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Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds 130
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
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
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
Is this the region, this the foil, the clime,
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
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