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PARADISE LOST.

BOOK II.

High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence: and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high; insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus display'd :

“Powers and dominions, deities of heaven!
For since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigour, though oppress’d and fall’n,
I give not heaven for lost: from this descent
Celestial virtues rising, will appear
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate.
Me, though just right, and the fixʼd laws of heaven,
Did first create your leader; next, free choice;
With what besides, in council or in fight,
Hath been achieved of merit; yet this loss,
Thus far, at least, recover'd, hath much more

Establish’d in a safe, unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
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 Thunderer's aim,
Your bulwark; and condemns to greatest share
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
Precédence; 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 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, sceptred
king,
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit
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,
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost
Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse,
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,
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend, sit lingering here,
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark, opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny who reigns
By our delay? No!-let us rather choose,
Arm'd with hell-flames and fury, all at once,
O'er heaven's high towers 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,
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,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sank 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

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