Paradise Lost, Book 6

912 lines. Raphael continues his narrative about the battle in heaven that resulted in the overthrow of Satan. The entire book is in the voice of Raphael.

Abdiel made his way to heaven at dawn, and found that thew news he brought of the angelic rebellion was already known (lines 1–28).

The Father speaks (lines 29–55), first congratulating Abdiel on his faithfulness, and then commissioning Michael and Gabriel to begin the fight. To Abdiel God says in part:

for this was all thy care
To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds
Judged thee perverse: the easier conquest now
Remains thee

lines 35–38

Abdiel has already one the harder victory by facing the ridicule of the rebel angels.

To Michael and Gabriel, God says the rebel angels will end up in Tartarus (line 54).

Heaven’s host travels north to meet Satan’s army (lines 56–113). Raphael says that Satan was hoping to dethrone God and take his seat (lines 86–90). When the good angels arrived, they found Satan “High in the midst exalted as a god” (line 99).

Abdiel speaks to himself (lines 114–26), saying that though Satan looks strong, he will be overcome just as his reason has been overcome.

Abdiel meets Satan (lines 127–30).

Abdiel addresses Satan (lines 131–48), calling him an idiot for opposing the Almighty, who needs to angelic armies to overcome any opposition.

Satan replies (lines 149–70), saying some angels would rather be slaves than assert themselves.

Abdiel replies (lines 171–88). It’s not servitude to serve the one God ordains. Servitude is rather when one serves an unworthy being, “as thine now serve thee” (line 180). And you, Satan, are not free, “but to thyself enthralled” (line 181).

They fight (lines 189–261). Raphael describes the fierce battle, which was a draw until Satan saw Michael (lines 246ff.).

Michael addresses Satan (lines 262–80), telling him to go to hell.

Satan replies (lines 281–95), saying he’s not scared of Michael or the Almighty, and he intends to live in heaven free, or maybe even reign there.

They fight (lines 296–353). Eventually Michael is able to strike a mighty blow.

then Satan first knew pain,
And writhed him to and for 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.

lines 327–34

Satan’s angels come to his aid, but his pride was wounded more than his body, “so far beneath / His confidence to equal God in power” (lines 342–43).

Yet soon he healed; for spirits that live throughout
Vital in every part, not as frail man
In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,
Cannot but by annihilating die;
Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound
Receive, no more than can the fluid air.

lines 344–49

Angels can take on any shape, size, or color (lines 350–53).

Elsewhere, others fought (lines 354–85): Gabriel defeated Moloch; Uriel and Raphael fought Adramelec and Asmadai; Abdiel fought Ariel and Arioch and Ramiel.

The heavenly armies won the engagement, due to their innocence (lines 386–405).

Night falls, and both sides retreat (lines 406–17)

Satan speaks to his troops (lines 418–45), reassuring them that they have sustained the worst that heaven can offer and have fought to a draw. If God thought his forces could subdue us, he must be fallible. When we are wounded, we heal. Maybe we can get some better weapons.

Nisroch speaks (lines 446–68), who says that Satan’s forces are suffering from pain, but not God’s forces, and it’s not a victory if the other side is not in pain. He says they need some sort of invention if they’re going to win.

Satan replies (lines 469–95), saying that he an invention in mind. He says they can dig in the ground for material to shoot at the other forces.

They dig and prepare their invention (lines 496–523).

Everyone gets ready for battle in the morning (lines 524–36).

Zophiel speaks (lines 537–46), announcing the coming engagement.

The sides approach (lines 547–57).

Satan speaks to his troops (lines 558–67): get ready!

The battle commences (lines 568–608). The rebels reveal their new machines, unfamiliar to the good angels. Then the rebels fire their weapons, clobbering the good angels.

Satan speaks (lines 609–19), mocking the good angels. Why are they not attacking? Why do they look so odd? Are they dancing for joy at their victory?

Belial speaks to Satan (lines 620–27), mocking also.

The battle continues (lines 628–70). The good angels tore up hills and threw them, burying the engines and the bad angels, who in turn did the same.

All was foreseen and permitted by the Father (670–79).

That his great purpose he might so fulfil,
To honour his anointed son avenged
Upon his enemies, and to declare
All power on him transferred.

lines 675–78

The Father addresses the Son (lines 680–718), describing the two days of battle as a draw, and turning the reins over to the Son.

Two days are therefore past, the third is thine;
For thee I have ordained it, and thus far
Have suffered, that the glory may be thine
Of ending this great war, since none but thou
Can end it.

The Son responds (lines 723–45): My pleasure.

The Son enters the battle (lines 746–800).

The Son addresses the crowd (lines 801–23). Stand back: I’ve got it from here.

The Son thumps the enemy (lines 824–66). They throw themselves out of heaven.

The landed in hell (lines 867–92). They fell nine days. Heaven rejoiced. The Son returned to his seat beside the Father.

Raphael concludes his story with warnings to Adam not to follow the example of Satan’s disobedience (lines 893–912).

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