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And dig'd out ribs of gold. (Let none admire 690
Belus, or Serapis, their Gods; or seat
720 Their Kings, when Ægypt with Alyria strove In wealth and luxury. Th’ascending pile Stood fixt her stately height: and strait the door3 . Op'ning their brazen folds, discover wide Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
725 And level pavement: from the arched roof, Pendent by subtle magic, many a row Of starry lamps, and blazing cressets, fed With Naphtha and Aspbaltus, yielded light As from a sky. The hasty
730 Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise, And fome the architect: his hand was known In heav'n by many a towred structure high, Where fceptred angels held their residence, And sat as Princes; whom the supreme King 735 Exalted to such pow'r, and gave to rule, Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright : Nor was his name unheard, or unador'd, In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land Men call’d him Mulciber; and how he fell
740' From heav'n they fabled, thrown by angry yove Sheer o'er the chryftal battlements; from morn To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, A summer's day; and with the setting fun Drop'd from the Zenith like a falling star, 745 On Lemnos th'Ægean isle: thus they relate, Erring; for he with this rebellious rout Fell long before; nor ought avail'd him now T'have built in heav'n high tow'rs; nor did he scape
By all his engins, but was headlong sent
750 With his industrious crew to build in hell.
Mean while the winged heralds by command Of fov'reign pow'r, with awful ceremony And trumpets sound, throughout the host proclaim A solemn council forthwith to be held
755 At Pandæmonium, the high Capital Of Satan and his Peers: their summons callid, 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 throng'd, the gates 761 And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall (Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold Wont ride in arm'd, and at the Soldan's Chair Defi'd the best of Panim chivalry
765 To mortal combat, or carriere with lance) Thick swarm’d, both on the ground, and in the air, Brush'd with the hiss of rusing wings. As bees In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides, Pour forth their populous youth about the hive 770 In clusters; they among fresh dews, and flowr's, Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, (The suburb of their straw-built cittadel,) New rub'd with baulm, expatiate, and confer Their state-affairs: so thick the aery crowd 775 Swarm’d, and were ftreighten'd; till the signal giv'n: Behold a wonder! they but now who seem'd In Bigness to surpass Earth's Giant fons, Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless, like that Pygmean race 780
The end of the first Book.
The ARGUMENT. The consultation begun, Satan debates whe
ther another baitel be to be hazarded for the recovery of heaven: fome advise it, others disuade. A third proposal is prefer'd, - 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 honor'd and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them