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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?

Whereto with speedy words th' arch-fiend reply'd.
Fall'n cherub, to be weak is miserable,

Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,

To do ought good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,

As being the contrary to his high will,
Whom we resist. 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;
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destin'd aim.
But see! the angry victor hath recall'd
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of heaven: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice

Of heaven receiv'd us falling, and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.

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158 Doing or suffering] Quodvis pati, quidvis facere.' Plauti Miles. v. 9. See Pricæum ad Apulei Apolog. p. 165.

177 To bellow] See Henry More's Poems, p. 314. 'The hoarse bellowing of the thunder.'



Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.

Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
And, reassembling our afflicted powers,
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;
If not, what resolution from despair.

Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate,
With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blaz'd; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large,
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
Briareüs, or Typhon, whom the den

By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works

Created hugest that swim th' ocean stream:

181 vord] Dante Inf. c. v. 28.

Luogo d'ogni luce muto.' Todd.

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200 sea-beast] Equoreo similem per litora monstro.'








Val. Flacc. iv. 700.

Him haply slumb'ring on the Norway foam
The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff
Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind

Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays:

So stretch'd out huge in length the arch-fiend lay,
Chain'd on the burning lake, nor ever thence
Had risen or heav'd his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs;



205 Deeming some island] At Sir William Drury's house in Hawstead in Suffolk (built in regn. Elizab.), is a closet with painted pannels of the age of James I. One (no. 36.) is a ship that has anchored on a whale which is in motion. The motto, nusquam tuta fides.' See Cullum's Hist. of Hawstead, p. 164, where is an engraving of it.

205 island] Thus Dionysii Perieg. 598.

ἀμφὶ δὲ πάντη

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Κήτεα θῖνες ἔχουσιν, ἐρυθραίου βοτὰ πόντου,
Οὔρεσιν ἠλιβάτοισιν ἐοικότα.

And so in the Orlando Innam. of Boiardo, rifac. da Berni, lib. ii. canto xiii. stan. 60.

'Il dosso sol mostrava ch' è maggiore

Ch' undici passi, ed anche più d'altezza,

E veramente, a chi la guarda, pare

Un' isoletta nel mezzo del mare.'

Compare also Avieni Disc. Orbis, p. 784-5, and Pia Hilaria, p. 92. 'Basil affirms that whales are equal to the greatest mountains, and their backs, when they show above the water, like to islands.' บ. Brerewood on Languages, p. 133.

208 Invests] v. Stat. Theb. lib. v. 51.

'tellurem proximus umbrâ,

Vestit Athos.'


That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
Evil to others, and enrag'd might see
How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy shewn
On man by him seduc'd; but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance pour'd.
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames
Driv'n backward slope their pointing spires, and

In billows leave i' th' midst a horrid vale.

Then with expanded wings he steers his flight

Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,

That felt unusual weight, till on dry land




He lights, if it were land that ever burn'd
With solid, as the lake with liquid, fire;
And such appear'd in hue, as when the force
Of subterranean wind transports a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side
Of thund'ring Etna, whose combustible
And fuel'd entrails thence conceiving fire,
Sublim'd with mineral fury, aid the winds,
And leave a singed bottom, all involv'd
With stench and smoke: such resting found the sole
Of unbless'd feet. Him follow'd his next mate,
Both glorying to have scap'd the Stygian flood,

232 Pelorus] See Dante, Paradiso, c. 8. ver. 68.

'Tra Pachino e Peloro sopra 'l golfo,

Che riceve da Euro maggior briga,'


As gods, and by their own recover'd strength,
Not by the sufferance of supernal power.


Is this the region, this the soil, the clime, Said then the lost arch-angel, this the seat That we must change for heav'n, this mournful gloom For that celestial light? be it so, since he,

Who now is Sov'reign, can dispose and bid




What shall be right: farthest from him is best,
Whom reason hath equall'd, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells: hail horrors; hail
Infernal world; and thou profoundest hell
Receive thy new possessor; one who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition, though in hell:
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.


240 recover'd strength] Revigorate, resumed, recovering, reviving self-raised, self-recovered. Bentl. Conj. MSS.

241 sufferance] Compare Hom. Od. iv. 503.

Φῇ ὁ ἀέκητι θεῶν φυγέειν μέγα λαϊτμα θαλάσσης.

263 Better] See Eschyli Prometheus, ver. 976. Κρέισσον γὰρ οἶμαι τῇδε λατρεύειν πέτρα,

*Η πατρὶ φῦναι Ζηνὶ πιστὸν ἄγγελον.

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