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The happy ifle? What flrength, what art can then Suffice, or what évasion bear him fafe

Through the strict lenteries and Itations thick
Of angels watching round ? Here he had need
All circumspection, and we now no less
Choice in our fuffrage ; for on whom we fend, 415
The weight of all and our last hope relies.

This faid, he fat; and expectation held
His look suspense, awaiting who appear'd
To second, or oppose, or undertake
The perilous attempt: but all fat mute,

Pond'ring the danger with deep thoughts; and each
In other's count'nance read his own dismay,
Astonish’d. None among the choice and prime
Of those heav'n-warring champions could be found
So hardy, as to profer, or accept

425 Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last Satan, whom now transcendent glory rais'd Above his fellows, with monarchal pride, Conscious of highest worth, unmov'd thus fpake. O progeny of heav'n, empyreal thrones,

430 With reason hath deep silence and demur Seiz'd us, though undismay'd : long is the way And hard, that out of hell leads up to light; Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Nutrageous to devour, immures us round

435 Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant, Barr'd over us, prohibit all egress. These pass’d, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential night receives him next Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive If thence he 'scape into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Tban unknown dangers, and as-bard escape?




But I fhould ill become this throne, O peers, 445
And this imperial fov'reignty, adorn'd
With splendour, arm'd with power, if ought proposa
And judg'd of public moment, in the shape
Of difficulty or danger, could deter
Me from attempting. Wherefore do' I alume 450
These royalties, and not refuse to reign,
Refusing to accept as great a fhare
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

High honour'd fits ? Go therefore, mighty powers,
Terror of heav'n, through fallin; intend at home,
While here shall be our home, what belt may ease
The present misery, and render hell
More tolerable ; if there be cure, or charm,

460 To respite, or deceive, or flack the pain Of this ill mansion : intermit no watch Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek": Deliv'rance for us all: this enterprise

465 None shall partake with me. Thus faying rose The monarch, and prevented all reply; Prudent, left, from his resolution rais’d, Others among the chief might offer now (Certain to be refus’d,) what erst they fear'd; 470 And, fo refus'd, might in opinion stand His rival; winning cheap the high repute, Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they Dreaded not more th’adventure, than his voice Forbidding; and at once with him they rose :

475 Their rifing all at once was as the found Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend With awful reverence prone ; and as a god Extol him equal to the High'est in heav'n:


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Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais’d,
That for the general safety he defpis'd
His own: for neither do the spirits damn'd
Lose all their virtnie; least bad men should boast
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory'excites,
Or close ambition varnish'd o'er with zeal. 485
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief:
As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the north-wind fleeps, o'eripread
Heav'n's cheerful face, the louring element
Scowls o'er the darken'd landfcape snow, or shower;.
If chance the radiant fun with farewell fweet
Extend his evening-beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. 495
O fame to men ! devil with devil damn'd
Firm concord holds, men only disagree
Of creatures rational, though under hope
Of heav'nly grace: and God proclaiming peace,
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife
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.

The Stygian council thus diffolv'd ; and forth
In order came the grand infernal peers':
'Midit came their mighty paramount, and seem'd
Alone th'antagonist of heav'n, nor less
Than hell's dread emperor with pomp supreme, 510
And God like imitated state; hin round
A globe of fiery Seraphim inclos'd.
With bright imblazonry, and horrent arms.
Then of their feliion ended they bid cry


With trumpets regal found the great result:

515 Tow’ards the four winds four speedy Cherubim Put to their mouths the founding alchemy, By heralds voice explain’d; the hollow' abyss Heard far and wide, and all the host of hell With deaf'ning thout return'd them loud acclaim. 520

Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers (rais'd Difband, and wand'ring, each his several way Pursues, as inclination or sad choice Leads him perplex'd, where he may likeliest find 525 Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain The irksome hours, till his great

chief return. Part on the plain, or in the air sublime, Upon the wing, or in swift race contend, As at th’Olympian games or Pythian fields ; 530 Part curb their fiery steeds, or thun the goal With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form. As when, to warn proud cities, war appears Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies ruth To battle in the clouds, before each van

Prick forth the aery knights, and couch their spears
Till thickest legions clofe ; with feats of arms
From either end of heav'n the welkin burns.
Orhers, with vast Typhean rage more fell,

both rocks and hills, and ride the air

In whirlwind ; hell scarce holds the wild uproar.
As when Alcides, from Oechalia crown's
With conqueit, felt th' invenom'd robe, and tore
Through pain up by the roots Theffalian pines,
And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw 545
Into th’Euboic sea. Others more mild,
Retreated in a fileat valley, sing
With notes angelical to many a harp
Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall


Others apart

By doom of battle ; and complain that fate 550 Free virtue should inthrall to force or chance. Their song was partial; but the harmony (What could it less when spi'rits immortal fing?) Suspended hell, and took with ravishment The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet, 555 (For eloquence the soul, fong charms the sense,

sát on a hill retir'd, In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate, Fix'd fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute, 560 And found no end, in wand'ring mazes loft. Of good and evil much they argu'd then, Of happiness and final misery, Pallion and apathy, and glory' and shame; Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy: 565 Yet, with a pleafing forcery, could charm Pain for a white, or anguilh, and excite Fallacious bope, or arm th' obdured breast With stubborn patience as with triple steel. Another part, in squadrons and gross bands, 570 On bold adventure to discover wide That dismal world, if any clime perhaps Might yield them eafier habitation, bend Four ways their flying march, along the banks Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge Into the burning lake their baleful streams; Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate ; Sad Acheron, of sorrow, black and deep; Cocytus, nam'd of lamentation loud Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon, 380 Whose waves of torrent fire inftame with rage. Far off from these a flow and silent stream, Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls Her wat'ry labyrinth, whereof who drinks,

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