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hymning the Eternal Father; but the shout
of battle now began, and rushing sound

of onset ended soon each milder thought.


1287 THE ENCounter of michAEL AND SATAN


HEY ended parle, and both addressed for fight
unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue
of Angels, can relate, or to what things
liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift
human imagination to such highth

of godlike power? for likest Gods they seemed,
stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms,
fit to decide the empire of great Heaven.
Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air
made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields
blazed opposite, while Expectation stood

in horror. From each hand with speed retired,
where erst was thickest fight, the angelic throng,
and left large field, unsafe within the wind
of such commotion; such as, to set forth
great things by small, if, Nature's concord broke,
among the constellations war were sprung,
two planets, rushing from aspéct malign

of fiercest opposition, in mid sky

should combat, and their jarring spheres confound. 1288 Together both, with next to almighty arm uplifted imminent, one stroke they aimed that might determine, and not need repeat, as not of power at once; nor odds appeared in might or swift prevention. But the sword of Michael from the armoury of God was given him tempered so, that neither keen nor solid might resist that edge: it met the sword of Satan, with steep force to smite descending, and in half cut sheer; nor stayed, but, with swift wheel reverse, deep entering shared all his right side: then Satan first knew pain, and writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore the griding sword with discontinuous wound passed through him. But the ethereal substance closed, not long divisible; and from the gash



a stream of nectarous humour issuing flowed
sanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed,
and all his armour stained, erewhile so bright.




UT far above the loveliest Hero shin'd, and stole away th' enchanted gazer's mind; for like sea-nymphs' inveigling harmony, so was her beauty to the standers by; nor that night-wandering, pale and watery star (when yawning dragons draw her thirling car from Latmus' mount up to the gloomy sky, where crowned with blazing light and majesty she proudly sits) more overrules the flood than she the hearts of those that near her stood. Even as when gaudy nymphs pursue the chase, wretched Ixion's shaggy-footed race,

incensed with savage heat, gallop amain

from steep pine-bearing mountains to the plain, so ran the people forth to gaze upon her

and all that view'd her were enamour'd on her.

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So fair a church as this had Venus none:
the walls were of discolour'd jasper-stone,
wherein was Proteus carv'd; and overhead
a lively vine of green sea-agate spread,
where by one hand light-headed Bacchus hung,
and with the other wine from grapes out-wrung.
Of crystal shining fair the pavement was;
the town of Sestos called it Venus' glass.


‘ORSAKEN, wofull, solitarie mayd,


Fone day, nigh wearie of the yrkesome way,

from her unhastie beast she did alight;
and on the grasse her dainty limbs did lay
in secrete shadow, far from all mens sight;
from her fayre head her fillet she undight,
and layd her stole aside: her angels face,
as the great eye of heaven, shynéd bright,

and made a sunshine in the shady place;

did never mortall eye behold such heavenly grace.

It fortunéd, out of the thickest wood
a ramping lyon rushéd suddeinly,
hunting full greedy after salvage blood:
soone as the royall virgin he did spy,
with gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
to have attonce devourd her tender corse:
but to the pray when as he drew more ny,
his bloody rage aswagéd with remorse,

and, with the sight amazd, forgat his furious forse.

Instead thereof he kist her wearie feet, and lickt her lilly hands with fawning tong; as he her wrongéd innocence did weet. O how can beautie maister the most strong, and simple truth subdue avenging wrong! whose yielded pryde and proud submission, still dreading death, when she had marked long, her hart gan melt in great compassion; and drizling teares did shed for pure affection.




THEY pas the bitter waves of Acheron,

where many soules sit wailing woefully; and come to fiery flood of Phlegeton, whereas the damnéd ghost in torments fry, and with sharp shrilling shriekes doe bootlesse cry, cursing high Jove, the which them thither sent, the House of endlesse Paine is built thereby, in which ten thousand sorts of punishment, the cursed creatures doe eternally torment.

Before the threshold dreadfull Cerberus
his three deformed heads did lay along,
curled with thousand adders venemous;
and lilled forth his bloody flaming tong;
at them he gan to reare his bristles strong,
and felly gnarre, until Dayes enemy

did him appease: then downe his taile he hong,
and suffered them to passen quietly:

for she in hell and heaven had power equally.

There was Ixion turned on a wheele,

for daring tempt the queene of heaven to sin; and Sisyphus an huge round stone did reele against an hill, ne might from labour lin; there thirsty Tantalus hong by the chin; and Tityus fed a vultur on his maw; Typhoeus ioynts were stretched on a gin; Theseus condemnd to endlesse slouth by law: and fifty sisters water in leke vessels draw.




By this, the dreadful Beast drew nigh to hand,

halfe flying and half footing in his haste,

that with his largenesse measured much land,
and made wide shadow under his huge waste;
as mountaine doth the valley overcaste.
Approching nigh, he reared high afore

his body monstrous, horrible, and vaste;

which, to increase his wondrous greatnes more, was swoln with wrath and poyson, and with bloody gore;

and over all with brasen scales was armd,

like plated cote of steele, so couchéd neare

that nought mote perce; ne might his corse be harmd with dint of swerd, nor push of pointed speare;

which, as an eagle, seeing pray appeare,

his aery plumes doth rouze full rudely dight;
so shaked he, that horror was to heare;
for, as the clashing of an armor bright,

such noyse his rouzed scales did send unto the Knight.

His flaggy winges, when forth he did display, were like two sayles, in which the hollow wynd is gathered full, and worketh speedy way: and eke the pennes, that did his pinions bynd, were like mayne-yardes with flying canvas lynd; with which whenas him lift the ayre to beat, and there by force unwonted passage fynd, the cloudes before him fledd for terror great, and all the hevens stood still amazed with his threat. E. SPENSER




AIL, holy light, offspring of Heaven first-born, or of the Eternal co-eternal beam

may I express thee unblamed? since God is light,
and never but in unapproachéd light

dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
bright effluence of bright essence, increate!
Or hearest thou rather pure ethereal stream,
whose fountain who shall tell? before the sun,
before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice
of God, as with a mantle didst invest
the rising world of waters dark and deep,
won from the void and formless Infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,

escaped the Stygian pool, though long detained
in that obscure sojourn, while in my flight,

through utter and through middle darkness borne,
with other notes than to the Orphéan lyre,

I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;

taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down the dark descent, and up to re-ascend, though hard and rare:-thee I revisit safe, and feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou revisitest not these eyes, that roll in vain to find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; so thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs, 1294 or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more cease I to wander where the Muses haunt clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, smit with the love of sacred song; but chief thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, that wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow, nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget

those other two equalled with me in fate,
so were I equalled with them in renown,
blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
and Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old:
then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
harmonious numbers: as the wakeful bird
sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
seasons return; but not to me returns

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