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IGH on a throne of royal state, which far

Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, Or where the


East with richest hand Show'rs on her kings barbaric pearl and gold, Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd

5 To that bad eminence; and from despair Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue Vain war with Heav'n, and by success untaught His proud imaginations thus display'd:

Pow’rs and Dominions, Deities of Heav'n, For since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigour, though oppress'd and fall’n, I give not Heav'n for lost. From this descent Celestial virtues rising, will appear

15 More glorious and more dread than from no fall, And trust themselves to fear no second fate. Me, tho'just right, and the fix'd laws of Heav'n


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Did first create your leader, next free choice,
With what besides, in counsel or in fight,
Hath been atchiev'd of merit, yet this loss
Thus far at least recover’d, hath much more
Establish'd in a safe unenvy'd throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In Heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw 25
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the Thund'rer's aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is then no good 30
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction ; for none sure will claim in Hell
Precedence; none, whose portion is so small
Of present pain, that with ambitious mind
Will covet more. With this advantage then 35
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in Heav'n, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assur'd us; and by what best way, 40
Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate: who can advise, may speak.

He ceas’d; and next him Moloch, scepter’d king, Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest Sp'rit That fought in Heav’n, now fiercer by despair. His trust was with th’ Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength; and rather than be less, Car'd not to be at all. With that care lost


Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse, He reck'd not; and these words thereafter spake:

My sentence is for open war: of wiles 51 More unexpert I boast not: them let those Contrive who need, or when they need, not now. For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 55 The signal to ascend, sit ling’ring here Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, The prison of his tyranny who reigns By our delay? No, let us rather choose, бо Arm'd with Hell-flames and fury, all at once O’er Heav'n's high tow'rs to force resistless way, Turning our tortures into horrid arms Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise Of his almighty engine he shall hear 65 Infernal thunder, and for lightning see Black fire and horror shot with equal rage Among his Angels, and his throne itself Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire, His own invented torments. But perhaps 70 The way seems difficult and steep, to scale With upright wing against a Higher Foe. Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench Of that forgetful lake benumb not still, That in our proper motion we ascend 75 Up to our native seat: descent and fall To us is adverse. Who but felt of late, When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear

Insulting, and pursu'd as through the deep, With what compulsion and laborious flight 80 We sunk thus low? Th'ascent is easy then; Th'event is fear'd. Should we again provoke Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may

find To our destruction, if there be in Hell Fear to be worse destroy’d. What can be worse Than to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd

86 In this abhorred deep to utter woe, Where pain of unextinguishable fire Must exercise us without hope or end The vassals of his anger, when the scourge 90 Inexorably, and the tort'ring hour Calls us to penance? More destroy'd than thus, We should be quite abolish’d, and expire. What fear we then? what doubt we to incense His utmost ire? which to the height enrag'd, 95 Will either quite consume us, and reduce To nothing this essential, happier far Than mis'rable t' have eternal being. Or if our substance be indeed divine, And cannot cease to be, we are at worst On this side nothing; and by proof we feel Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his Heav'n, And with perpetual inroads to alarm, Though inaccessible, his fatal throne : Which, if not victory, is yet revenge. 105

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd Desp’rate revenge, and battle dangerous


I 20

To less than Gods. On th' other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane:
A fairer

lost not Heav'n; he seem'd 110
For dignity compos’d and high exploit :
But all was false and hollow, though his tongue
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low;
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds 116
Tim'rous and slothful: yet he pleas'd the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began:

I should be much for open war, O Peers ! As not behind in hate, if what was urg'd Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on th' whole success : When he who most excels in fact of arms, In what he counsels and in what excels

125 Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter dissolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. First, what revenge? The tow'rs of Heav'n are

fill’d With armed watch, that render all access 130 Impregnable; oft on the bord’ring deep Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing Scout far and wide into the realm of night, Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise With blackest insurrection, to confound 136

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