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In Heaven by many a tower'd structure high,
745 On Lemnos the Ægean isle: thus they relate, Erring; for he with his rebellious rout Fell long before; nor aught avail'd him now To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he s'cape By all his engines, but was headlong sent
750 With his industrious crew to build in Hell.
Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command
765 To mortal combat, or career with lance,) Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides,
795 A thousand Demi-gods on golden seats, Frequent and full. After short silence then, And summons read, the great consult began.
The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to
be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven; Some advise it, others dissuade: A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning an. other world, and another kind of creature equal or not much inferior to themselves, about this time to be created: Their doubt, who shall be sent on this difficult search; Satan their chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake ihem several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them: by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.
High on a throne of royal state, which far
10 Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven! For since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigor, though oppress’d and fallen, I give not Heaven for lost. 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,
20 Hath been achieved of merit; yet this loss, Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more Establish'd in a safe unenvied throne, Yielded with full consent. The happier state In heaven, which follows dignity, might draw 25 Envy from each inferior; but who here Will envy whom the highest place exposes Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim, Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share Of endless pain? Where there is then no good 30 For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From faction; for none sure 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
35 To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, More than can be in Heaven, we now return To claim our just inheritance of old, Surer to prosper than prosperity Could have assured us; and, by what best way, Whether of open war, or covert guile, We now debate: Who can advise may speak.
He ceased: and next him Moloch, sceptred king,
My sentence is for open war; Of wiles,