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“O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers,
That led th’ embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual king,
And put to proof his high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
Too well I see, and rue the dire event,
That with sad overthrow, and foul defeat,
Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as gods and heav'nly essences
Can perish; for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallow’d up in endless misery.
But what if he our Conqu'ror (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less
Than such could have o'erpow'r'd such force as ours)
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his business be,
Here in the heart of hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep :
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Strength undiminish'd, or eternal being
To undergo eternal punishment?”
Whereto with speedy words th’ arch-fiend replied:

‘Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable
Doing or suffering; but of this be sure,
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destin’d aim.
But see , the angry victor hath recall’d
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of heav'n: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip th’ occasion, whether scorn
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames

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Casts pale and dreadful ? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there; 185
And, re-assembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope; 190
If not, what resolution from despair.’
Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blaz'd; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large, 195
Lay floating many a rood; in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove;
Briareos or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held; or that sea-beast 200
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th’ ocean stream:
Him, haply, slumb'ring on the Norway foam,
The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff
Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 205
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays:
So stretch'd out huge in length the arch-fiend lay,
Chain’d on the burning lake: nor ever thence 210
Had ris'n, or heav'd his head; but that the will
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, shown
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, roll’d
In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid vale.
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 Aetna, whose combustible
And fuell'd entrails thence conceiving fire,
Sublim'd with mineral fury, aid the winds, 235
And leave a singed bottom all involv’d
With stench and smoke: such resting found the sole

Of unblest feet. Him follow'd his next mate:
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 Power.
* 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, 245
Who now is Sovran, can dispose and bid
What shall be right; farthest from him is best,
Whom reason hath equall'd, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
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 heaven. 255
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: 260
Here we may reign secure, and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in hell:
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven!
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th' associates and copartners of our loss, 265
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 Beélzebub
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 275
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge,
Of battle 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, 280
As we erewhile, astounded and amaz'd;
No wonder, sall'n such a pernicious highth.”
He scarce had ceas'd, when the superior fiend
Was moving toward the shore: his pond’rous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, 285
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening from the top of Fesolé,
Or in Waldarno, to descry new lands, 290
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe.
His spear, to equal which the tallest pine

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Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand,
He walk'd with , to support uneasy steps 295
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 endur'd, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and call’d 300
His legions, Angel forms, who lay intranc'd
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Wallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades,
High over-arch'd, imbow'r; or scatter'd sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd 305
Hath vex'd the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases 310
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, 815
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 battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find 320
To slumber here, as in the vales of heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conqueror P who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scatter'd arms and ensigns, till anon 325
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. o
Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.' 330
They heard, and were abash'd, and up they sprung
Upon the wing; as when men wont to watch
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. .*
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight 335
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;
Yet to their general's voice they soon obey'd
Innumerable. As when the potent rod * *
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Wav’d round the coast, up call’d a pitchy cloud 340
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nile:
So numberless were those bad angels seen
Hovering on wing under the cope of hell, 345
"Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires
Till, as a signal giv'n, th’ uplifted spear

Of their great sultan waving to direct f.
Their course, in even balance down they light
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain; 350
A multitude, like which the populous north
Pour'd never from her frozen loins, to pass
Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
Came like a deluge on the south, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands. 355
Forthwith from every squadron and each band
The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
Their great commander; godlike shapes and forms
Excelling human, princely dignities;
And pow'rs that erst in heaven sat on thrones, 360
Though of their names in heav'nly records now
Be no memorial; blotted out and ras'd
By their rebellion from the books of life.
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
Got them new names; till, wand'ring o'er the earth, 365
Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man,
By falsities and lies the greatest part -
Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
God their Creator, and th’ invisible
Glory of him that made them to transform 870
Oft to the image of a brute, adorn'd
With gay religions, full of pomp and gold,
And devils to adore for deities:
Then were they known to men by various names,
And various idols through the heathen world. 875
Say, muse, their names then known, who first, who last,
Rous’d from the slumber on that fiery couch, -
At their great emp'ror's call, as next in worth
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof. 380
The chief were those, who, from the pit of hell,
Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durst fix
Their seats long after next the seat of God,
Their altars by his altar, gods ador'd
Among the nations round, and durst abide 385
Jehovah thund'ring out of Sion, thron'd
Between the Cherubim; yea, often plac'd
Within his sanctuary itself their shrines,
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites and solemn feasts profan'd, 390
And with their darkness durst affront his light.
First, Moloch, horrid king, besmear'd with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears;
Though for the noise of drums and timbrels lond
Their children's cries unheard, that pass'd through fire 395
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
Worshipp'd in Rabba and her wat'ry plain,
In Argob and in Basan, to the stream
Of utmost Arnon, Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart 400
Of Solomon he led by fraud to build
His temple right against the temple of God

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