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Since now we find this our empyreal form
Incapable of mortal injury,

Imperishable, and though pierc'd with wound 435
Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
Of evil then so small as easy think
The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
May serve to better us, and worse our foes:
Or equal what between us made the odds,
In nature none: if other hidden cause
Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose.

He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood
Nisroc, of principalities the prime;
As one he stood escap'd from cruel fight,
Sore toil'd, his riven arms to havock hewn;



And cloudy in aspect thus answering spake. 450
Deliverer from new lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard
For Gods, and too unequal work we find
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain'd, impassive; from which evil 455
Ruin must needs ensue, for what avails

Valour or strength, though matchless, quell'd with pain,

Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hand
Of mightiest? sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
But live content, which is the calmest life:


But pain is perfect misery, the worst
Of evils, and excessive overturns

All patience. He who therefore can invent
With what more forcible we may offend
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
Our selves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.




Whereto with look compos'd Satan reply'd. Not uninvented that, which thou aright Believ'st so main to our success, I bring: Which of us who beholds the bright surface Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand, This continent of spacious heav'n, adorn'd With plant, fruit, flow'r ambrosial, gems, and gold, Whose eye so superficially surveys These things, as not to mind from whence they grow Deep under ground, materials dark and crude, Of spirituous and fiery spume, till touch'd With heaven's ray, and temper'd they shoot forth 480 So beauteous, op'ning to the ambient light? These in their dark nativity the deep Shall yield us pregnant with infernal flame, Which into hollow engines long and round Thick-ramm'd, at th' other bore with touch of fire Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth

From far with thund'ring noise among our foes Such implements of mischief, as shall dash

467 to me] i. e. in my opinion.

48 dark] dank. Bentl. MS.


To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands.
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm'd 490
The thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.

Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn,
Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair'd. 495
He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
Enlighten'd, and their languish'd hope reviv'd.
Th' invention all admir'd, and each, how he
To be th' inventor miss'd, so easy it seem'd
Once found, which yet unfound most would have

Impossible: yet haply of thy race

In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
With dev'lish machination, might devise
Like instrument, to plague the sons of men
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Forthwith from council to the work they flew,
None arguing stood; innumerable hands
Were ready, in a moment up they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
Th' originals of nature in their crude
Conception: sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and with subtle art
Concocted and adusted they reduc'd




To blackest grain, and into store convey❜d.
Part hidden veins digg'd up, nor hath this earth
Entrails unlike, of mineral and stone,

Whereof to found their engines and their balls
Of missive ruin; part incentive reed

Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire:
So all ere day-spring, under conscious night
Secret, they finish'd, and in order set,
With silent circumspection unespy'd.



Now when fair morn orient in heav'n appear'd, Up rose the victor angels, and to arms The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood Of golden panoply, refulgent host,

Soon banded; others from the dawning hills

Look'd round, and scouts each coast light-armed


Each quarter, to descry the distant foe,
Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight,
In motion or in alt: him soon they met
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow
But firm battalion: back with speediest sail
Zophiel, of cherubim the swiftest wing,
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cry'd.



Arm, warriors, arm for fight, the foe at hand, Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit This day, fear not his flight; so thick a cloud He comes, and settled in his face I see

Sad resolution and secure : let each


520 pernicious] probably to be understood in the sense of

the Latin pernix, speedy. Newton.

526 matin] Tasso Gier. Lib. c. xi. st. 19.

Quando a cantar la mattutina tromba
Comincia à l' arme.'


His adamantine coat gird well, and each

Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,
Borne ev'n or high; for this day will pour down,
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling show'r,
But rattling storm of arrows barb'd with fire.


So warn'd he them, aware themselves, and soon In order, quit of all impediment;

Instant without disturb they took alarm,

And onward move embattel'd; when behold 550 Not distant far with heavy pace the foe Approaching gross and huge; in hollow cube Training his devilish énginry, impal'd


On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
A while; but suddenly at head appear'd
Satan; and thus was heard commanding loud.
Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold;
That all may see, who hate us, how we seek
Peace and composure, and with open breast 560
Stand ready to receive them, if they like
Our overture, and turn not back perverse ;
But that I doubt; however witness heaven,
Heav'n witness thou anon, while we discharge
Freely our part: ye who appointed stand
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
What we propound, and loud that all




542 coat] Hor. Od. i. vi. 13.

'Martem tunica tectum adamantina.


545 aught] Fenton wishes to read 'right.'

552 cube] Tubes, 483. Bentl. MS.

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