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To union, and firm faith, and firm aecord,

More than can be in Heaven, we now return

To claim our just inheritance of old,

Surer to prosper than prosperity

Could have assured us; and by what best way,

Whether of open war or covert guile,

We now debate: who can advise, may speak."

He ceased; and next him Moloch, secptered

king.

Stood up, the strongest and the fiereest spirit
That fought in Heaven, now fiereer by despair:
His trust was with the Eternal to be deem'd
Equal in strength, and rather than be leas
Cared not to be at all: with that care lost
Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse,
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake.

"My sentence is for open war: of wiles,
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
Toe signal to ascend, sit lingering here
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Aecept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyrrany who reigns
By our delay 1 No! let us rather choose,
Armed with hell-flames and fury, all at once
O'er Heaven's high towers to foree resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and for lightning see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems disficult 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
Up to our native seat: descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fieree foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy then;
The event is feared; should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath my find
To our destruction; if there be in hell
Fear to be worse destroyed: what can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, con-
demned

.d thi s abhorred deep to utter wn,
Where pain of unextinguishablt fire
Must exereise us without hope of end,
f he vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour
Calk us to penance? More destroyed than thus,

We should be quite abolished, and expire.
What fear we then! what doubt we to incenM
His utmost ire? which to the height enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential, happier far
Than, miserable, to have eternal being;
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And can not cease to be, we are at worst
On thu side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaecessible, his fatal throne:
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge."

He ended, frowning, and his look denounced
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On the other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane;
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed
For dignity composed 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
Timorous and slothful: yet he pleased the ear,
And with persuasive aecent 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 suecess: •When he, who most excels in fact of arms, In what he counsels and in what excels Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair, And utter dissolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. First, what revenge f The towers of Heaven &n

filled

With armed wateh, that render all aecess
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 wa?,
By foree, and at our heels all hell should rise
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
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 rago
And that must end us; that must be our cum,
To be no more: sad cure! for who would lose.
Though full of pain, this intellectual being
Those thoughts that wander through etermtv
To perish rather, swallowed up and lust
In the wide womb of unereated

Devoid .if sense and motion? and who knows,
Let tnte. I e good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever? how he can,
I; doubtf jl: that he never will, is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
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 deereed,
Reserved, and destined to eternal wo;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we sufler worse? Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What! when we fled amain, pursued and struck
With Heaven's afllicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us '. this hell then seemed
A refuge from those wounds: or when ws lay
Chained on the burning lake? that sure was

worse.

What if the breath, that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? what if all
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impending horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey .
Of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages ot hopeless end? This would he worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, alike
My voice dissuades; lor what can force or guilo
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;
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 expelled to sufler here
Chains and these torments? better these than

worse *

By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent deeree
The victor's will. To sufler, as to do,
Our sUength is equal, nor the law unjust
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 spcar are bold
And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear
What vet 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 ami bear,

Our supreme foe in time may much remit

His anger, and perhape, thus far removed,

Not mind us, not oflending, satisfied

With what is punished; whence these raging fira

Will slacken, if his breath stir not their llama

Our purer essence then will overcome

Their noxious vapour, or, inured, not feel;

Or, changed at length, and to the placed conformed

I n temper and in nature, will receive

Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;

This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;

Besides what hope the never-ending flight

Of future days may bring, what chance, what

change

Worth waiting, since our present lot appean
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more wo."
Thus Belial, with words clothed in teasoo't

garb,

Counselled ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake.
"Either to disenthroncthe King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife:
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
The latter: for what place can be for us
Within heaven's bound, unless heaven's Lord su-
preme

We over|iower? 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
Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits
Our envied Sovereign, 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 pursue,
By force impossible, hy leave obtained
Unaceeptable, though in Heaven, our state
Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and fro:n our own
I Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
I Free, and to none aceountable, preferring
. Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp, ''ur greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great thing] ol

small,

Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverst-,
We can ereate, and in what place soe'er
Thrive under e\il and work ease out ot'patn

Through labour and endurance. This deep world Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst Thick clouds and dark doth 'Heaven's all-ruling

Sire

Choo»: to reside, hia glory unobscured,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Cowib bin throne; from whence deep thunders

roar

Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles hell?
As he our darkness, can not we his light
Imitate when we please? This desert soil
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 piereing fires
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
Compose our present evils, with regard
Of what we are and were, dismissing quite
All thoughts of war: ye have what I advise."

