Page images


Во ок ІІ.

IGH on a throne of royal state, which far

Outsone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Show'rs on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted fat, by merit rais'd

5 To that bad eminence ; and from despair Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires Beyond thus high ; insatiate to pursue Vain war with Heav'n; and, by success untaught, His proud imaginations thus display'd.

10 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 loft. From this descent Celestial virtues rising, will appear

15. More glorious and more dread than from no fall, And trust themselves to fear no second fate. Me though just right, and the fix'd laws of heaven Did first create your leader ; next, free choice ; With what besides, in council or in fight, Hath been achiev'd of merit; yet this loss Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more. Etablish'd in a fáfe unenvied throne, Yielded with full confent. The happier ftate


[ocr errors]


In heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw 25
Envy from each inferiour : 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
Of endless pain? Where there is then no good

For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction: for none fure 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 Could have assur'd us; and by what hest way, 40 Whether of open war or covert guile, We now debate : who can advise, may speak.

He ceas'd; and next him Moloch, fcepter'd king, Stood up, the strongest and the fierceft fpirit That fought in heav'n, now fiercer by despair : 45 His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength ; and rather than be less, Car'd not to be at all, with that care loft Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse, He reck'd not, and these words thereafter fpake. 50

My sentence is for open war: of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not : them let thofe Contrive who need ; or when they need, not now. For while they fit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 55 The signal to ascend, fit ling'ring 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 chuse,
Arm'd with hell fames and fury, all at once
D'er heav'n'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 hall hear
Infernal thunder; and for lightning, fee
Black fire and hợrrour shot with equal rage
Among his angels; and his throne itself
Mix'd with Tartarean fulphur, and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps 70

seems difficult and steep to scale
With upright wing against a highrer foe.
Let such bethink them, if the fleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not ftill,
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat: defcent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and purfu'd us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight 80
We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy then;
Th' event is fear'd; fhould we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
To our destruction ; if there be in hell
Fear to be worfe destroy'd. What can be worse 85
Than to dwell here, driv’n out from bliss, condemn'd
In this abhorred deep to utter woes
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end,
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge 90
Inexorably, and the torturing hour
Calls us to penance ? More destroy'd than thus,
We should be quite abolith'd, and expire.
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense



His utmost ire? which to the height enrag'd, 95
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,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst

On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inacceslible, his fatal throne :
Which if not victory, is yet revenge.

He ended frowning, and his look denounce'd Desp'rate revenge, and battle dangerous To less than gods. On th' other side uprose Belial, in act more graceful and humane : A fairer person loft not heav'n; he feem'd INO 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 dalh Maturelt counsels : for his thoughts were low; 115 To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds Timorous, and flothful: yet he pleas'd the ear, And with perfuafive accent thus began.

I should be much for open war, O peers, As not behind in hate ; if what was urg'd 1 20 Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cart Ominous conjecture on the whole fuccess; When he who molt excels in fact of arms, In what he counsels, and in what excels,

125 Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair, And utter diffolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. First, what revenge? The towers of heay'n are fillid

With armed watch, that render all access

Impregnable : oft on the bord’ring deep
Incamp their legions; or, with obscure wing,
Scout far and wide into the realm of night,
Scorning surprize. Or could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all hell thould rife

With blackest infurrection, to confound
Heaven's purest light ; yet our great enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted ; and th' ethereal mould,
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
Th’ Almighty Vietor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us; that must be our cure, 145
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 loft
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 fure.
Will he, fo 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


To punish endless? Wherefore cease we then ?
Say they who counsel war; we are decreed, 160
Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worfe? Is this then worst,
Thus fitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »