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With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable; oft on the bord'ring 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,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repuls'd, 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, swallow'd 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,
Reserv'd, and destin'd, to eternal woe;
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.
What if the breath, that kindled those grim fires,
Awak'd, should blow them into sev’nfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? or, from above,
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were open'd, and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threat'ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hurl’d
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey
Of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,

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Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd, 185
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War therefore, open or conceal’d, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views all things at one view P. He from heav'n's highth 190
All these our motions vain sees, and derides;
Not more almighty to resist our might,
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of heaven
Thus trampled, thus expell'd to suffer here 195
Chains and these torments P Better these than worse,
By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust 200
That so ordains: this was at first resolv’d,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And went’rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear 205
What yet they know must follow, to endure
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their conqu'ror: this is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our stipreme foe in time may much remit 210
His anger: and perhaps, thus far remov’d,
Not mind us not offending, satisfied
With what is punish'd; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome 215
Their noxious vapour: or, inur’d, not feel ;
Or, chang'd at length, and to the place conform'd
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; 220
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting ; since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.” 225
Thus Belial, with words cloth'd in reason's garb,
Counsell’d ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:
“Either to disenthrone the King of heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain 230
Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife:
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
The latter: for what place can be for us 235
Within heav'n's bound, unless heav'n's Lord supreme
We overpow'r? Suppose he should relent,
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we

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Stand in his presence humble, and receive 240
Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forc'd hallelujahs; while he lordly sits
Our envied sovran, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers, 245
Our servile offerings P. This must be our task
In heav'n, this our delight; how wearisome
Eternity so spent, in worship paid
To whom we hate | Let us not then pursue
By force impossible, by leave obtain’d 250
Unácceptable, though in heav'n, our state
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring 255
Hard liberty before the easy yoke -
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosp’rous of advérse,
We can create; and in what place soe'er 260
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain,
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth heav'n's all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscur'd, 265
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar
Must’ring their rage, and heav'n resembles hell.
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desert soil 270
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can heav'n show more?
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements; these piercing fires 275
As soft as now severe, our temper chang'd
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may 280
Compose our present evils, with regard
Of what we are, and where: dismissing quite
All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.”
He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fill’d
Th’ assembly, as when hollow rocks retain 285
The sound of blustring winds, which all night long
Had rous’d the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Seafaring men o'er-watch'd, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest: such applause was heard 290
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd
Advising peace: for such another field
They dreaded worse than hell; so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michaël

Wrought still within them, and no less desire 295 To found this nether empire, which might rise By policy, and long procéss of time, In emulation opposite to heaven. Which when Beélzebub perceiv'd, than whom, . Satan except, none higher sat, with grave . 300 Aspéct he rose, and in his rising seem’d A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven ' Deliberation sat, and public care; And princely counsel in his face yet shone, Majestic, though in ruin: sage he stood 305 With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look Drew audience and attention still as night Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake: “Thrones and Imperial Pow’rs, Offspring of Heaven, 310 Ethereal Wirtues; or these titles now Must we renounce, and, changing style, be call'd Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote Inclines here to continue, and build up here A growing empire: doubtless, while we dream, 315 And know not that the King of heav'n hath doom'd This place our dungeon; not our safe retreat Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt From heav'n's high jurisdiction, in new league Banded against his throne, but to remain 320 In strictest bondage, though thus far remov’d Under th’ inevitable curb, reserv'd His captive multitude: for he, be sure, In highth or depth, still first and last will reign Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part 325 By our revolt; but over hell extend His empire, and with iron scepter rule Us here, as with his golden those in heaven. What sit we then projecting peace and war? War hath determin'd us, and foil'd with loss 330 Irreparable; terms of peace yet none Vouchsaf'd or sought; for what peace will be given To us enslav'd, but custody severe And stripes, and arbitrary punishment Inflicted 2 and what peace can we return, 335 But to our pow'r hostility and hate, Untam'd reluctance, and revenge, though slow, Yet ever plotting how the conqu'ror least May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice In doing what we most in suffering feel? 340 Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need With dang'rous expedition to invade Heav'n, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, Or ambush from the deep. What if we find Some easier enterprise? There is a place 345 (If ancient and prophetic fame in heaven Err not), another world, the happy seat. . Of some new race, call’d Man, about this time To be created like to us, though less

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In pow'r and excellence, but favour'd more 350
Of him who rules above; so was his will
Pronounc'd among the gods; and by an oath,
That shook heav'n's whole circumference, confirm'd.
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould 355
Or substance, how endued, and what their power,
And where their weakness, how attempted best,
By force or subtlety. Though heav'n be shut,
And heav'n's high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie expos'd, 360
The utmost border of his kingdom, left
To their defence who hold it: here perhaps
Some advantageous act may be achiev'd
By sudden onset; either with hell fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess 365
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,
The puny habitants, or, if not drive,
Seduce them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370

Common revenge, and interrupt his joy

In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Hurl’d headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss, 375
Faded so soon. Advise, if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires.” Thus Beélzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devis'd
By Satan, and in part propos'd: for whence, 380
But from the author of all ill, could spring
So deep a malice, to confound the race
Of mankind in one root, and earth with hell
To mingle and involve, done all to spite
The great Creator? But their spite still serves 385
His glory to augment, The bold design
Pleas'd highly those infernal states, and joy
Sparkled in all their eyes: with full assent
They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews:
“Well have ye judg'd, well ended long debate, 390
Synod of gods, and like to what ye are,
Great things resolv'd, which, from the lowest deep,
Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate,
Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view
Of those bright confines, whence, with neighb'ring arms
And opportune excursion, we may chance
Re-enter heav'n; or else in some mild zone
Dwell, not unvisited of heav'n's fair light,
Secure; and at the bright'ning orient beam
Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air, 400
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,
Shall breathe her balm. But first, whom shall we send
In search of this new world? whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand'ring feet

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