He scaree had finished, when such murmur

filled

Th' assembly, as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blustering winds, which all night

long Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence

lull

Seafaring men o'erwatehed, whose bark by chance,
Or pinnace, anchors in a eraggy bay
After the tempest: such applause was heard
As Mammon ended; and his sentence pleased,
Advising peace: for such another field
They dreaded worse than hell: so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michael
Wrought still within them; and no less desire
To found this nether empire, which might rise
By policy, and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heaven.
Which when Beelzebub pereeived, than whom
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat, and public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood,
With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarehies; his look
Drew audience and attention still as night
Or summers noontide air, while thus he spake. •

"Thrones and imperial powers, offspring of

Heaven,

Ethereal virtues! or these titjes now
Must we renounei^ aml, changing style, be called
Princes of hell! for so the popular vote
Inclines, here to continue, and build up here

A growing empire; doubtless; while we dream, And know not that the King of Heaven haib

doomed

This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league
Banded against his throne, but to remain
In strictest bondage, though thus far removed,
Under the inevitable curb, reserved
His captive multitude: for he, be sure,
In height or depth, still first and last will reign
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part
By our revolt; but over hell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre ruie
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven.
What sit we then projecting peace and war l
War hath determined us, and foiled with loss
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
But to our 1•;•' hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Nor will oecasion want, nor shall we need
With dangerous expedition to invade
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or fflego,
Or ambush from the deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprise? There is a place,
[If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
Err not,) another world, the happy seat
Of some new race called Man, about this time
To be ereated like to us, though less
In power and excellence, but favoured more
Of him who ndes above; so was his will
Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath,
That shook Heavens whole cireumference, co/i-

firm'd.

Thither let us bend all our thoughts to Icam
What ereatures there inhabit, of what mould,
Or substance, how endued, and what their power,
And where their weakness, how attempted best,
By foree or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,
And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
The utmost border of his kingdom, left
To their defence who hold it: here perhaps
Some advantageous act may be achieved
By sudden onset, either with hell fire
To waste his whole ereation, or possess *
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven.
The puny habitants, or, if not drive,
Seduce them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass
Common revenge, and interrupt \us iov

In out 'nnii'.-i,.d, and our joy upraise
In his listurbance; when hi? darling sons,
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss,
Faded so soon. Advise if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatehing vain empires." Thus Beelzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,
But from the author of all ill could spring
So deep a malice, to confound the race
Of mankind in one root, and earth with hell
To mingle and involve, done all to spite
The great Creator? But their spite still serves
His glory to augment. The bold design
Pleased highly those infernal states, and joy
Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent
They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews:

"Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, Synod of gods! and like to what ye are, Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep, Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring arms

And opportune excursion, we may chance
Re-enter Heaven, or else in some mild zone
Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light,
Secure, and at the bright'ning orient beam
Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air,
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,
Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall

we send tn search of this new world? whom shall we find

Above his fellows, with monarchal pride,
Conscious of highest worth, unmoved,

"O progeny of Heaven, empyreal thrones!
With reason hath deep silence and demur
Seized us, though undismayed: long i s 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
Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant,
Barred over us, prohibit all egress.
These passed, if any pass, the void profound
Of unessential Night receives him next,
Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being
Threatens him, plunged 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!
And this imperial sovereignty, adorned
With splendour, arm'd with power, if aught pro-

pos'd

And judged of public moment, in the shape
Of difficulty or danger could deter
Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume
These royalties and not refuse to reign,
Refusing to aceept as great a share
Of hazard as of honour, due alike
To htm who reigns, and so much to him due
Of hazard more, as he above the rest
High honoured sits? Go, therefore, mighty powers,
Terror of Heaven, though fallen! intend at home,
While here shall be our home, what best may eu>
The present misery, and render hell
More tolerable; if there be cure or charm

Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feeti To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain

The dark unbottomed infinite abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight,
Upborne with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy isle? what strength, what art can then
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe
Through the strict sentries and stations thick
Of angels watehing round? Here he had need
All circumspection, and we now no less
Choice in our suffrage; for, on whom we send,
The weight of all, and our last hope relies."

