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None seconded, as out of season judged,
Or singular and rash; whereat rejoiced
The apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied:
"That we were form'd then, sayst thou? and the
Of secondary hand, by task transferr'd [work
From Father to his Son? strange point and new!
Doctrine which we would know whence learn'd: 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
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's 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 The flaming seraph fearless, though alone, Encompass'd round with foes, thus answer'd bold "O alienate from God, O spirit accurs'd, Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall Determined, and thy hapless crew involved, In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread
Both of thy crime and punishment.
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws
Will not be now vouchsafed; 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:
Nor number nor example with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
Though single. From amidst them forth he pass'd,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustain'
Superior, nor of violence fear'd aught:
And, with retorted scorn, his back he turn'd
On those proud tow'rs, to swift destruction doom'd.
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 thunder 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;
Waked by the circling hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd 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
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night; [heaven
Light issues forth, and, at the other door,
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour. [well
To veil the heaven; though darkness there might
Seem twilight here. And now went forth the Morn,
Such as in highest heaven array'd in gold
Empyreal; from before her vanish'd Night
Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain,
Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright,
Chariots and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view.
War he perceived, war in procinct; and found
Already known, what he for news had thought