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Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds 130
Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high fupremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
Too well I fee, and rue the dire event,
That with fad overthrow and foul defeat

135
Hath loft us heav'n, and all this mighty host
In horrible deftruétion laid thus low,
As far as gods and heavenly essences
Can perish: for the mind and fpi'rit remains
Invincible, and vigour foon returns,

140 Though all our glory'extinct, and happy fate Here swallow'd up in endless misery. But what if he our conqu’ror (whom I now Of force believe Almighty, since no less Than fuch could have o'erpower'd such force as ours) Have left us this our fpi'rit and strength entire 146 Strongly to suffer and support our pains, That we may fo suffice his vengeful ire, Or do him mightier service as his thralls By right of war, whate'er his business be

Is Here in the heart of hell to work in fire, Or do his errands in the gloomy deep; What can it then avail, though yet we feel Strength undiminish'd, or eternal being To undergo eternal punishment ?

155 Whereto with speedy words th’ Archfiend reply'd.

Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable Doing or suffering: but of this be sure, To do ought good never will be our task, But ever to do ill our sole delight,

160 As bei'ng the contrary to his high will Whom we reliit. If then his providence Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, Our labour must be to pervert that end,

And out of good still to find means of evil; 165
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their deftin'd aim.
But see the angry Victor hath recallid
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit

170
Back to the gates of heav'n ; the fulphurous hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, 175
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip th' occafion, whether scorn,
Or fatiate fury yield it from our foe.
Seeft thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 180
The feat of Desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tosling of these fiery waves ;
There rest,

if
any rest can harbour there;

185
And reassembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own lofs how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from Hope, 190
If not, what resolution from Despair.

Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate With head uplift above the wave, and eyes That sparkling blaz’d, his other parts besides Prone on the flood, extended long and large 195 Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge As whom the fables name monstrous size, Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove, Briareus or Typhon, whom the den

210

By ancient Tarsus held, or that fea-beast

200 Leviathan, which God of all his works Created hugest that swim th’ocean stream: Him haply flumb'ring on the Norway foam The pilot of fome small night-founder'd skiff Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 205 With fixed anchor in his scaly rind Moors by his fide under the lee, while night Invests the sea, and wished morn delays : So ftretch'd out huge in length the Ar'chfiend lay Chain'd on the burning lake : nor ever thence Had ris'n, or heav'd 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 fought 215 Evil to others; and enrag'd might see How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shown On man by him fedued; but on himself. Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour d.

220 Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool His mighty ftature; on each hand the fames Driv'n backward slope their pointing spires, and rollid In billows, leave i'the midst a horrid vale. Then with expanded wings he steers his flight

225 Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air, That felt unusual weight; till on dry land He lights, if it were land that ever buru'd. With folid, as the lake with liquid fire ; And such appear’d in hue, as when the force Of fubterranean wind transports a hill Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd fide Of thund'ring Ætna, whose combustible And fuel'd intrails thence conceiving fire,

Sublim'd with mineral fury, aid the winds, 235
And leave a singed bottom all involv'd
With stench and smoke: such resting found the fole
Of unbless'd feet., Him follow'd his next mate,
Both glorying to have 'fcap'd the Stygian flood
As gods, and by their own recover'd strength, 240
Not by the sufferance of supernal power.

Is this the region, this the foil, the clime,
Said then the lost Archangel, this the feat
That we must change for heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be'it so, since he 245
Who now as Sov’reign can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best,
Whom reas'on hath equall'd, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewel happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells ! Hail horrours, hail 250
Infernal world! and thou profoundest hell
Receive thy new poffeffour; one who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n. 255
What matter where if I be still the fame,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater ? Here at least
We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:

260 Here we may reign fecure, and in my choice To reign is worth ambition, though in hell: Better to reign in hell, than ferve in heaven. But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, Th' affociates and copartners of our lofs, 265 Lie thus astonish'd 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

Regain'd in heav'n, or what more lost in hell? 270

So Satan fpake, and him Beëlzebub Thus answer'd. Leader of those armies bright, Which but th’Omnipotent none could have foild, If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge Of hope in fears and dangers, heard fo oft 275 In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge Of battle when it rag'd, in all assaults Their furest signal, they will soon resume New courage and revive, though now they lie Grov'ling and proftrate on yon lake of fire, 280 As we erewhile, astounded and amaz'dis No wonder, fall’n sueh a pernicious height.

He scarce had ceas'd when the fuperiour fiend Was moving toward the shore ; his pond'rous shield, Ethereal temper, mally, large, and round,

285 Behind him cast; the broad circumference Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb Through optic glafs the Tuscan artist views At evening from the top of Fesolé, Or in Valdarno, to desery new lands,

290 Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe. His fpear, to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast Of some great admiral, were but a wand, He walk'd with to support uneafy steps

295 Over the burning marle, (not like those steps On heaven's azure), and the torrid clime Smote on him fore besides, vaulted with fire. Nathless he fo endur'd, till on the beach Of that inflamed fea he stood, and callid

300 His legions, angel-forms; who lay intranc'd Thick as autumnal leaves that Irow the brooks In Vallombrofa, where th’ Etrurian fhades High overarch'd imbow'r; or scatter'd fedge

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