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Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
Opened into the hill a spacious wound,
And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire
That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those
Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings,
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,
And strength, and art, are easily outdone
By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour
What in an age they, with incessant toil
And hands innumerable, scarce perform.
Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
With wondrous art founded the massy ore,

Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross.

A third as soon had formed within the ground

A various mould, and from the boiling cells

By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook;

As in an organ, from one blast of wind,

To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet-
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid

With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven:
The roof was fretted gold.+Not Babylon
Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine.
Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat

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Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove

In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile

Stood fixed her stately highth; and straight the doors,
Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide

Within, her ample spaces o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof,
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky. The hasty multitude
Admiring entered; and the work some praise,
And some the architect. His hand was known
In Heaven by many a towered structure high,
Where sceptred Angels held their residence,
And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Each in his hierarchy, the Orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unadored
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell

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From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove

Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn

To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day, and with the setting sun
Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star,

On Lemnos, the Ægæan isle. Thus they relate,
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout

Fell long before; nor aught availed him now

To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scape

By all his engines, but was headlong sent,

With his industrious crew, to build in Hell.

Meanwhile the wingèd Haralds, by command

Of sovran power, with awful ceremony

And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim

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A solemn council forthwith to be held

At Pandemonium, the high capital

Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called
From every band and squared regiment

By place or choice the worthiest: they anon
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came
Attended. All access was thronged; the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold
Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair
Defied the best of Panim chivalry

To mortal combat, or career with lance),
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides,
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,

New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer

Their state-affairs: so thick the aery crowd

Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given,
Behold a wonder? They but now who seemed

In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless-like that pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,

Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon

Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth

Wheels her pale course: they, on their mirth and dance

Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.

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Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms

Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large,
Though without number still, amidst the hall

Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat,
A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then,
And summons read, the great consult began.

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THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK.

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PARADISE LOST.

BOOK II.

THE ARGUMENT.

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 his 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 Hell 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

GH on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised

To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed :—

"Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!-
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold

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