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THE Consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature equal or not much inferior to themselves, about this time to be created: their doubt who should be sent on this difficult search. Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage, is honored and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell-gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.
HIGH on a throne of royal state, which far
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Vain war with heaven; and, by success untaught,
"Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
Me, though just right, and the fixed laws of heaven, Did first create your leader; next, free choice,
With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit; yet this loss,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
Could have assured us; and by what best way,