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"Establish'd in a safe unenvied throne,

"Yielded with full consent. The happier state 25" In heaven, which follows dignity, might draw "Envy from each inferior: but who here "Will envy whom the highest place exposes "Foremost to stand against the Thund'rer's aim, "Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share 30"Of endless pain? Where there is then no good "For which to strive, no strife can grow up there "From faction: for none sure will claim in hell "Precedence-none whose portion is so small "Of present pain, that with ambitious mind "Will covet more. With this advantage then "To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, "More than can be in heav'n, we now return "To claim our just inheritance of old; "Surer to prosper than prosperity


40"Could have assur'd us; and, by what best way, "Whether of open war, or covert guile,

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

He ceas'd; and next him Moloch, sceptred king, Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit 45 That fought in heaven,-now fiercer by despair: His trust was with the Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength; and rather than be less Car'd not to be at all; with that care lost Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse, 50 He reck'd 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,

55" Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait "The signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here,

"Heav'n's fugitives; and for their dwelling-place


Accept this dark, opprobrious den of shame,

"The prison of his tyranny who reigns

60" By our delay? No, let us rather choose,



"Arm'd with Hell flames and fury, all at once,
"O'er Heav'n's high tow'rs to force 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 "Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire, "His own invented torments. But perhaps "The way seems difficult, 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,) 75 "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 fierce foe hung on our broken rear "Insulting, and pursued us through the deep, 80" With what compulsion, and laborious flight, "We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy then; "The event is fear'd; should we again provoke "Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find "To our destruction, if there be in hell


"Fear to be worse destroy'd: what can be worse
"Than to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd
"In this abhorred deep to utter woe;


Where pain of unextinguishable fire

Must exercise us without hope of end,

90" The vassals of his anger, when the scourge

"Inexorable, and the torturing hour,

"Calls us to penance? More destroy'd than thus, "We should be quite abolish'd, and expire. "What fear we then? what doubt we to incense 95 "His utmost ire? which, to the height enrag'd, "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, 100 "And cannot cease to be, we are at worst "On this side nothing; and by proof we feel "Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his heaven, "And with perpetual inroads to alarm,

"Though inaccessible, his fatal throne; 105 "Which, if not victory, is yet revenge."

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On th' other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane;
110 A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seem'd
For dignity compos'd, 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

115 Maturest counsels; for his thoughts were low:
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous, and slothful; yet he pleas'd 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 urg'd "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, 125"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? The towers of heaven are fill'd "With armed watch, that render all access

"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 135 "By force, 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, 140" Incapable of stain, would soon expel "Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,"Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope "Is flat despair: we must exasperate

"The almighty Victor to spend all his rage, 145" And that must end us ;-that must be our cure, "To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,


Though full of pain, this intellectual being,

"Those thoughts that wander through eternity,

"To perish rather; swallow'd up and lost

150"In the wide womb of uncreated night,


"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,


'(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, "Reserv'd, and destin'd, to eternal woe:

160 "

Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, "What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst, "Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? 165"What! when we fled amain, pursued, and struck "With heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought "The deep to shelter us? This Hell then seem'd "A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay That sure was worse. 170"What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,

"Chain'd on the burning lake?


'Awak'd, 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 open'd, and this firmament
"Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire?


Impendent horrors, threat'ning hideous, fall
"One day upon our heads? while we, perhaps,
"Designing or exhorting glorious war,

180 "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, wrapt in chains;
"There to converse with everlasting groans,

185 "Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,





"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 heav'n'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 heav'n

"Thus trampled, thus expell'd, to suffer here

"Chains and these torments?' Better these than worse, By my advice; since fate inevitable

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"Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,-
"The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
"Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust
"That so ordains: this was at first resolv'd,
"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
"What yet they know must follow, to endure
"Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
"The sentence of their conqu'ror: this is now
"Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
210"Our súpreme foe, in time, may much remit
"His anger; and perhaps, thus far remov'd,
"Not mind us not offending, satisfied

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