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From Heaven, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove) A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn Frequent and full. After short silence then,
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,

And summons read, the great consult began.
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropt from the zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos th' Ægean isle: thus they relate,

BOOK II.
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor aught availed him now

THE ARGUMENT. T' have built in heaven high towers; nor did he The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another 'scape

battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of heaven; some ad

vise il, others dissuade; a third proposal is preferred, men By all his engines, but was headlong sent

tioned before by Satan, lo search the truth of that prophecy or With his industious crew to build in hell.

tradition in heaven concerning another world, and another Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior to themselves, Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony about this time to be created; their doubt who shall be sent And tumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim on this difficult search; Satan their chief undertakes alone the

voyage, is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, A solemn council, forthwith to be held

the rest betake them several ways, and to several employ. At Pandemonium, the high capital

ments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time Of Satan and his peers: their summons called till Satan return. He passes on his journey to hell gates, finds From every band and squared regiment

them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at By place or choice the worthiest; they anon

length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf be. With hundreds and with thousands trooping came directed by Chaos, the power of that place, to the sight of this

tween hell and Ileaven; with what difficulty he passes through, Attended: all access was thronged; the gates new world which he sought. And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall (Though like a covered field, where champions bold

Higu on a throne of royal state, which far Wont ride in armed, and at the soldan's chair Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, Defied the best of Panim chivalry

Or where the gorgeous east with richest hand To mortal combat, or career with lance) Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold, Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the Satan exalted sat, by merit raised air,

To that bad eminence: and, from despair Brushed with the hiss of rustiing wings. As bees Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides, Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue Pour forth their populous youth about the hive Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught, In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers His proud imaginations thus displayed. Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,

“ Powers and dominions, deities of Heaven! The suburb of their straw-built citadel

For since no deep within her gulf can hold New rubbed with balm, expatiate and confer Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen, Their state affairs. So thick the airy crowd I give not Heaven for lost. From this descent Swarmed and were straitened; till the signal given, Celestial virtues rising, will appear Behold a wonder! They but now who seemed More glorious and more dread than from no fall, In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons,

And trust themselves to fear no second fate.
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room Me, tho' just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven,
Thronged numberless; like that pygmean race Did first create your leader, next, free choice,
Beyond the Indian mount; or fairy elves, With what besides, in counsel or in fight,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side Hath been achieved of merit; yet this loss,
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,

Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Or dreams he sees, while over-head the moon Established in a safe unenvied throne,
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth

Yielded with full consent. The happier state Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw dance

Envy from each inferior; but who here Intent, with jocund music charm his ear; Will envy whom the highest place exposes At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, Of endless pain? Where there is then no good Though without number still, amidst the hall For which to strive, no strife can grow up there Of that infernal court. But far within, From faction; for none sure will claim in hell And in their own dimensions, like themselves, Precedence; none, whose portion is so small The great seraphic lords and cherubim

Of present pain, that with ambitious mind In ciose rccess and secret conclave sat;

Will covet more. With this advantage then

To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, We should be quite abolished, and expire. More than can be in Heaven, we now return What fear we then ? what doubt we to incense To claim our just inheritance of old,

His utmost ire? which to the height enraged, Surer to prosper than prosperity

Will either quite consume us, and reduce
Could have assured us; and by what best way, To nothing this essential, happier far
Whether of open war or covert guile,

Than, miserable, to have eternal being;
We now debate: who can advise, may speak.” Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptered And can not cease to be, we are at worst
king,

On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair : And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
His trust was with the Eternal to be deem'd Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:
Equal in strength, and rather than be less Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.”
Cared not to be at all : with that care lost

He ended, frowning, and his look denounced
Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse, Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake. To less than gods. On the other side up rose

“My sentence is for open war: of wiles, Belial, in act more graceful and humane; More unexpert, I boast not: them let those A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed Contrive who need, or when they need, not now, For dignity composed and high exploit: For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest,

But all was false and hollow; though his tongne Millions that stand in arms, and, longing, wait Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear The signal to ascend, sit lingering here

The better reason, to perplex and dash Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place

Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low; Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds The prison of his tyrrany who reigns

Timorous and slothful: yet he pleased the ear, By our delay? No! let us rather choose, And with persuasive accent thus began. Armed with hell-Names and fury, all at once

“I should be much for open war, O peers O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way, As not behind in hate; if what was urged Turning our tortures into horrid arms

Main reason to persuade immediate war, Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Of his almighty engine he shall hear

Ominous conjecture on the whole success : Infernal thunder, and for lightning see

When he, who most excels in fact of arms, Black fire and borror shot with equal rage

In what he counsels and in what excels Among his angels, and his throne itself Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair, Mixed with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire, And utter dissolution, as the scope His own invented torments. But perhaps

Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. The way seerns difficult and steep to scale First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven aro With upright wing against a higher foe.

filled Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench With armed watch, that render all access Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,

Impregnable: oft on the bordering deep That in our proper motion we ascend

Encamp their legions; or, with obscure wing, Up to our native seat: descent and fall

