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He dis- What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, suades Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, war And plunge us in the flames; or from above

Should intermitted vengeance arm again

IX

His red right hand to plague us? What if að
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and
Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains,
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, 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? He from
Heaven's highth

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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

180

prey

Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here
Chains and these torments? 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

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That so ordains. This was at first resolved,
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 venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear
What yet they know must follow-to endure
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their conqueror. This is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit 210
His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,
Not mind us not offending, satisfied

With what is punished; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel;
Or, changed at length, and to the place con-
formed

In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat; and, void of pain,
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
Besides what hope the never-ending flight 221
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.'
Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's
garb,

Counselled 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
-Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then

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Mammon speaks

PARADISE LOST

BOOK II

THE ARGUMENT

Satan THE Consultation begun, Satan debates whether another upon his battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: throne some aavise 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 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 :

Io He

'Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!- claims unenvied For, since no deep within her gulf can hold eminence Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen, I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent Celestial Virtues rising will appear

More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!-
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of
Heaven,

Did first create your leader-next, free choice,
With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit-yet this loss,
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Established in a safe, unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no
good

30

For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell
Precedence; none whose portion is so small
Of present pain that with ambitious mind
Will covet more! With this advantage, then,
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in Heaven, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity

Could have assured us; and by what best way, 40
Whether of open war or covert guile,

20

Moloch We now debate. Who can advise may speak.' advises He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred open war king,

Stood up the strongest and the fiercest Spirit
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair
His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed
Equal in strength, and rather than be less
Cared not to be at all; that care lost
Went all his fear of God, or Hell, or worse,
He recked not, and these words thereafter

spake:

50

"

60

My sentence is for open war.
Of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now.
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest-
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend-sit lingering here,
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of His tyranny who reigns
By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once
O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his Angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe!
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench

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