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Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shail we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expeil'd to suffer here
Chains and these torments ? better these than worse
By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust
That so ordains : this was at first resolv'd,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear
What yet they know must follow, to endure
Exile, or ignominy', or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their conqu’ror: this is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our súpreme foe in time may much remit
His anger, and perhaps thus far remov'd
Not mind us not offending, satisfy'd
With what is punish’d; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour, or inur'd not feel,
Or chang'd at length, and to the place conformid
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fi rce heat, and void of pain;
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light,
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what chang:

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Worth waiting, since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.

Thus Belial with words cloth'd in reason's garb
Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
Not

peace : and after him thus Mammon spake. Either to disinthrone the King of Heaven We war, if war be best, or to regain

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Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the scrife:
The former vain to hope argues as vain
The latter : for what place can be for us
Within Heav'n's bound, unless Heav'n's Lord

supreme
We overpow's? Suppose he should relent,
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive

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Strict laws impos’d, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forc'd Hallelujahs; while he lordly sits
Our envied sov’reign, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings ? This must be our task
In Heav'n, this our delight; how wearisome
Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue
By force impossible, by leave obtain'd

259 Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state

Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosp'rous of adverse
We can create, and in what place so e'er

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Thrive under ev'il, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and indurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick cloud and dark doth Heav’n’s all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscur’d,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar
Must’ring their rage, and Heav’n resembles Hell?
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please ? This desert soil 270
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heav'n shew more?
Our torinenis also may in length of time
Become our elements, these piercing fires
As soft is now severe, our temper chang'd
Into their temper; which must nee.is remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may

280 Compose our present evils, with regard

Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
All thoughts of war: ye have what I advise.

He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fillid
Th’assembly, as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blust'ring winds, which all night long
Had rous'd the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Sea-faring men o'er-watch’d, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay
After the ternpest: Such applause was heard 290
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas’d,
Advising peace : for such another field
They dreaded worse than Hell: so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michaël
Wrought still within them; and no less desire
To fonnd this nether empire, which might rise
By policy, and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heav'n.
Which when Beëlzebub perceiv'd than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave

300 Aspéct he rose, and in his rising seem'd A pill'ar of state; deep on his front engraven Deliberation sat and public care; And princely counsel in his face yet shone, Majestic though in ruin : sage he stood With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look Drew audience and attention still as night Or summer's noon-tide air, while thus he spake.

Thrones and Inperial Pow’rs, Offspring of Heav'n, Ethereal Virtues; or these titles now

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Must we renounce, and changing stile be cail'd Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote Inclines, here to continue', and build up here A growing empire ; doubtless; while we dream, And know not that the King of Heav'n hath doom'd This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt From Heav'n's high jurisdiction, in new league Banded against his throne, but to remain In strictest bondage, though thus far remov'd Under th' inevitable curb, reserv'd His captive multitude: for he, be sure, In lieiglit or depth, still first and last will reign Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part By our revolt, but over Hell extend His empire, and with iron sceptre rule Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. What sit we then projecting peace and war? War hath determin'd us, and foil'd with loss 330 Irreparable; terms of peace yet none Vouchsaf d or sought; for what peace will be given To us inslay'd, but custody severe, And stripes, and arbitrary punislıment Iniided? and what peace can we return, But to our pow'r hostility and hate, Untam'd reluctance, and revenge though slow, Yet ever plotting how the conque’ror least May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice In doing what we most in suffering feel ?

340 Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need

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