Page:Paradise lost by Milton, John.djvu/214

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Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud:
"'Vanguard, to right and left! the front unfold!
That all may see who hate us how we seek
Peace and composure, and with open breast560
Stand ready to receive them, if they like
Our overture, and turn not back perverse:
But that I doubt. However witness, Heaven!
Heaven witness thou anon, while we discharge
Freely our part. Ye who appointed stand,
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
What we propound, and loud that all may hear.'
"So scoffing in ambiguous words he scarce
Had ended, when to right and left the front
Divided, and to either flank retired;570
Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange,
A triple mounted row of pillars laid
On wheels—for like to pillars most they seemed,
Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir,
With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled—
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths
With hideous orifice gaped on us wide,
Portending hollow truce. At each behind
A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed
Stood waving, tipped with fire; while we, suspense,
Collected stood within our thoughts amused;581
Not long, for sudden all at once their reeds
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied