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180

And plunge us in the flames? or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? what, if all
Her stores were open'd and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we, perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hurld
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey
Of racking whirlwind; or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev’d,
Ages of hopeless end ? this would be worse.
War therefore, open or conceal'd, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views all things at one view? He from heaven's

highth
All these our motions vain sees and derides;
Not more almighty to resist our might,
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of heaven,

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190 195

174 His] Consult Bentley, and Newton's Notes on the application of the Relative. “Red right hand is the rubente dextera' of Hor. Od. I. ii. 2. 181 Each on his rock] " Illum exspirantem, &c.

Bentl. Ms. 185 Unrespited] Consult the notes of Mr. Thyer, and Mr. Todd on this line.

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205

Thus trampled, thus expell’d, to suffer here
Chains and these torments? better these than worse
By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust
That so ordains: this was at first resolv'd,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those, who at the spear are bold
And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear
What yet they know must follow, to endure
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their conqueror: this is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our supreme foe in time may much remit
His anger, and perhaps thus far remov'd
Not mind us not offending, satisfy'd
With what is punish'd: whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapor, or enur'd not feel;
Or chang'd at length, and to the place conform'd
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain ;
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light: 220

210

215

220 The commentators have not observed that this and the following line rhyme together:

• This horror will grow mild, this darkness light:

Besides what hope the never-ending flight,' &c. VOL. I.

14

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230

Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting, since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.

Thus Belial with words cloth'd in reason's garb
Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake.

Either to disinthrone the King of heaven We war, if war be best, or to regain Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife : The former vain to hope argues as vain The latter : for what place can be for us Within heaven's bound, unless heaven's Lord suWe overpower? suppose he should relent (preme And publish grace to all, on promise made Of new subjection; with what eyes could we Stand in his presence humble, and receive Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing Forc'd halleluiahs; while he lordly sits Our envy'd Sov'reign, and his altar breathes Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers, Our servile offerings ? This must be our task In heaven, this our delight; how wearisome

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245 250

224 For happy] Compare Theognis, ver. 509.

*Ηνδέ τις ειρωτά τον εμόν βιών, ώδε οι ειπείν
Ως εύ μεν, χαλεπώς» ώς γαλεπώς δε, μάλ' εύ.

255

Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue
By force impossible, by leave obtain'd
Unacceptable, though in heaven, our state
Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,
We can create; and in what place so e'er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread ? how oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth heaven's all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscur'd,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar
Must'ring their rage, and heaven resembles hell?
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please ? this desart soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise

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254 Live] See Hor. Ep. i. xviii. 107.

Ut mihi vivam Quod superest ævi.' Newton. 255 Fard liberty] See Æschyli Prom. Vinct. ver. 974. Todd.

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Magnificence; and what can heaven shew more?
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements, these piercing fires
As soft as now severe, our temper chang'd
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compose our present evils, with regard
Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.

He scarce had finish’d, when such murmur fill'd
Th' assembly, as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blust'ring winds, which all night long
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Sea-faring men o'er watch'd, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest: such applause was heard
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas’d,
Advising peace: for such another field
They dreaded worse than hell: so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michael
Wrought still within them; and no less desire 295
To found this nether empire, which might rise,
By policy and long process of time,

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290

287 cadence lull] See Claudiani Rufin. i. 70.

Ceu murmurat alti
Impacata quies pelagi, cum flamine fracto
Durat adhuc sævitque tumor, dubiumque per æstum
Lassa recedentes fluitant vestigia venti.' Neroton.

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