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And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire
That riches grow in hell: that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those
Who boast in mortal things, and, wondering, tell
Of Babel and the works of Memphian kings,
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,
And strength, and art, are easily outdone
By spirits reprobate, and in an hour
What in an age they, with incessant toil
And hands innumerable, scarce perform.
Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
With wondrous art founded the massy ore,
Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion dross.
A third as soon had formed within the ground
A various mold, and from the boiling cells
By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook;
As in an organ, from one blast of wind,

To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid



With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven:
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon
Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
Equaled in all their glories, to enshrine
Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat


Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile
Stood fixed her stately highth; and straight the doors,
Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide

Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement. From the arched roof,
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky. The hasty multitude
Admiring entered; and the work some praise,
And some the architect. His hand was known
In heaven by many a towered structure high,
Where sceptered angels held their residence,
And sat as princes, whom the supreme King
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unadored
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land


Men called him Mulciber°; and how he fell
From heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropt from the zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos the Ægean isle. Thus they relate,
Erring; for he with his rebellious rout

Fell long before; nor aught availed him now


To have built in heaven high towers; nor did he scape

By all his engines, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in hell.

Meanwhile the wingèd heralds by command
Of sovran power, with awful ceremony

And trumpets' sound, throughout the host proclaim A solemn council forthwith to be held

At Pandemonium, the high capital

Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called
From every band and squared regiment


By place or choice the worthiest: they anon
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came 760
Attended. All access was thronged: the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold
Wont ride in armed, and at the soldan's chair

Defied the best of Paynim° chivalry

To mortal combat or career with lance)

Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
In springtime, when the Sun with Taurus rides,
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters, they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer
Their state affairs: so thick the aery crowd
Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given,
Behold a wonder! they but now who seemed
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons,

Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless, like that pygmean° race
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon

Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth



Wheels her pale course: they, on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear:

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms

Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, 790
Though without number still, amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great seraphic lords and cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat,
A thousand demigods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then,
And summons read, the great consult began.


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