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Than miserable to 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 power sufficient to disturb his heaven,
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 denounced
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than Gods. On the other side uprose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane :
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seem'd 110
For dignity composed, and high exploit :
But all was false and hollow ; though his tongue
Dropp'd manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels : for his thoughts were low 115
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds!
Timorous and slothful : yet he pleased 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 urged
Main reason to persuade immediate war
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he, who most excels in fact of arms,
In what he counsels, and in what excels, 125
Mistrustful, grounds his courago on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are fill'd
With armed watch, that render all access 130
Impregnable : oft on the bordering 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 135

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With blackest insurrection, to confound
Heaven's purest light ; yet our great Enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted; and the ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel

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Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair: We must exasperate
The Almighty Victor to spend all his rage,
And that'must end us; that must be our cure, 145
To be no more. Sad cure ! for who would loso,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity
To perish rather, swallow'd up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night,

150 Devoid of sense and motion ? And who knows, Let this be good, whether our angry Foe Can give it, or will ever? how he can, Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure. Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,

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Belike through impotence, or unaware,
'To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves
To punish endless ? Wherefore cease we then ?
Say they who counsel war; we are decreed, 160
Reserved, and destined to eternal woe ;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse ? Is this then worst,

Thus sitting, ihus consulting, thus in arms?
What! when we fled amain, pursued, and struck 165
With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us? This Hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds ; or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake? That sure was worse.
What if the breath, that kindled those grim fires, 170
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? or, from above,
Should intermittod ven reance arm again

175

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His red right hand to plague us ? What if all
Her stores were open'd, and this firmament
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurl'd
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey
Of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapp'd in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,

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Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War therefore, open or conceal'd, alike .
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views all things at one view ? He from Heaven's height
All these our motions vain sees and derides; 191
Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expell’d to suffer here 195
Chains and these torments ? better these than worse,
By my advice ; since fate inevitable m
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust 200
That so ordains : This was at first resolved,
If we were wise, against so great a Foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And venturous, if that fail them, shrink and fear 205
What yet they know must follow, to endure
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their Conqueror : This is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit
His anger; and perhaps, thus far removed

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hind us not offending, satisfied
what is punish'd ; whence these raging fires
slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
urer essence then will overcome
noxious vapour ; or, inured, not feel ;
inged at length, and to the place conform'd
per and in nature, will receive
ir the fierce heat, and void of pain ;
brror will grow mild, this darkness light; 220
» what hope the never ending flight
ire days may bring, what chance, what change
waiting ; since our present lot appears
ppy though but ill, for ill not worst,
procure not to ourselves more woe.
is Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb,
el'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,

sace: And after him thus Mammon spake. 21
Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain

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Our own right lost: Him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife : bola
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
The latter: For what place can be for us 235
Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord supreme
We overpower ? Suppose he should relent,
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection ; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive 240
Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns and to his Godhead sing
Forced Hallelujahs : while he lordly sits
Our envied Sov'reign, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings? This must be our task
In Heaven, this our delight; how wearisome
Eternity so spent, in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then presume

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By force impossible, by leave obtain'd
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state
CS splendid vassalage ; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring 255
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of advérse,
We can create ; and in what place soe'er 260

Through labour and endurance. This deep world Of darkness do we dread ? How oft amidst Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Size Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, : 265 And with the majesty of darkness round Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell ? As he our darkness, cannot we his light Joitate when we please? This desert soil'; 270 Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more? Our torments also may in length of time Become our elements; these piercing fires 275 As soft as now severe, our temper changed Into their temper; which must needs remove The sensible of pain. All things invite To peaceful counsels, and the settled state Of order, how in safety best we may A Compose our present evils, with regard Of what we are, and where ; dismissing quite All thoughts of war: Ye have what I advise.

He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur filled The assembly as when hollow rocks retain 235 The sound of blustering winds, which all night long Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull

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