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He ended, frowning, and his look denounc'd Desp'rate revenge, and battle dangerous To less than Geds. On th' other side up rose Belial, in act more graceful and humane; A fairer person lost not Heav'n; he seem'd 110 For dignity compos'd and high exploit: But all was false and hollow; though his tongue Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear The better reason, to perplex and dash Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low; 115 To vice industrious, but to nubler deeds Timorous and slothful: yet he pleased the ear, And with persuasive accent thus began.

" I should be much for open war, o peers! As not behind in late; if what was urg'd

120 Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whole success : When he, who most excels in fact of arms, In what he counsels and in what excels

125 Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair, And utter dissolution, as the scope of all his aim, after some dire revenge. First, what revenge? The tow'rs of Heav'n are fill'd With arm'd watch, that render all access

130 Impregnable: oft on the bord'ring deep Encamp their legions; or, with obscure wing, Scout far and wide into the realm of night, Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise 135 With blackest insurrection, to confound Heav'n's purest light; yet our great Enemy, All incorruptible, would on his throne Sit unpolluted, and th' ethereal mould, Incapable of stain, would soon expel

140 Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope Is flat despair: we must exasperate Th'almighty Victor to spend all his rage, And that must end us ; that inust be our cure,


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 wide womb of uncreated night,

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 unaware, To give his enemies their wish, and end Them in his anger, whom his anger saves To punish endless? Whyrefore cease we then? Say they who counsei war, we are decreed, 160 Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal wor; 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 Heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought The deep to shelter us? this hell then seem'd A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay Chain'd on the burning lake? that sure was worse. What if the breath, that kindled those grim fires, 170 Awak'd, should blow thein into sev'nfold rage, And plunge us in the flames? or from above Should intermitted vengeance arm again His red right hand to plagué us? what if all Her stores were open'd, and this firmament 175 Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire, Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall One day vpon our heads; while we perhaps, Designing or exhorting glorious war, Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurl'd,

180 Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains; There to converse with everlasting groans,

Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,

185 Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse. War therefore, open or conceald, 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 Heav'n's height All these our motions sain sees and derides ; 192 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 Heay'n 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 resolv'd, If we were wise, against so great a foe Contending, and so doubtful wbat might fall. I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold And vent'rous, if that fail them, sbrink and fear 205 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 supreme Foe in time may much remit 210 His anger, and perhaps, thas far remor'd, Not mind us, not offending, satisfy'd With what is punishd; whence these raging fires Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. Our purer essence then will overcome

215 Their noxious vapour, or, inur'd, not feel; Or, chang'd at length, and to the place conformid In tem per 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.” 228

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

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 rain to hope argues as vain 'The latter: for what place can be for us

235 Within Heav'n's bound, unless Heav'n's Lord supreme We overpow'r? 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 210 Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne With warbleri hymns, and to his godhead sing Forc'd hallelajahs; 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 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, hy leave obtain'd

250 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 255 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 soe'er

260 Thrive under er'l, 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 Heav'n's all-ruling Sire Choose to reside, his glory unobscurd,

265 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 wbat can Heav'n show more? Our torments also may in length of time Become our elements; these piereing fires 275 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

230 Compose our present evils, with regard Of what we are and where, dismissing quite All thoughts of war: ye bare what I advise."

He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fill'd Th’assembly, as when hollow rocks retain 285 The sound of błust’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 tempest: 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 295 To found this nether empire, which might rise By policy, and long process of time, In emulation opposite to Heaven. Which when Beëlzebub perceiv'd, than whom, Satan except, none higher sat, with grave


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