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The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created : their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search : Satan their chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on bis journey to hell gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them, by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between bell and heaven: with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Powers and Dominions, Deities of heav'n,'
1 In the Persian Gulf.
2 It was the Eastern custom for the princes of the blood royal and tbe emirs to sprinkle gold dust and seed pearl on
the head of the monarch at his coronation. See “Vie de Tamerlane" (translated by M. Petit de la Croix), B. II. c. 1.
3 Colos. i. 16.
Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more
He ceased ; and next him Moloch, scepter'd king,
My sentence is for open war: of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not: them let those Contrive who need, or when they need, not now: For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms and longing wait The signal to ascend, sit ling’ring here Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, The prison of his tyranny who reigns By our delay ? no, let us rather choose, Arm'd with hell flames and fury, all at once
O'er heav'n's high towers to force resistless way,
Our power sufficient to disturb his heav'n,
He ended frowning, and his look denounced
I should be much for open war, 0 Peers, As not behind in hate, if what was urged, Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whole success; When he, who most excels in fact of arms, In what he counsels, and in what excels Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter dissolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. First, what revenge ? the towers of heav'n are fill’d With armed watch, that render all access Impregnable; oft on the bordering deep Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing Scout far and wide into the realm of night, Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way By force, and at our heels all hell should rise, With blackest insurrection to confound Heav'n's purest light, yet our great enemy All incorruptible would on his throne Sit unpolluted; and th'ethereal mould
1 Uphold by fate.-NEWTON,
Incapable of stain would soon expel Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope Is flat despair: we must exasperate Th’ almighty Victor to spend all his rage, And that must end us, that must be our cure, To be no more: sad cure'; for who would lose, Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Those thoughts that wander through eternity, To perish rather, swallowed up and lost In the wide womb of uncreated night, Devoid of sense and motion ? and who knows, Let this be good, whether our angry foe Can give it, or will ever how he can, Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure. Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, Belike through impotence or unaware, To give his enemies their wish, and end Them in his anger, whom his anger saves To punish endless ? Wherefore cease we then ? Say they who counsel war;We are decreed. Reserved, and destined to eternal woe; -7 jotain Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, What can we suffer worse ?-Is this then worst, Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? What, when we fled amain, pursued and struck With heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought The deep to shelter us? this hell then seem'd A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay Chain'd on the burning lake ? that sure was worse. I What if the breath that kindled those grim fires.. Awaked should blow them into sevenfold rage, And plunge us in the flames? or from above Should intermitted vengeance arm again His red right hand to plague usp what, if all Her stores were open'd, and this firmament Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire, Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
1 Isaiah xxx, 33.