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So hardy as to proffer or accept

425 Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last Satan, whom now transcendent glory rais'd Above his fellows, with monarchal pride, Conscious of highest worth, unmov’d, thus spake:

O Progeny of Heav'n, empyreal Thrones, 430 With reason hath deep silence and demur Seiz'd us, though undismay'd : long is the way And hard that out of Hell leads up to light; Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round

435 Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant Barr'd over us, prohibit all egress. . These pass’d, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential Night receives him next Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being 440 Threatens him, plung’d in that abortive gulf. If thence he 'scape into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Than unknown dangers, and as hard

escape? But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, 445 And this imperial sov’reignty, adorn'd With splendor, arm’d with pow'r, if aught

propos'd And judg'd of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty or danger, could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore d'I assume These royalties, and not refuse to reign, 451 Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honour ; due alike

To him who reigns, and so much to him due
Of hazard more, as he above the rest

High honour'd sits? Go, therefore, mighty Pow’rs,
Terror of Heav'n, though fall’n; intend at home,
While here shall be our home, what best may ease
The present misery, and render Hell
More tolerable; if there be cure or charm 460
To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain
Of this ill mansion : intermit no watch
Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad
Through all the coasts of dark destruction, seek
Deliv'rance for us all. This enterprise 465
None shall partake with me. Thus saying rose
The Monarch, and prevented all reply,
Prudent, lest from his resolution rais'd,

the chief might offer now (Certain to be refus’d)what erst they fear'd ; 470 And so refus'd might in opinion stand His rivals, winning cheap the high repute Which he through hazard huge must earn. But

they Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice Forbidding; and at once with him they rose. Their rising all at once was as the sound 476 Of thunder heard remote. Tow'rds him they

bend With awful rev’rence prone; and as a God Extol him equal to the High’st in Heav'n: Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais’d, That for the gen'ral safety he despis'd 481

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His own: for neither do the Spirits damn'd
Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory

Or close ambition varnish’d o'er with zeal. 485
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief:
As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'er-

spread Heav'n's cheerful face, the low’ring element 490 Scowls o'er the darken'dlandskip snow,or show'r; If chance the radiant Sun with farewell sweet Extend his ev’ning beam, the fields revive, The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. 495 O shame to men! Devil with Devil damn'd Firm concord holds, men only disagree Of creatures rational, though under hope Of heav'nly grace : and God proclaiming peace, Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife 500 Among themselves, and levy cruel wars, Wasting the earth, each other to destroy; As if (which might induce us to accord) Man had not hellish foes enough besides, That day and night for his destruction wait. 505

The Stygian council thus dissolv’d; and forth In order came the grand infernal peers : 'Midst came their mighty paramount, and seem'd Alone th' antagonist of Heav’n, nor less

Than Hell's dread emperor with pomp supreme,
And God-like imitated state; him round 511
A globe of fiery Seraphim inclos'd
With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms.
Then of their session ended they bid cry
With trumpets regal sound the great result :515
Tow'rds the four winds four speedy Cherubim
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy
By heralds' voice explain’d; the hollow abyss
Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell
With deafʼning shout return’d them loud acclaim.
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat

By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Pow'rs
Disband, and wand'ring, each his sev’ral
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice
Leads him perplex’d, where he may

likeliest find Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain 526 The irksome hours till his great chief return. Part on the plain, or in the air sublime, Upon the wing, or in swift race contend, As at th’Olympian games or Pythian fields; 530 Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form. As when to warn proud cities war appears Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies rush To battle in the clouds, before each van

535 Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns.


Others, with vast Typhæan rage more fell, 539 Rend


both rocks and hills, and ride the air In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar. As when Alcides, from Oechalia crown's With conquest, felt th' envenom'd robe, and tore Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines, And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw 545 Into th' Euboic sea. Others more mild, Retreated in a silent valley, sing With notes angelical to many a harp Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall By doom of battle; and complain that Fate 550 Free virtue should inthrall to force or chance. Their song was partial, but the harmony (What could it less when Sp’rits immortal sing?) Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment 554 The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet (For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense) Others apart sat on a hill retir’d, In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate, Fix'd fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute, 560 And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost. Of good and evil much they argued then, Of happiness and final misery, Passion and apathy, glory and shame, Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy: 565 Yet with a pleasing sorcery could charm Pain for a while, or anguish, and excite Fallạcious hope, or arm th' obdured breast

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