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152.ily There to converse with everlasting groans, Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd, 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

highth All these our motions vain sees, and derides; 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 Heaven Thus trampled, thus expell’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 venturous, 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 Conquerour : This is now Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear, Our supreme foe in time may much remit


His anger; and perhaps, thus far remov'd,
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
Their noxious vapour; or, inur’d, not feel ;
Or, chang'd at length, and to the place conform’d
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain ;
This horrour will grow mild, this darkness light;
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.

Thus Belial, with words cloth'd in reason's garb,
Counsell'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 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 Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord su

preme 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
Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forc'd Halleluiahs; while he lordly sits
Our envied Sovran, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
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 pursue
By force impossible, by leave obtain'd
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, 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, prosperous of adverse
We can create; and in what place so e'er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven'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
Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell?
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desart soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold ;
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more?
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements; these piercing fires
As soft as now severe, our temper chang’d
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
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 filla
The assembly, as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blustering 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 pinance, anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest; Such applause was heard
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd
Advising peace : for such another field
They dreaded worse than Hell: So much the fear

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Of thunder and the sword of Michaël
Wrought still within them; and no less desire
To found this nether empire, which might rise
By policy, and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heaven.
Which when Beëlzebub perceiy'd, than whom
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd
A pillar of state ; deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat, and publick care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestick 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 Imperial Powers,Offspring of Heaven,
Ethereal Virtues ! or these titles now
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be call’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 Heaven hath doom'd
This place our dungeon; not our safe retreat
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From Heaven's high jurisdiction in new league
Banded against his throne, but to remain
In strictest bondage, though thus far remov'd

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