Billeder på siden
PDF

By our revolt; but over Hell extend His empire, and with iron sceptre rule Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. What sit we then projecting peace and war?. War hath determined us, and foil'd with loss 330 Irreparable ; terms of peace yet none Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given To us enslaved, but custody severe, And stripes, and arbitrary punishment Inflicted? and what peace can we return, 335 But to our power hostility and hate, Untamed reluctance, and revenge though slow Yet ever plotting how the conqueror least May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice - la doing what we most in suffering feel?

340 Noz will occasion want, nor shall we need With dangerous expedition to invade Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault nor siege, Or ambush from the deep. What if we find Some easier enterprise ? There is a place 345 (If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven Err not,) another world, the happy seat Of some new race call's Man, about this time To be created like to us, though less In power and excellence, but favour'd more Of Him who rules above; so was his will Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath, That showk Heaven's whole circumference, confirin'd, Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn What creatures there inhabit, of what mould, 355 Or substance, how endued, and what their power, Ana where their weakness, how attempted best, By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, And Ilearen's high Arbitraior sit secure In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, 368 l'he utmost border of his kingdom, left to their defence who hold it: Here perhaps Some advantageous act may be achieved

350

By sudden onset ; either with Hell fire
To waste his whole crcation, or possess
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven
The puny habitants; or, if not drive,
Seduce them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370
Cominon revenge, and interrupt his joy
buvur confusion, and our joy upraise
in his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Furl'd headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss,

375
Faded so soon. Advise, if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires. Thus Beelzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed : For whence, 386
But from the author of all ill, could spring
So decp a malice, to confound the race
Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell
'To mingle and involve, done all to spite
The great Creator? But their spite still serves 385
His glory to augment. The bold design
Pleased highly those infernal States, and joy
Sparkled in all their eyes ; with full assent
They vote : whereat his speech he thus renews.

Welt have ye judged, well ended long debate, 390 Synod of Gods! and, like to what ve are, Great things resolved, which, from the lowest deep, Will once more list us up, in spitü of fate, Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view (arms Of thoso bright confines, whence, with neighbouring And opportune excursion, we may chance

3:40 Reenter Heaven; or else in some mild zono Dwell, not un visited of Heaven's fair light, Secura ; and at the brightening orient beam Purge off this gionm : the soft delicious air, to heal the scar of these corrosive firas

400

Shall breathe her balm. But first whoin shall we send
In search of this new world ? whom shall we find
Sullicient ? who shall tempt with wandering feet
The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,

405
And through the palpable obscure find out
Ilis uncouth way, or spread his acry flight
Upborne with indefatigable wings
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy isle? What strength, what art can then
Sutlice, or what evasion bear him safe

411
Through the strict senteries and stations thick.
Of Angels watching rolund? Here he had need
All circumspection ; and we now no less
Choice in our suffrage ; for on whom we send, 416
The weight of all, and our last hope, relies.

This said he sat; and expectation held
His look suspense, a waiting who appear'd
To second, or oppose, or undertake
The perilous aitempt: but all sat mute,

420
Pondering the danger with deep thought; and each
In other's countenance read his own dis nay,
Astonish'd: None ainong the choice and prime
Of those heaven-warring champions could be found
So hardy as to proffer or accept,

425 Alone, the dreadful voyage ; till at last Satan, wnom now transcendent glory raised Above his fellows, with monarchal pride, Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake.

O Progeny of Heaven, empyreal Thuoncs! 430 Wita reason hath deep silence and demur Scized us, though undismay'd : Long is the ways And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; Our prison strong ; this huge convex of fire, Dutrageous to devour, immures us round Vincfold ; and gates of burning adamant, Barrd over iis, prohibit all egress. These pass’d, if any pass, the void profound 08 unessential Night receives hinn next.

Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being

440 Threatens lim, plunged in that abortive guf. If thence ne scape into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Thar, unknown dangers and as hard escape ? But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, 445 And this imperial sov’reignty, adorn'd With splendour, arm’d with power, if auyht proposed And judged of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty or danger could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume 450 These royalties, and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honour, due alike To him who reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the rest

455 High honour'd sits ? Go, therefore, mighty Powers, Terror of Heaven, though fallen ! intend at home, While here shall be our home, what best may case The present misery, and render Hell More tolerable ; if there be cure or charm 460 To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain Of this ill mansion : interm't no watch Against a wakeful Foe, while I abroad Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek Deliverance for us all : This enterprise

405 None shall partake with me. Thus saying rose 'The Monarch, and prevented all reply; Prudent, lest, from his resolution raised, Others among the chief might offer now (Certain to be refused) what erst they fear'd; 478 And, co refused, might in opinion stand His rivals; winning cheap the high repute Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they Dreaded not more the adventure than his voice Forbidding; and at once with him they rose: 475 Their rising all at once was as the sound f thunder heard remote. Towards hini they bond

With awful reverence prone ; and as a God
Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven:
Nor fail'd thcy to express how much they praise J 180
That for the general safety he despised
His own : For neither do the Spirits damn'd
Lose all their virtue ; lest bad men should bcast
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,
Or close ambition, var aislad o'er with zeal. 485
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief:
As when from monntain tops the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread
Heaven's cheerful face, the lowering element 490
Scowls o'er the darken'd landscape snow or shower;
If chance the radiant sun with farewell sweet
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Attest their joy, that hill and valley ring.

495
O shame to men: Devil with Devil damn'd
Firm concord holds; men only disagree
Of creatures rational, though under hope
Of heavenly grace : and, God proclaiming peace,
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife

500 Among themselves, and levy cruel wars, Wasting the earth, each other to destroy: As if (which might induce us to accord) Man had not hellish foes enow besides, That, day and night, for his destruction wait. 505

The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forth In o: der came the grand infernal Peers: Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seem'd Alone the Antagonist of Heaven, nor less Than Hell's dread Emperor, wiih pomp supiema 510 And Godlike imitated state : him round A globe of fiery Seraphim enclosed With bright emblazonry and horrent arins. Then of their session ended they bid cry With trumpets' regal sound the great result ·

BUS

« ForrigeFortsæt »