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May serve to better us and worse our foes, 440 Nisroch
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 the assembly next upstood
Nisroch, of Principalities the prime.
As one he stood escaped from cruel fight
Sore toiled, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And, cloudy in aspéct, 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 unpained, impassive; from which evil
Ruin must needs ensue. For what avails
Valour or strength, though matchless, quelled
with pain,


Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
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
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.
'Whereto, with look composed, Satan re-
plied :-


"Not uninvented that, which thou aright Believ'st so main to our success, I bring.

a new



Satan's Which of us who beholds the bright surfáce ordnance Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand

This continent of spacious Heaven, adorned With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems and gold

Whose eye so superficially surveys

These things as not to mind from whence they

Deep under ground: materials dark and crude,
Of spirituous and fiery spume, till, touched
With Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot


So beauteous, opening 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-rammed, at the other bore with touch of


Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth
From far, with thundering noise, among our foes
Such implements of mischief as shall dash
To pieces and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmed
The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn
Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joined
Think nothing hard, much less to be despaired."

'He ended; and his words their drooping cheer Enlightened, and their languished hope revived. The invention all admired, and each how he To be the inventor missed; so easy it seemed Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought



Impossible! Yet, haply, of thy race,
In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one, intent on mischief, or inspired
With devilish 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 turned
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
The originals of Nature in their crude
Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and, with subtle art
Concocted and adjusted, they reduced
To blackest grain, and into store conveyed.
Part hidden veins digged 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 finished, and in order set,
With silent circumspection, une spied.

Now, when fair Morn orient in Heaven

Up rose the victor Angels, and to arms
The matin trumpet sung. In arms they stood
Of gola panoply, refulgent host,
Soon banded; others from the dawning hills
Looked round, and scouts each coast light-armèd





Each quarter, to descry the distant foe,
Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight,
In motion or in halt. Him soon they met


engines of missive


The Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow opposing But firm battalion: back with speediest sail hosts Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,


Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried :-
""Arm, Warriors, arm for fight! The foe at



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
His adamantine coat gird well, and each
Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,
Borne even or high; for this day will pour down,
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower,
But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire."
'So warned he them, aware themselves, and


In order, quit of all impediment.
Instant, without disturb, they took alarm,
And onward move embattled: when, behold, 550
Not distant far, with heavy pace the foe
Approaching gross and huge, in hollow cube
Training his devilish enginry, impaled
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
A while; but suddenly at head appeared
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!
Heaven, 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
may hear."
So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce
Had ended, when to right and left the front
Divided, and to either flank retired;
Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange,
A triple mounted row of pillars laid


On wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed,
Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir,
With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled),
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths
With hideous orifice gaped on us wide,
Portending hollow truce. At each, behind,
A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed
Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense,
Collected stood within our thoughts amused. 581
Not long! for sudden all at once their reeds
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied
With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven ap-

From those deep-throated engines belched, whose

The engines » belch their glut


Embowelled with outrageous noise the air,
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul
Their devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail
Of iron globes; which, on the victor host
Levelled, with such impetuous fury smote,
That whom they hit none on their feet might


Though standing else as rocks, but down they
By thousands, Angel on Archangel rolled,

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