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And high permission of all-ruling heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs;
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 215
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. 220
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. [roll'd
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 225
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 230
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,
232 Pelorus] See Dante, Paradiso, c. 8. ver. 68.
Tra Pachino e Peloro sopra 'l golfo,
Che riceve da Euro maggior briga.'
Both glorying to have scap'd the Stygian flood, As Gods, and by their own recover'd strength, 240 Not by the sufferance of supernal pow'r.
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
Where joy for ever dwells: hail horrors; hail 250
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 heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.
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:
240 recover'd strength] Revigorate, resumed, recovering, reviving, self-raised, self-recovered. Bentl. Conj. MSS. 241 sufferance] Compare Hom. Od. iv. 503.
Φῆ ῥ' ἀέκητι θεῶν φυγέειν μέγα λαῖτμα θαλάσσης.
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heav'n.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th' associates and copartners of our loss,
Lie thus astonish'd on th' oblivious pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion; or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regain'd in heav'n, or what more lost in hell? 270
So Satan spake, and him Beëlzebub
Thus answer'd: Leader of those armies bright,
Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foil'd,
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battel when it rag'd, in all assaults
Their surest signal, they will soon resume
New courage and revive, though now they lie
Grov'ling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,
As we erewhile, astounded and amaz'd,
No wonder, fall'n such a pernicious highth.
He scarce had ceas'd, when the superior fiend
Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
263 Better] See Eschyli Prometheus, ver. 976.
Κρεισσον γὰρ οἶμαι τῇδε λατρεύειν πέτρα, · Η πατρὶ φῦναι Ζηνὶ πιστὸν ἄγγελον.
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At ev❜ning, from the top of Fesole
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe.
His spear, to equal which the tallest pine,
Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast
Of some great Ammiral, were but a wand,
He walk'd with to support uneasy steps
Over the burning marle, not like those steps
On heaven's azure, and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire.
Nathless he so indur'd, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and call'd
optic glass] See Henry More's Poems (Inf. of Worlds):
'But that experiment of the optick glasse,'
and Davenant's Gondibert, p. 188.
'Or reach with optick tubes the ragged moon.' 293 mast] See Lucilii Sat. lib. xv. 1. p. 132. - porro huic majus bacillum
Quam malus navi in corbitâ maximus ullà.'
And Ovid Metam. xiii. 783.
'Cui postquam pinus, baculi quæ præbuit usum,
Ante pedes posita est, antennis apta ferendis.'
Cowley's Davideis, lib. iii. ver. 47.
His spear the trunk was of a lofty tree,
Which nature meant some tall ship's mast to be.'
Keysler's Travels, ii. 117. 'They shew here the mast of a ship, which the common people believe to be the lance of Rolando the great.' Pope probably mistook the sense, when, in Hom. Il. xiii. 494, he says,
'Or pine, fit mast for some great admiral.'
Mr. Dyce refers to Quintus Smyrnæus, lib. v. ver. 118.
His legions, Angel forms, who lay entrans'd,
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
High overarch'd imbow'r; or scatter'd sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd
Hath vex'd the Red-sea coast, whose waves o'er-
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursu'd
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases
And broken chariot wheels: so thick bestrown
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of hell resounded: Princes, Potentates,
Warriors, the flow'r of heav'n, once yours, now lost,
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal spirits; or have ye chos'n this place
After the toil of battel to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of heav'n?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the conqueror? who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scatter'd arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers from heav'n gates discern
Th' advantage, and descending tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf.
Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.