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HIGH

on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat; by merit rais’d
To that bad eminence ; and from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven, and by success untaught
His proud imaginations thus display'd.

H

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Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven, For since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigour, though oppress’d and fallen, I give not Heaven for lost. From this descent Celestial virtues rising, will appear 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 Heav'n Did first create your leader, next free choice, With what besides, in counsel or in fight, Hath been atchiev'd 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 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 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

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Of present pain, that with ambitious mind
Will covet more. With this advantage then
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 assur’d us; and by what best way,
Whether of open war or cover'd guile,
We now debate who can advise, may speak.

He ceas’d, and next him Moloch, scepter'd king, Stood

up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit That fought in Heaven ; now fiercer by despair : His trust was with the Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength, and rather than be less, Car’d not to be at all; with that care lost Went all his fear : of God, or hell, or worse, He reck’d not, and these words thereafter spake.

My sentence is for open war : of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not : them let those Contrive who need, or when they need, not now ; For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait The signal to ascend, sit lingering here,

I

Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny who reigns
By our delay ? No, let us rather chuse,
Arm’d with Hell-flames and fury, all at once
O’er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the torturer ; when to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and for lightning see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his Angels ; and his throne itself
Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult and steep, to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe.
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumm not still,
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat : descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursu'd us through the deep,

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then ;

With what compulsion and laborious Aight
We sunk thus low? the ascent is easy
The event is fear’d; should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
To our destruction: if there be in Hell
Fear to be worse destroy'd : what can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemn'd
In this abhorred deep to utter woe ;
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end,
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing 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 incense
His utmost ire ? which to the highth enrag’d,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential, happier far
Than miserable to have eternal being :
Or if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing ; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,

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