Scout far and wide into the realm of night, To us is adverse. Who but felt of late, Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way, When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear By force, and at our heels ail hell should rise Insulting, and pursued us through the deep, With blackest insurrection, to confound With what compulsion and laborious flight Heaven's purest light: yet our great Enemy, We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy then; All incorruptible, would on his throne The event is feared; should we again provoke Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould, Our stronger, some worse way his wrath my find Incapable of stain, would soon expel To our destruction; if there be in hell

Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, Fear to be worse destroyed: what can be worse Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, con Is flat despair : we must exasperate demned

The almighty Victor to spend all his rage, In this abhorred deep to utter wo,

And that must end us; that must be our cure, Where pain of unextinguishable fire

To be no more: sad cure! for who would lose, Must exercise us without hope of end,

Though full of pain, this intellectual being, The vassals of his anger, when the scourge Those thoughts that wander through eternity, Inexorably, and the torturing hour

To perish rather, swallowed up and lost Calls us to penance ? More destroyed than thus, In the wide womb of uncreated night,

worse.

Devoid of sense and motion ? and who knows, Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe The sentence of their Conqueror: this is now
Can give it, or will ever ? how he can,

Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear, Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure.

Our supreme foe in time may much remit Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed, Belike through impotence, or unaware, Not mind us, not offending, satisfied To give his enemies their wish, and end With what is punished; whence these raging fires Them in his anger, whom his anger saves Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. To punish endless? Wherefore cease we then ? Our purer essence then will overcome Say they who counsel war, we are decreed, Their noxious vapour, or, inured, not feel; Reserved, and destined to eternal wo;

Or, changed at length, and to the placed conformed Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, In temper and in nature, will receive What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst, Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain; Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms ? This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; What! when we fled amain, pursued and struck Besides what hope the never-ending flight With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought of future days may bring, what chance, what The deep to shelter us? this hell then seemed change A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay Worth waiting, since our present lot appears Chained on the burning lake ? that sure was For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,

If we procure not to ourselves more wo." What if the breath, that kindled those grim fires, Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, garb, And plunge us in the flames? or from above Counselled ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth, Should intermitted vengeance arm again Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake. His red right hand to plague us ? what if all “Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven Her stores were opened, and this firmament We war, if war be best, or to regain Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire, Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then Impending horrors, threatening hideous fall May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield One day upon our heads; while we perhaps, To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife: Designing or exhorting glorious war,

The former, vain to hope, argues as vain Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled, The latter: for what place can be for us Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey

Within heaven's bound, unless heaven's Lord suOf wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk

preme Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains; We overpower ? Suppose he should relent, There to converse with everlasting groans, And publish grace to all, on promise made Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,

Of new subjection: with what eyes could we Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse. Stand in his presence humble, and receive War, therefore, open or concealed, alike Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits Views all things at one view? He from Heaven's Our envied Sovereign, and his altar breathes height

Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers, All these our motions vain sees and derides; Our servile offerings? This must be our task Not more almighty to resist our might

In Heaven, this our delight; how wearisome Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. Eternity so spent, in worship paid Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue, Thus trampled, thus expelled to suffer here By force impossible, by leave obtained Chains and these torments ? better these than Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our stato worse,

Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek By my advice; since fate inevitable

Our own good from ourselves, and from our own Subdues us, and omnipotent decree

Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess, The victor's will. To suffer, as to do,

Free, and to none accountable, preferring Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust Hard liberty before the easy yoke That so ordains: this was at first resolved, Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear If we were wise, against so great a foe

Then most conspicuous, when great things of Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. small, I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse, And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear We can create, and in what place soe'er What yet they know must follow, to endure Thrive under evil and work ease out of pain

Through labour and endurance. This deep world | A growing empire; doubtless; while we dream,
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst And know not that the King of Heaven hath
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling doomed
Sire

This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat
Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
And with the majesty of darkness round From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league
Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders Banded against his throne, but to remain
roar

In strictest bondage, though thus far removed, Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles hell? Under the inevitable curb, reserved As he our darkness, can not we his light His captive multitude: for he, be sure, Imitate when we please? This desert soil In height or depth, still first and last will reign Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise By our revolt; but over hell extend Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more? His empire, and with iron sceptre rule Our torments also may in length of time Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. Become our elements; these piercing fires What sit we then projecting peace and war! As soft as now severe, our temper changed War hath determined us, and foiled with loss Into their temper; which must needs remove Irreparable ; terms of peace yet none The sensible of pain. All things invite Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given To peaceful counsels, and the settled state To us enslaved, but custody severe, Of order, how in safety best we may

And stripes, and arbitrary punishment Compose our present evils, with regard Inflicted? and what peace can we return, Of what we are and were, dismissing quite But to our power hostility and hate, All thoughts of war: ye have what I advise.” Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow, He scarce had finished, when such murmur Yet ever plotting how the conqueror least filled

May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice Th' assembly, as when hollow rocks retain In doing what we most in suffering feel? The sound of blustering winds, which all night Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need long

With dangerous expedition to invade Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,

Or ambush from the deep. What if we find Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance, Some easier enterprise? There is a place, Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay

(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
After the tempest: such applause was heard Err not,) another world, the happy seat
As Mammon ended; and his sentence pleased, Of some new race called Man, about this time
Advising peace: for such another field

To be created like to us, though less
They dreaded worse than hell: so much the fear In power and excellence, but favoured more
Of thunder and the sword of Michael

Of him who rules above; so was his will
Wrought still within them; and no less desire Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath,
To found this nether empire, which might rise That shook Heavens whole circumference, con-
By policy, and long process of time,

firm'd. In emulation opposite to Heaven.

