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But pain is perfect misery, the worst
Of evils, and excessive overturns

All patience. He who therefore can invent
With what more forcible we may offend
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
Our selves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.

465

470

Whereto with look compos'd Satan reply'd. Not uninvented that, which thou aright Believ'st so main to our success, I bring: Which of us who beholds the bright surface Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand, This continent of spacious heaven, adorn'd With plant, fruit, flow'r ambrosial, gems, and gold, Whose eye so superficially surveys

476

These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spirituous and fiery spume, till touch'd
With heaven's ray, and temper'd they shoot forth 480
So beauteous, op'ning to the ambient light?
These in their dark nativity the deep

Shall yield us pregnant with infernal flame,
Which into hollow engines long and round
Thick-ramm'd, at th' other bore with touch of fire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth
From far with thund'ring noise among our foes
Such implements of mischief, as shall dash

467 to me] i. e. in my opinion.

478 dark] dank. Bentl. MS.

486

To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm'd 490
The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.

Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn,
Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair'd. 495
He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
Enlighten'd, and their languish'd hope reviv'd.
Th' invention all admir'd, and each, how he
To be th' inventor miss'd, so easy it seem'd
Once found, which yet unfound most would have
thought

Impossible: yet haply of thy race

In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
With dev'lish machination, might devise
Like instrument, to plague the sons of men
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Forthwith from council to the work they flew,
None arguing stood; innumerable hands
Were ready; in a moment up they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
Th' originals of nature in their crude
Conception: sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and with subtle art
Concocted and adjusted they reduc'd

To blackest grain, and into store convey'd.
Part hidden veins digg'd up, nor hath this earth
Entrails unlike, of mineral and stone,

500

505

510

515

Whereof to found their engines and their balls
Of missive ruin; part incentive reed

Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
So all ere day-spring, under conscious night
Secret, they finish'd, and in order set,
With silent circumspection unespy'd.

520

525

Now when fair morn orient in heav'n appear'd, Up rose the victor angels, and to arms The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood Of golden panoply, refulgent host,

Soon banded; others from the dawning hills

Look'd round, and scouts each coast light-armed

scour,

Each quarter, to descry the distant foe,

530

535

Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight,
In motion or in halt: him soon they met
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow
But firm battalion: back with speediest sail
Zophiel, of cherubim the swiftest wing,
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cry'd.
Arm, warriors, arm for fight, the foe at hand,
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
This day, fear not his flight; so thick a cloud
He comes, and settled in his face I see

Sad resolution and secure : let each

540

520 pernicious] probably to be understood in the sense of

the Latin pernix, speedy. Newton.

526 malin] Tasso Gier. Lib. c. xi. st. 19.
'Quando a cantar la mattutina tromba
Comincia à l' arme.'

Thyer.

His adamantine coat gird well, and each

Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield, Borne ev'n or high; for this day will pour down, If I conjecture aught, no drizzling show'r,

But rattling storm of arrows barb'd with fire.

545

So warn'd he them, aware themselves, and soon In order, quit of all impediment;

Instant without disturb they took alarm,

555

And onward move embattel'd; when behold 550
Not distant far with heavy pace the foe
Approaching gross and huge; in hollow cube.
Training his devilish enginery, impal'd
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
A while; but suddenly at head appear'd
Satan; and thus was heard commanding loud.
Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold;
That all may see, who hate us, how we seek
Peace and composure, and with open breast
Stand ready to receive them, if they like
Our overture, and turn not back perverse;
But that I doubt; however witness heaven,
Heaven witness thou anon, while we discharge
Freely our part: ye who appointed stand
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
What we propound, and loud that all may hear.

542 coat] Hor. Od. i. vi. 13.

'Martem tunica tectum adamantina.' 545 aught] Fenton wishes to read 'right.' 552 cube] Tubes, 483. Bentl. MS.

Todd.

560

565

So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce Had ended; when to right and left the front Divided, and to either flank retir'd: Which to our eyes discover'd, new and strange, A triple mounted row of pillars, laid

On wheels, for like to pillars most they seem'd, Or hollow'd bodies made of oak or fir

570

With branches lop'd, in wood or mountain fell'd, 575
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths
With hideous orifice gaped on us wide,
Portending hollow truce; at each behind
A seraph stood, and in his hand a reed

Stood waving tip'd with fire; while we suspense 530
Collected stood within our thoughts amus'd;
Not long, for sudden all at once their reeds
Put forth, and to a narrow vent apply'd
With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
But soon obscur❜d with smoke, all heav'n appear'd,
From those deep-throated engines belch'd, whose
Embowel'd with outrageous noise the air, [roar
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul
Their devilish glut, chain'd thunderbolts and hail
Of iron globes, which on the victor host

574 hollow'd bodies] Pallisadoes, 483. Bent. MS.

590

580 Stood waving] This is certainly an error, 'stood' occurs in the line before and after. Bentley would read 'Held;' but wishing to keep as close to the text as I can, I propose 'shone.' Mr. Dyce proposes 'shook.'

586 belch'd] See Beaumont's Psyche, c. xx. st. 103.
'But oft it gap'd and belch'd, whence upwards broke
Black volumes of contagious stink and smoke.'

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