This said, he sat; and expectation held
His look suspense, awaiting who appeared
To second, or oppose, or undertake
The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts: and each

Of this ill mansion: intermit no wateh
Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad,
Through a!l the coasts of dark destruction, seek
Deliverance for us all: this enterprise
None shall partake with me." Thus saying, rose
The monarch, and prevented all reply;
Prudent, lest, from thig resolution raised,
Others among the chief might offer now
(Certain to be refused) what erst they feared;
And, so refused, 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
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him 'hst

bend,

In other's countenance read his own dismay,

Astoinshed: none among the choice and prime

Of tnoso Heaven-warring champions could be Extol him equal to the highest in heaven:

found I 'Nor failed they to express how much they Braised

With awful reverence prone: and as a God

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Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,
Or close ambition, varnished o'er with zeal.
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended, rejoicing in their matehless chief:
As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the northwind sleeps, o'erspread
Heaven's cheerful face, the lowering element
Scowls o'er the darkened landsca1ie snow, or

shower;

If chance the radiant sun wifh farewell sweet
Ritend his evening beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings.
0 shame to men! devil with devil damned
Firm concord holds; men only disagree
Of ereatures rational, though under hope
Of heavenly grace: and, God proclaiming peace,
Ycl live in hatred, enmity, and strife
Among themselves, and level eruel wars,
Wasting the earth, each other to destroy:
As if (which might induce us to aceord)
Man had not hellish foes enow besides,
That day and night for his destruction wait.

The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forth
In order came the grand infernal peers:
Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed
Alone the antagonist of heaven, nor less
Than hell's dread emperor, with pomp supreme,
And godlike imitated state: him round,
A globe of fiery seraphim enclosed
With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms.
Then of their session ended they bid ery
With trumpets regal sound the great result:
Towards the four winds four speedy cherubim
Put to their mouths the sounding alehemy,
By herald's voice explained; the hollow abyss
Heard far and wide, and all the host of hell
With deafening shout returned them loud acelaim.
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat

raised

By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers
Disband, and, wandering each his several way
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice
Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain
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 the Olympian games or Pythian fields:
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal
With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form,
As when, to wajn proud cities, war appears
Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush
To battle in the clouds, before each van
Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their

spears

Til l thickest legions close; with feats of arms
From either end of heaven the welkin burns.
Others, with vast Typhetan rage more fell,

Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air

In whirlwind, hell scarce holds the wild uproar.

As when Aleidea, from CEchalia erowned

With conquest, felt th' envenomed robe, and ton

Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pim-s.

And Lichas from the top of GEta threw

Into th' Euobic sea. Others, more mild,

Retreated in a silent valley, sing

With notes angelical to many a harp

Their own heroic deed and hapless fait

By doom of battle; and complain that fate

Free virtue should inthral to force or chance.

Their song was partial, but the harmony

(What could it less when spirits immortal sing!)

Suspended hell, and took with ravishment

The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet

(For eloquence the soul, song charms the sensed

Others apart sat on a hill retired,

Iq thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high

Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate;

Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute;

And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.

Of good and evil much they argued then,

Of happiness and final misery,

Passion and apathy, and glory and shame,

Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy!

Yet with a pleasing sorcery could charm

Pain for a while or anguish, and excite

Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured breast

With stubborn patience as with triple steel.

Another part in squadrons and gross bands,

On bold adventure to discover wide

That dismal world, if any clime perhaps

Might yield them easier habitation, bend

Four ways their flying march, along the banks

Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge

Into the burning lake their baleful streams'

Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;

Sad Acheron, of sorrow, black and deep;

Cocytus, named of lamentation loud

Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethoh,

Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.

Far off from these, a slow and silent stream,

Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls

Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks,

Forthwith his former state and being forgets,

Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.

Beyond thu flood a frozen continent

Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual stormt

Of whirlwind, and dire hail, which on firm land

Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems

Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice, .

A gulf profound, as that Serbonian bog

Brtwixt DamL,ta and mount Casms old,

Where armies whole have s""k: the parching ar

Bums frore, and cold performs vhe effect of fire.

Thither, by harpy-footed furies haled,

At certain revolutions, all the damned

Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter clana*

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