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Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore,
585 When Charlemain with all his peerage fell By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed Their dread Commander; he, above the rost In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
590 Stood like a tower : his form had yet not lost All her original brightness ; nor appear'd Less than Archangel ruin'd, and the excess Of glory obscured : as when the sun, new risen Looks through the horizontal misty air
595 Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon, In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds On half the nations, and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs. Darken'd so, yet shone Above them all the Archangel: but his face
600 Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd; and care Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast Signs of remorse and passion, to behold
605 The fellows of his crime, the followers rather (Far other once beheld in bliss), condemn'd For ever now to have their lot in pain; Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced Of Heaven, and from eternal splendours flung 610 For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood, 'Their glory wither’d: as when Heaven's fire Hath scathed the forest oaks, or mountain pine ; With singed top their stately growth, though bare, Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared 615 To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half enclose him round With all his peers: Attention held them mute. Thrice he essay d, and thrice, in spite of scorn, Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth : at last 620 Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way.
O Myriads of immortal Spirits ! O Powers
Matchless, but with the Almighty! and that strife
656 Our first eruption; thither or elsewhere : For this infernal pit shall never hold Celestia. Spirits in bondage, nor the 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
He spake : and, to confirm his words, out flew
065 Far round illumined hell: Highly they raged Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance toward the vault of heaven. 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 brigade hasten'd: as when bands 675 Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe 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 [thoughts From Heaven; for e’en in Heaven his looks and Were always downward bent, admiring more
681 The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold, Than ought divine or holy else enjoy'd In vision beatific : by him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
685 Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands Rifled the boweis of their mother Earth For treasures, better hid. Soon had his crew Open'd into the hill a spacious wound, And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire 690 That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best Deserve the precious bane. And here let those, Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, 695 And strength, and art, are easily outdone By Spirits reprobale, and in an hour, What in an age they with incessant toil
And hands innumerable scarce perform.
720 Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile Stood fix'd her stately height; and straight the doors, Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth 725 And level pavement: from the arched roof Pendant by subtle magic, many a row Of starry lamps and blazen cressets, fed With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded light "As from a sky. The hasty multitude
730 Admiring enter'd; and the work some praise, And some the architect: his hand was known In Heaven by many a tower'd structure high, Where sceptred Angels held their residence, And sat as princes: whom the supreme King 735 Exalted to such power, and gave to rulo,
Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command
755 At Pandemonium; the high capital Of Satan and his peers: their summons call'd From every
band and squared regiment By place or choice the worthiest; they anon, With hundreds and with thousands, trooping came, Attended : all access was throng'd; the gates 761 And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall (Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold Wont ride in arr'd and at the Soldan's chair Defied the best of Panim chivalry
765 To mortal combat, or career with lance,) Thick swarmd both on the ground and in the air Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees In spring time, when the sun with Taurus ridos, Pour forth their populous youth about the hive 770 In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, The suburb of their strawbuilt citadel, Now rubb'd with balm, expatiate and confer