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Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip the occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury, yield it from our Foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of Desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
And, re-assembling our afflicted Powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our Enemy; our own loss how repair ;
How overcome this dire calamity;
What reinforcement we may gain from hope;
If not, what resolution from despair.

Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate
With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large,
Lay floating many a rood; in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warred on Jove;
Briarëos or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held; or that sea-beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream:
Him, haply, slumbering on the Norway foam
The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff,

Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays :
So stretched out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay,
Chained on the burning lake: nor ever thence
Had risen, or heaved his head; but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs; :
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
Evil to others; and, enraged, might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth ,
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shown
On Man by him seduced; but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance poured.
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames, -
Driven backward, slope their pointing spires, and, rolled
In billows, leave i’ the midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights, if it were land that ever burned
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire :
And such appeared in hue, as when the force
Of subterranean wind transports a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side
Of thundering Ætna, whose combustible
And fuelled entrails thence conceiving fire,
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds, •

And leave a singed bottom all involved
With stench and smoke: such resting found the sole
Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate:
Both glorying to have ’scaped the Stygian flood
As Gods, and by their own recovered strength,
Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,
Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat
That we must change for Heaven; this mournful gloom
For that celestial light ? Be it so ! since he,
Who now is Sovran, can dispose and bid
What shall be right : farthest from him is best,
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells ! Hail, horrours ! hail,
Infernal world! And thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessour! one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time :
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be; all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence :
Here we may reign secure, and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell :
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven !
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
The associates and copartners of our loss,
Lie thus astonished on the oblivious pool,

And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion; or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?

So Satan spake; and him Beelzebub
Thus answered. Leader of those armies bright,
Which but the Omnipotent none could have foiled !
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battle when it raged, in all assaults
Their surest signal, they will soon resume
New courage and revive; though now they lie
Groveling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,
As we ere while, astounded and amazed ;
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious highth.

He scarce had ceased, when the superiour Fiend Was moving toward the shore : his ponderous shield, Ethereal temper, massy, large and round, Behind him cast; the broad circumference Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb Through optick glass the Tuscan artist views At evening from the top of Fesolé, Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe. His spear, to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast Of some great ammiral, were but a wand, He walked with, to support uneasy steps Over the burning marle, not like those steps On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime

Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire:
Nathless he so endured, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called
His legions, Angel forms, who lay intranced
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades,
High over-arched, imbower; or scattered sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcasses
And broken chariot wheels; so thick bestrown,
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He called so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded ! Princes, Potentates,
Warriours, the flower of Heaven! once yours, now lost,
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal Spirits; or have ye chosen this place
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conquerour? who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensigns; till anon
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern
The advantage, and, descending, tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts

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