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I may assert eternal Providence,
25 And justify the ways of God to men.
Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view,
The dismal situation waste and wild;
бо A dungeon horrible on all fides round As one great furnace fam’d, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Serv'd only to discover sights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 65 And rest can never dwell, hope never comes That comes to all; but torture without end. Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed With ever-burning folphur unconsum'd : Such place eternal Justice had prepar'd For those rebellious, here their pris'n ordain'd In utter darkness, and their portion set As far remov'd from God and light of heav'n, As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole. O how unlike the place from whence they fell!
75 There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, He foon difcerns; and welt'ring by his fide One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime, Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd Beelzebub. To whom th' arch-enemy, And thence in heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words Breaking the horrid filence, thus began.
If thou beeft he; but O how fall’n ! how chang'd From him, who in the happy, realms of light 85 Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didit outfine Myriads, tho' bright! if he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprize, Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd
90 In equal ruin: into what pit thou feeft From what height fallin, so much the stronger prov'd He with his thunder: and till then who knew The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those,
Nór what the potent Vi&tor in his rage
95 Can elfe in fliet, do I repent or change, Tho'chang'd in outward lustre, that fix'd mind, And high disdain from fense of injur'd merit, That with the Mightiest rais'd me to contend; And to the fierce contention brought along Innumerable force of spirits arm'd, That durft dislike his reign, and me preferring, His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos'd In dubious battle on the plains of heav'n, And shook his throne. What tho' the field be loft ? All is not loft ; th' unconquerable will,
1062 And Rudy of reveuge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield, And what is else not to be overcome;' That glory never shall his wrath or might 11) Extort from me.
To bow and sue for grace : With suppliant knee, and deify his pow'r,“ Who from the terror of this arm so late Doubted his empire; that were low indeed,'. That were an ignominy' and shame beneath
Ils This downfall; since by fate the strength of gods And this empyreal substance cannot fail; Since through experience of this great event In arms not worfe, in forefight much advanc'd, We
may with more successful hope resolve 120 To wage by force or guile eternal war, Irreconcileable to our grand foe, Who row triumphs, and in th' excess of joy Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heav'n. So spake th’apostate angel, tho’in pain ;
125 Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair: And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.
O Prince, O Chief of many throned pow'rs, That led th' imbattl'a Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
130 Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual King, And put to proof his high supremacy, Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate; Too well I fee, and rue the dire event, That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
135 Hath loft us heav'n, and all this mighty host In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as gods and heav'nly effences Can perib: for the mind and sp'rit remains Invincible, and vigour foon returns,
140 Though all our glory' extinct, and happy state Here swallow'd up in endless mifery. But what if he our conqu’ror (whom I now Of force believe almighty, since no less Than such could have o'erpow'r'd such force as ours) Have left us this our sp'rit and strength entire 146 Sirongly to suffer and support our pains, That we may so suffice his vengeful ire, Or do him mightier service as his thralls By right of war, whate'er his business be,
150 Here in the heart of hell to work in fire, Or do his errands in the gloomy deep ; What can it then avail, though yet we feel Strength undiminish’d, or eternal being To undergo eternal punishment ?
155 Whereto with speedy words th’ arch-fiend reply'd.
Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable Doing or suff'ring : but of this be sure, To do ought good never will be our talk, But ever to do ill our fole delight,
160 As be’ing the contrary to his high will Whom we refift. If then his providence Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
1653 Which oft-times may fucceed, so as perhaps Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb His inmost counsels from their destind aim. But see the angry Victor hath recallid His minifters of vengeance and pursuit.
170Back to the gates of heav'n: the fulph'rous hail Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid The fiery surge, that from the precipice Of heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder, Wing'd with red light'ning and impetuous rage, 175 Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now To bellow through the vast and boundless deep. Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn, Or satiate fury yield it from our foe. Seeft thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 180 The seat of desolation, void of light, Save what the glimm'ring of these livid Aames Calts pale and dreadful ? Thither let us tend. From off the tossing of these fiery waves; There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
18's And reassembling our afflicted pow'rs, Consult how we may henceforth most offend Our enemy, our own loss how repair, How overcome this dire calamity, What reinforcement we may gain from hope, 190 If not, what resolution from despair.
Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate: With head uplift above the wave, and eyes That sparkling blazd, his other parts besides Prone on the flood, extended long and large 195 Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge As whom the fables name of monstrous fize, Titanian, or earth-born, that warr'd on Jove, Briareus or Typhon, whom the den