attended : all access was throng'd, the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold
Wont ride in arm'd, and at the Soldan's chair
Defi'd the best of Panim chivalry

765 To mortal combat or career with lance)

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air,
Brusht with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
In spring-time, when the sun with Taurus rides,
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New rubb’d with balm, expatiate and confer
Their state affairs. So thick the airy crowd
Swarm’d, and were strait'n'd; till the signal giv'n,
Behold a wonder! they but now who seem'd
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs in narrow room
Throng numberless, like that Pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount, or faery elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side
Or fountain some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while over-head the moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course; they on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
Reduc'd their shapes immense; and were at large,
Though without number still amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great seraphic lords and cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat ;
A thousand demigods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then
And summons read, the great consult began.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »