Stand still in bright array, ye Saints; here stand, Ye Angels armed; this day from battle rest: Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause; And as ye have received, so have ye done, Invincibly: But of this cursed crew The punishment to other hand belongs; Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints: Number to this day's work is not ordained, Nor multitude; stand only, and behold God's indignation on these godless poured By me; not you, but me, they have despised, Yet envied; against me is all their rage, Because the Father, to whom in Heaven supreme Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains, Hath honoured me, according to his will. Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned; That they may have their wish, to try with me In battle which the stronger proves; they all, Or I alone against them; since by strength They measure all, of other excellence Not emulous, nor care who them excels; Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe. So spake the Son, and into terrour changed His countenance too severe to be beheld, And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the Four spread out their starry wings With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. He on his impious foes right onward drove, Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels The stedfast empyrean shook throughout, All but the throne itself of God. Full soon Among them he arrived; in his right hand Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent Before him, such as in their souls infixed Plagues: They, astonished, all resistance lost, All courage; down their idle weapons dropt: O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate, That wished the mountains now might be again Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire. Nor less on either side tempestuous fell His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; One Spirit in them ruled; and every eye Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire Among the accursed, that withered all their strength, And of their wonted vigour left them drained, Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen. Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked His thunder in mid volley; for he meant Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven: The overthrown he raised, and as a herd Of goats or timorous flock together thronged Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued With terrours, and with furies, to the bounds And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide, Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed Into the wasteful deep: The monstrous sight Struck them with horrour backward, but far worse Urged them behind: Headlong themselves they threw Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.
This poem is in the public domain.