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With blackest insurrection, to confound
Heaven's purest light; yet our great Enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted; and the ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel

140
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair : We must exasperate
The Almighty Victor 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 lost
In the wido, womb of uncreated night,

15C 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 sure. Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,

155 Belike through impotence, or unawure, To give his enemies their wish, and end Them in his anger, whom his anger saves To punish endless ? Wherefore cease we then ? Say they who counsel war ; we are decreed, 160 Reserved, and destined to eternal woe; Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, What can we suffer worse ? Is this then worst, Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? What! when we fled amain, pursued, and struck 165 With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought The deep to shelter us? This Hell then seem'd A refuge from those wounds ; 0; when we lay Chain’d on the burning lake? 'That sure was worse. What if the breath, that kindled those grim fires, 170 Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, And plunge us in the flames ? or, from above, Should intermitted vengeance arm again

His red right hand to plague us ? What if all
Her stores were open'd, and this firmament 175
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of firo,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hur!'d 180
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey
Of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapp'd in chains ;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,

185
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War therefore, open or conceal'd, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views all things at one view ? He from Heaven's height
All these our motions vain sees and derides ; 191
Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heavin
Thus trampled, thus expell’d to suffer here 195
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 200
That so ordains : This was at first resolved,
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 venturous, if that fail them, shrink and fear 205
What yet they know must follow, to endure
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their Conqueror : This is now
Our doom ; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time nay much remit 216
His anger; and perhaps, thus far removed

Not mind us not offending, satisfied
With what is punish’d; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome

215
Their noxious vapour ; or, inured, not feel ;
Or changed at length, and to the place conform'd
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain ;
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; 220
Besides what hope the never ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting ; since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.

225 Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb, Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth, Not peace: And after him thus Mammon spake

Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven We war, if war be best, or to regain

230 Our own right lost : Him to unthrone we then May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife : The former, vain to hope, argues as vain The latter : For what place can be for us

235 Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord supremo We overpower ? 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 240 Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne With warbled hymns and to his Godhead sing Forced Hallelujahs : while he lordly sits Our envied Sov'reign, and his altar breathes Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,

245 Our servile offerings ? This must be our task In Heaven, this our delight; how wearisome Eternity so spent, in worship paid To whom we hate! Let us not then presume

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