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Since now we find this our empyreal form
Incapable of mortal injury,
Imperishable, and though pierced with wound,
Soon closing, and by native vigor heald,
Of evil then so small as easy think
The remedy ; perhaps more valid arms
Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
Or equal what between us made the odds,
In nature none : If other hidden cause
Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose.'

Hesat; and in the assembly next upstood
Nisroch, of principalities the prime :
As one he stood escaped from cruel fight,
Sore toil'd his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And cloudy in aspect thus answering spake ;

Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right to Gods; yet ha rd
For Gods, and too unequal work we find,
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain’d, impassive; from which evil
Ruin must needs ensue ; for what avails
Valor or strength, though matchless, quell'd with pain,
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
Of mightiest ? Sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
But live content, which is the calmest life :
But pain is perfect misery, the worst
Of evils, and excessive, overturns
All patience. He, who therefore can invent
With what more forcible we may offend
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.'
Whereto with look composed Satan replied :

“Not uninvented that, which thou aright
Believest so main to our success, I bring.
Which of us who beholds the bright surface
Of this ethereous mould wherein we stand,
This continent of spacious Heaven, adorn'd
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold;
Whose eyes so superficially surveys
These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spirituous and fiery spume, till touch'd
With Heaven's ray, and temper'd they shoot forth
So beauteous, opening to the ambient light?
These in their dark nativity the deep
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;
Which, into hollow engines, long and round,
Thick ramm’d, at the other bore with touch of fire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth
From far, with thundering noise, among our foes
Such implements of mischief as shall dash
To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm'd
The thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
Nor long shall be our labor; yet ere dawn,
Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair’d.'

He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
Enlightea'd, and their lanquish'd hope revived.
The invention all admired, and each, how he
To be the inventor miss'd; so easy it seem'd
Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought
Impossible: Yet haply of thy race
In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one intent on mischief, or inspired
With Devilish machination, might devise
Like instrument to plague the sons of men
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.

Forthwith from council to the work they flew ;
None arguing stood; innumerable hands
Were ready; in a moment ụp they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
The originals of nalure in their crude
Conception ; sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found they mingled, and with subtle art,
Concocted and adjusted, they reduced
To blackest grain, and into store convey'd :
Part hidden vains digged up (nor hath this Earth
Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone,
Whereof to found their engines and their balls
Of missive ruin : part incentive reed
Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire,
So all ere dayspring, under conscious night,
Secret they finish’d, and in order set,
With silent circumspection, unespied.

Now when fair morn orient in Heaven appcard,
Uprose the victor-Angels, and to arms
The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood
Of golden panoply, refulgent host,
Soon banded; others from the dawning Hills
Look round, and scouts each coast light-arm'd scour,
Each quarter to descry the distant foe,
Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight,
In motion or in halt: Him soun they met
Under spread ensigns moving high, in slow
By firm battalion; back with speediest sail
Zophiel, or Cherubim the swiftest wing,
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried .

'Arm, warriors, arm for fight; the foe at hani', Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud He comes, and settled in his face I see Sad resolution, and secure: Let each His Adamantine coat gird well, and each l'it well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,

Borne even or high; for this day will pour down,
If I conjecture aught, no dazzling shower,
But rattling storms of arrows ba b’d with fire.'

So warn'd he them, aware themselves, and soon
In order, quit of all impediment;
Instant without disturb they took alarm ;
And onward moved embattled: When behold!
Not distant far with heavy pace the foe
Aproaching gross and huge, in hollow cube
Training his Devilish enginery, impaled
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
To hide the fraud. At interview both sto od
Awhile: but suddenly at head appear’d.
Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud :

• Vanguard, to right and let the front unfold That all may see who hate us, how we seek Peace and composure, and with open breast Stand ready to receive then, if they like Our overture, and turn not back perverse; But that I doubt; however witness Heaven ! Heaven, witness thou anon! while we discharge Freely our part: ye, who appointed stand, Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch What we propound, and loud that all may hear!'

So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce Had ended; when to right and left the front Divided, and to either flank retired : Which to our eyes discover'd, new and strange, A triple mounted row of pillars laid On wheels (for like to pillars most they seem'u, Or hollow'd bodies made of oak or air, With branches lopp'd, in wood or mountain fell’d) Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths With hideous orifice gaped on us wide, Portending hollow truce: At each behind A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed Slood waving tipp'd with fire: while we, suspense,

Collected stood within our thoughts amused,
Not long: for sudden all at once their reeds
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied
With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appear’d,
From those deep-throated engines belch’d, whose roar
Emboweld with outrageous noise the air,
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul
Their devilish glut, chain'd thunderbolts and hail
Of iron globes; which, on the victor host
Levell’d with such impetuous fury smote,
That, whom they hit, none on their feet might stand,
Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell
By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel roll?d;
The sooner for their arms; unaim'd they might
Have easily, as spirits, evaded swift
By quick contraction or remove; but now
Foul dissipation follow'd, and forced rout;
Nor served it to relax their serried files,
What should they do? it on they rush’d, repulse
Repeated, and indecent overthrow
Doubled, would render them yet more despised,
And to their foes a lavghter; for in view
Stood rank'd of seraphim another row,
In posture to displode their second tire
of thunder: Back defeated to return
They worse abhorrd. Satan beheld their plight,
And to his mates thus in derision call’d:

O Friends! why come not on these victors proud ?
Ere while they fierce were coming; and when we
To entertain them fair with open front
And breast, (what could we more ?) propounded terms
Of composition, straight they changed their minds,
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,
As they would dance; yet for a dance they seem'd
Somewhat extravagant and wild ; perhaps
For joy of offer'd peace : But I suppose

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