Thither let us bend all our thoughts to learn Which when Beelzebub perceived, than whom What creatures there inhabit, of what mould, Satan except, none higher sat, with grave

Or substance, how endued, and what their power, Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed And where their weakness, how attempted best, A pillar of state ; deep on his front engraven By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, Deliberation sat, and public care;

And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure And princely counsel in his face yet shone, In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood, The utmost border of his kingdom, left With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear

To their defence who hold it: here perhaps The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look Some advantageous act may be achieved Drew audience and attention still as night By sudden onset, either with hell fire Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake. To waste his whole creation, or possess “ Thrones and imperial powers, offspring of All as our own, and drive, as we were driven, Heaven,

The puny habitants, or, if not drive, Ethereal virtues! or these titles now

Seduce them to our party, that their God Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Princes of hell! for so the popular vote

Abolish his own works. This would surpass Inclines, here to continue, and build up here Common revenge, and interrupt his joy

lull

In our confusion, and our joy upraise

Above his fellows, with monarchal pride,
In his disturbance; when his darling sons, Conscious of highest worth, unmoved, thus spake.
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse “O progeny of Heaven, empyreal thrones!
Their frail original, and faded bliss,

With reason hath deep silence and demur
Faded so soon.
Advise if this be worth

Seized us, though undismayed: long is the way, Attempting, or to sit in darkness here

And hard, that out of hell leads up to light; Hatching vain empires.” Thus Beelzebub Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised Outrageous to devour, immures us round By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence, Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant, But from the author of all ill could spring Barred over us, prohibit all egress. So deep a malice, to confound the race These passed, if any pass, the void profound Of mankind in one root, and earth with hell Of unessential Night receives him next, To mingle and involve, done all to spite Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being The great Creator? But their spite still serves Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf. His glory to augment. The bold design If thence he 'scape into whatever world, Pleased highly those infernal states, and joy Or unknown region, what remains himn less Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape; They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews: But I should ill become this throne, O peers!

“ Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, And this imperial sovereignty, adorned Synod of gods! and like to what ye are, With splendour, arm'd with power, if aught proGreat things resolved, which from the lowest deep, pos'd Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, And judged of public moment, in the shape Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view Of difficulty or danger could deter Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbour-Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume ing arms

These royalties and not refuse to reign, And opportune excursion, we may chance Refusing to accept as great a share Re-enter Heaven, or else in some mild zone Of hazard as of honour, due alike Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light, To hiin who reigns, and so much to him due Secure, and at the bright’ning orient beam Of hazard more, as he above the rest Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air, High honoured sits ? Go, therefore, mighty powers, To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,

Terror of Heaven, though fallen! intend at home, Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall While here shall be our home, what best may ease we send

The present misery, and render hell
In search of this new world? whom shall we find More tolerable; if there be cure or charm
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain
The dark unbottomed infinite abyss,

Of this ill mansion: intermit no watch
And through the palpable obscure find out Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad,
His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight, Through all the coasts of dark destruction, seek
Upborne with indefatigable wings,

Deliverance for us all: this enterprise Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive

None shall partake with me.” Thus saying, rose The happy isle ? what strength, what art can then The monarch, and prevented all reply; Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe

Prudent, lest, from this resolution raised, Through the strict sentries and stations thick

Others among the chief might offer now Of angels watching round? Here he had need (Certain to be refused) what erst they feared; All circumspection, and we now no less

And, so refused, might in opinion stand Choice in our suffrage; for, on whom we send, His rivals, winning cheap the high repute The weight of all, and our last hope relies.” Which he through hazard huge must earn. Bat This said, he sat; and expectation held

they His look suspense, awaiting who appeared Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice To second, or oppose, or undertake

Forbidding; and at once with him they rose : The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,

Their rising all at once was as the sound Pondering the danger with deep thoughts: and each of thunder heard remote. Towards him they In other's countenance read his own dismay,

bend, Astonished: none among the choice and prime With awful reverence prone: and as a God Of those Heaven-warring champions could be Extol him equal to the highest in heaven: found

Nor failed they to express how much they praised, So hardy as to proffer or accept

That for the general safety he despised Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last

His own: for neither do the spirits damned Satan, whom now transcendant glory raised Lose all their virtue: lest bad men should boast

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