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They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews.
Well have ye judg'd, well ended long debate,
400 To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, Shall breathe her balm.But first whom shall we send In search of this new world; whom shall we find Sufficient ? Who shall tempt with wand'ring feet The dark, unbottom'd, infinite Abyss,
405, And through the palpable obscure and out His uncouth way, or fpread his aery flight, Up-born with indefatigable Wings Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive The happy ifle? What strength, what art can then Suffice, or what evasion bear him fafe Through the firict senteries, and stations thick Ofangels watching round? Here he had need All circumspection; and we now no less Choice in our suffrage: for, on whom we send, 415 The weight of all, and our last hope, relies.
This said, he fat; and expectation held
425 Alone, the dreadful voyage : till at last
SATAN, whom now transcendent glory rais’d
O Progeny of heav'n, empyreal Thrones! With reason hath deep silence and demur Seiz'd us, tho' undismay'd : long is the way And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light. Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Outragious to devour, immures us round
435 Ninefold: and gates of burning adamant Barr’d over us, prohibit all egress. These pafs'd (if any pafs) the void profound Of unessential night receives him next Wide gaping! and with utter loss of Being
440 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 escape ? But I should ill become this throne, O Peers ! 445 And this imperial fov'reignty, adorn'd 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 assume 450 These Royalties, and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share 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
455 High-honour'd fits ? Go therefore, mighty Pow'rs! Terror of heav'n, though fall’n! intend at home, (While here shall be our home) what best may
460 But they
None shall partake with me. - -Thus saying rose
490 Scowls o'er the darken'd landschape snow, or sow'r : If chance the radiant sun with farewel sweet Extend his ev’ning beam, the fields revive, The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds Atteft their joy, that hill and valley rings.
495 O shame 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
500 Among themselves, and levy cruel wars, Walling the earth, each other to destroy : As if which might induce us to accord) Men had not hellish foes enow befides, That, day and night, for his destruction wait.
The STYGIAN council thus diffoly'd ; and forth
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat rais'd
Through pain up by the roots THESSALIAN pines ;
550 Free virtue should inthral to force or chance. Their song was partial; but the harmony (What could it less, when spirits immortal fing ?) Suspended hell, and took with ravishment The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet, (For eloquence the soul, fong charms the sense) Others apart sat 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; And found no end, in wand'ring mazes loft. Of good and evil much they argu'd then, Of happiness, and final misery, Passion and apathy, and glory and shame: Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy !
565 Yet, with a pleasing forcery, could charm Pain for a while, or anguish; and excite Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdurate breast With stubborn patience, as with triple steel. Another part, in fquadrons and gross bands,
570 On bold adventure to discover wide That dismal world (if any clime perhaps Might yield them easier habitation) bend Four ways their flying march, along the banks Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
575 Into the burning lake their baleful streams : Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate : Sad ACHERON, of sorrow; black and deep! Cocy'rus, nam'd of lamentation loud
579 Heard on the rueful stream: fierce PHLEGETON, Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. Far off from these, a slow and silent stream, LETNE, the river of oblivion rolls