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By our delay? No, let us rather chuse;

ба Arm’d with hell fames and fury, all at once O'er heav'n's high tow'rs to force refiftless way, Turning our tortures into horrid arms. Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise Of his almighty engine he shall hear

65 Infernal thunder ; and, for lightning, fee. Black fire and horror shot with equal rage Among his angels; and his throne itself Mix'd with Tartarean fulphur, and ftrange fire, Mis own invented torments.

But perhaps The way seems difficult and steep to scale

1 With upright wing against a bigher foe. Let such bethink them, if the fleepy drench: Of that forgetful lake benumb not still, That in our proper motion we ascend

75 Up to our native feat : defcent and fall? To us is adverse. Who but felt of late, When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear Iasulting, and pursu'd us through the deep, With what compulfion and laborious flight We sunk thus low? Th'ascent is easy then; Th' event is fear'd; fhould we again provoke Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find To our destru&ion; if there be in hello Fear to be worse destroy'd: what can be worse 833 Than to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd In this abhorred deep to utter woe; Where pain of unextinguishable fire Must exercife us without hope of end, The vassals of his anger, when the fcourge

90 Inexorably, and the tort'ring hour Calls us to penance ? More destroy'd than thus, We should be quite abolish'd and expire. What fear we then? what doubt we to incepfe



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His utmost ire? which, to the height enrag'd, 95
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this effential; happier far,
Than miserable to have eternal being:
Or if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst

: 100
On this fide nothing; and, by proof we feel
Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his heavin,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inacceffible, his fatal throne:
Which if not vittory, is yet revenge.

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd
Desp’rate revenge, and battle dangerous-
To less than gods. On th' other side uprose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane ;
A fairer person loft not heav'n; he seem'd. II
For dignity compos'd, and high exploit:
But all was false and hollow; tho' 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 nobler deeds

Tim'rous and flothful; yet he pleas'd the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began.

I should be much for open war, O peers,
As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd 1203
Main reason to persuade immediate war,
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cart
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he who molt excels in fact of armsy.
In what he counsels, and in what excels 125
Miftruftfu!, grounds his courage on despair
And utter diffolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The tow'rs of beav'n are fill'd

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With armed watch, that render all access,

130 Impregnable: oft on the bord'ring deep Incamp their legions; or, with obicure wing, Scout far and wide into the realms of night, Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way By force, and at our heels ail 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 upolluted ; 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 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 wide womb of uncreated night,

150 Devoid of fense 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? Wherefore cease we then? Say they who counsel war; we are decreed, 160 Resery'd, and deltin'd to eternal woe; Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst, Thus fitting, thus consulting, thus in arms ?


What, when we fled amain, pursu'd, and struck 165
With heav'n's afflicting thunder, and befought.
The deep to shelter us? this liell then seem'd'
A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay
Chain’d on the burning lake? that fure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, 170
Awak’d, should blow them into sev’nfold 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 173
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threat'ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempeft shall be hurl'd

Each on his rock transfii'd, the sport and prey
Of wracking whirlwinds; or forever funk
Under you boiling, ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converfe with everlasting groansg.
Unrespited, umpitied, unrepriev'd,.

Ages of hopeless end? this would be worfe.
War therefore, open or concealdy alike
My voice diffáades; 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 vain fees and derides; 1911
Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wife to frustrate all our plots and wilés.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of heav'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,


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Our strength is equal, nor the law unjukt 200
That fo ordains : this was at firkt resolv’d,
If we were wife, againft 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 205
What yet they know muft follow, to endure
Exile, or ingnominy', or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their Conqu’ror : this is now
Our doom; which if we can fuftain and bear,
Our supreme foe in time may much remit 210
His anger; and perhaps, thus far remov'd,
Not mind us not offending, fatisfy'd
With what is punish'd; whence these raging fires
Will nacken, if his breath ftir not their flames.
effence 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 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, fince our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourfelves more woe.

225 Thus Belial, with words cloth'd in reason's garb, Counsel'd ignoble eafe, and peaceful foth, Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake.

Either to disinthrone the King of Heav'n We war, if war be best, or to regain

230 Our own right loft: him to unthrone we then May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the ftrife: The former vain to hope, argues as vain.


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