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They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews.

1 390

Well have ye judg'd, well ended long debate,
Synod of Gods! and, like to what ye are,
Great things resolv'd : which from the lowest deep
Will once more lift us up, in spite of Fate,
Nearer our antient seat ; perhaps in view

Of those bright confines, whence with neighbouring arms,
And opportune excursion, we may chance
Re-enter heav'n: or else, in some mild Zone
Dwell not unvisited of heav'n's fair light,
Secure, and at the bright’ning orient beam
Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air,

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
His look fufpense, awaiting who appear'd
To second or oppose, or undertake
The perilous attempt: but all fat mute,
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each
In others 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 proffer, 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! 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

The present misery, and render hell
More tolerable; if there be cure, or charm,
To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain
Of this ill mansion. Intermit no watch
Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad,
Through all the coasts of dark destruction, seek
Deliverance for us all: this enterprize

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460 But they

465 None




None shall partake with me. - -Thus saying 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 ;

And so refus'd might in opinion stand
His rivals ; winning cheap the high repute,
Which he through hazard huge muft earn.
Dreaded not more th' adventure, than his voice
Forbidding ; and at once with him they rose :
Their rising all at once was as the found
Of thunder heard remote. Tow'rds him they bend
With awful reverence prone ; and as a God
Extol him equal to the highest in heav'n:
Nor faild they to express how much they prais’d,
That for the general safety he despis'd
His own : (for neither do the spirits damn'd
Lose all their virtue; left bad men should boaft
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites;
Or close ambition varnish'd o'er with zeal.) 485
Thus they their doubtíul consultations dark
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief:
As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the north-wind seeps, o'erspread
Heav'n's chearful face, the low'ring element,

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.

505 The


The STYGIAN council thus diffoly'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 fupreme,
And God-like imitated flate. Him round
A globe of fiery Seraphim inclos'd,
With bright imblazonry, and horrent arms.
Then, of their session ended they bid cry
With trumpets regal found the great result:
Tow'rds the four winds four speedy Cherubim
Put to their mouths the founding alchymy,
By herald's voice explain'd : the hollow Abyss
Heard far and wide, and all the host of hell
With deafʼning shout return’d them loud acclaim.

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Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat rais'd
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Pow'rs
Disband, and wand'ring, each his several way
Pursues, as inclination or fad choice
Leads him perplex’d, where he may likeliest find

Truce to his reftless thoughts, and entertain
The irksom 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 :
Part curb their fiery steeds, or fhun 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 rush
To battel in the clouds ; before each van

Prick forth the aery Knights, and couch their spears
Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms
From either end of heav'n the welkin buras.
Others, with vast TYPHOEAN rage, more fell!.

both rocks and hills, : and ride the air

In whirlwind: hell scarce holds the wild uproar.
As when ALCIDES from CHALIA crown'd
With conquett, felt th' invenom'd robe, and tore





Through pain up by the roots THESSALIAN pines ;
And Lichas from the top of Æra threw

Into th' Euboic Sea. Others more mild,
Retreated in a filent valley, sing
With notes Angelical to many a harp
Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall
By doom of battel : and complain that fate

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


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