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I may assert eternal Providence,

25 And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view,
Nor the deep tract of hell; fay first what cause
Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favour'd of heat'n so highly, to fall off

30
From their Creator, and tranfgrefs his will,
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first feduc'd them to that foul revolt ?
Th'infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile;
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd 35
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had caft him out from heav'n, with all his hoft
Of rebel angels; by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory' above his peers,
He trusted to have equall'd the Moft High,
If he oppos'ı; and, with ambitious aiin
Against the throne and monarchy of God,
Rais'd impious war in heav'n, and battle proud,
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurld healong flaming from th'ethereal sky, 45
With hideous ruin and combustion, dowo
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durit defy th' Omnipotent to arms,
Nine times the space that meafures day and night go
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquishid, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal: but his doom
Reservd him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

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Torments him. Round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate :
At once, as far as angels ken, be views

The

The dismal situation waste and wild ;

60 A dungeon horrible on all fides round As one great furnace flam’d, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Serv'd only to discover fights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 65 And rest can never dwell, hope never comes That comes to all; but torture without end Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed With ever-burning fofpbur unconsum’d: Such place eternal Justice had prepar'd

79 For those rebellious, here their pris'n ordain'd In utter darkness, and their portion set As far remov'd from God and light of heav'n, As from the centre thrice to th' utmoit pole. O how unlike the place from whence they fell! 75 There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd With floods and whirlwinds of tempelt uous fire, He foon difcerns; and welt'ring by his side One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime, Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd So Beelzebub. To whom th' arch-enemy, And thence in heav'n cail'd Satan, with bold words Breaking the horrid filence, thus began.

If thou beest he; but O how falln ! how chang'd From him, who in the happy, realms of light 85 Cloth'd with transcendent brightness did it outfaine Myriads, tho' bright! if he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprize, Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd 90 In equal ruin: into what pit thou seest From what height fall'n, so much the stronger prov'd He with his thunder: and till then who knew The force of those dire arms: Yet not for those

Nor

100)

Nor what the potent Victor in his rage

95 Can elfe infiet, do I repent or change, Tho' chang'd in outward lustre, that fix'd mind, And high disdain from fense of injur'd merit, That with the Mightiest rais'd me to contend; And to the fierce contention brought along Innumerable force of spirits armid, That durft dislike his reign, and me preferring; His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos'd In dubious battle on the plains of heav'n, And shook his throne. What tho' the field be loft?' All is not lost; th' unconquerable will,

106, And Rudy of revelge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield, And what is else not to be overcome; That glory never shall his wrath or might: 110) Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace : With suppliant knee, and deify his pow'r, Who from the terror of this arm fo late Doubted his empire; that were low indeed, ': That were an ignominy' and shame beneath IT'S This downfall; since by fate the strength of gods And this empyreal substance cannot fail; Since through experience of this great event In arms not worfe, in forelight much advanc'd, We may with more successful hope resolve 120 To wage by force or guile eternal war, Irreconcileable to our grand foe, Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heav'n.

So spake th’apostate angel, tho’in pain ; 125 Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair : And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.

O Prince, O Chief of many throned pow'rs, That led th' imbattl'a Seraphim to war

Under

Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds

1309 Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual King, And put to proof his high supremacy, Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate; Too well I fee, and rue the dire event, That with sad overthrow and foul defeat

135 Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as gods and heav'nly effences Can perilh: for the mind and spirit remains Invincible, and vigour soon returns,

140 Though all our glory' extinct, and happy state Here swallow'd up in endless misery. But what if he our conqu’ror (whom I now Of force believe almighty, fince no less Than such could have o'erpow'r'd fuch force as ours) Have left us this our fp'rit and strength entire

146 Sirongly to suffer and support our pains, That we may fo fuffice his vengeful ire, Or do him mightier service as his thralls By right of war, whate'er his business be,

150 Here in the heart of hell to work in fire, Or do his errands in the gloomy deep; What can it then avail, though yet we feel Strength undiminish’d, or eternal being To undergo eternal punishment?

155 Whereto with speedy words th' arch-fiend reply'd.

Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable Doing or suff'ring: but of this be sure, To do ought good nerer will be our task, But ever to do ill our fole delight,

160 As-be'ing the contrary to his high will Whom we refift. If then his providence Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, Our labour must be to pervert that end,

And

And out of good still to find means of evil ; 165
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb.
His inmost counsels from their destin'd aim.
But see the angry Victor hath recall’d
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit.

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Back to the gates of heav'n: the fulph'rous hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red light'ning and impetuous rage, 175
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 180
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimm'ring of these livid Aames
Casts pale and dreadful ? Thither let us tend
From off the tosling of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there i 185
And reassembling our afflicted pow'rs,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope, 190
If not, what resolution from despair.

Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate: With head uplift above the wave, and eyes" That sparkling blazd, his other parts besides Prone on the flood, extended long and large 195 Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge As whom the fables name of monstrous fize, Titanian, or earth-born, that warr'd on Jove, Briareus or Typhon, whom the den

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