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Pleaded his devilish counfel, first devis'd

By SATAN, and in part propos'd: for whence, 380
But from the author of all ill, could fpring
So deep 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 ftill ferves
His glory to augment. The bold defign.
Pleas'd highly thofe infernal States, and joy
Sparkl'd in all their eyes; with full affent
They vote whereat his Speech he thus renews.

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Well have ye judg'd, well ended long debate, 390 Synod of Gods! and, like to what ye are, Great things refolv'd; which from the loweft deep Will once more lift us up, in fpight of fate, Nearer our ancient feat; perhaps in view

394 Of those bright confines, whence with neighbouring And opportune excurfion, we may chance [arms, Re-enter Heav'n: or elfe in fome mild Zone Dwell not unvifited of Heav'n's fair light Secure, and at the brightning orient beam Purge off this gloom: the foft delicious air, To heal the fear of these corrofive fires

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Shall breathe her balm. But first whom shall we fend
In fearch of this new world; whom fhall we find
Sufficient? who fhall tempt with wandring feet
The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,

And through the palpable obfcure find out
His uncouth way, or fpread his aery flight
Upborn with indefatigable wings

Over the vaft abrupt, e'er he arrive

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The happy ifle? What ftrength, what art can then 410
Suffice, or what evafion bear him fafe

Through the ftrict fenteries, and stations thick
Of Angels watching round? here he had need
All circumfpection; and we now no less

Choice in our fuffrage: for on whom we fend, 415
The weight of all and our laft hope relies.
C 2

This

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This faid, he fat; and expectation held
His look fufpenfe, awaiting who appear'd
To fecond, or oppofe, or undertake
The perilous attempt: But all fat mute,
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each
In others count'nance read his own difmay
Aftonish'd: none, among the choice and prime
Of thofe heav'n-warring champions, could be found
So hardy, as to proffer or accept

Alone the dreadful voyage: till at last
SATAN, whom now tranfcendent glory rais'd
Above his fellows, with monarchal pride
Confcious of higheft worth, unmov'd thus fpake.

O Progeny of Heav'n, empyreal Thrones!
With reafon hath deep filence and demur
Seiz'd us, though undifmay'd: long is the way
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
Our prifon ftrong, this huge convex of fire,
Outragious to devour, immures us round
Ninefold: and gates of burning adamant
Barr'd over us prohibit all egrefs
Thefe pafs'd (if any pafs) the void profound
Of uneffential night receives him next
Wide gaping, and with utter lofs of being
Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf.
If thence he fcape into whatever world,
Or unknown region, what remains him less
Than unknown dangers, and as hard efcape?
But I fhould ill become this throne, O Peers,
And this imperial fov'reignty, adorn'd

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440.

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With fplendor, arm'd with pow'r, if ought propos'd
And judg'd of public moment, in the shape
Of difficulty or danger could deter

Me from attempting. Wherefore do I affume
Thefe Royalties, and not refuse to reign,
Refufing to accept as great a share
Of hazard as of honor, que alike

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To

--

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Thus faying rose

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To him who reigns, and fo much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the reft High honor'd fits? Go therefore mighty Pow'rs, Terror of Heav'n, though fall'n; intend at home, (While here shall be our home) what beft may ease. The prefent mifery, and render Hell More tolerable; if there be cure or charm To refpite or deceive, or flack the pain Of this ill manfion. Intermit no watch Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad Through all the coaft of dark deftruction feek Deliverance for us all: this enterprize None fhall partake with me. The Monarch, and prevented all reply; Prudent, left from his refolution rais'd Others among the chief might offer now (Certain to be refus'd) what erft they fear'd; And fo refus'd might in opinion stand His rivals, winning cheap the high repute Which he through hazard huge muft earn. But they Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice Forbidding; and at once with him they rofe: 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 highest in Heav'n: Nor fail'd they to exprefs how much they prais'd, 480 That for the general fafety he defpis'd His own: (for neither do the fpirits damn'd Lofe all their virtue; left bad men fhould boaft Their fpecious deeds on earth, which glory excites; Or clofe ambition varnish'd o'er with zeal.) Thus they their doubtful confultations dark Ended, rejoicing in their matchlefs Chief: As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds Afcending, while the north-wind fleeps, o'er-fpread Heav'n's chearful face, the lowring element 490 Scowls o'er the darken'd landscape fnow, or fhowre:

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