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Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league
Banded against his throne; but to remain
In strictest bondage, though thus far removed
Under the' inevitable curb, reserved

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
By our revolt; but over Hell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven.
What sit we then projecting peace and war?
War hath determined us, and foil'd with loss
Irreparable: terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
But to our power hostility and hate,

Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need
With dangerous expedition to invade

Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,
Or ambush from the deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprise? There is a place,
(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


power and excellence, but favor'd more Of Him who rules above; so was his will

Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath, That shook Heaven's whole circumference, confirm'd.

Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
What creatures there inhabit, of what mold
Or substance, how endued, and what their power,
And where their weakness; how attempted best,
By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,
And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
The utmost border of his kingdom, left
To their defence who hold it. Here perhaps
Some advantageous act may be achieved
By sudden onset; either with hell-fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess
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
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,
Faded so soon. Advise, if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires." Thus Beelzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,
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
His glory to augment. The bold design
Pleased 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 judged, well ended long debate,
Synod of Gods, and, like to what yę are,


Great things resolved, 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 neighbour-
ing arms

And opportune excursion, we may chance
Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone
Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light,
Secure; and at the brightening orient beam
Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air,
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, [send
Shall breathe her balm. But first whom shall we
In search of this new world? whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet
The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,

And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aery flight
Upborne with indefatigable wings

Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive

The happy isle? What strength, what art can then
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe

Through the strict senteries and stations thick
Of Angels, watching round? Here he had need
All circumspection, and we now no less
Choice in our suffrage; for, on whom we send,
The weight of all and our last hope relies."
This said, he sat; and expectation held

His look suspense, awaiting who appear'd
To second, or oppose, or undertake
The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,

Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each
In other's countenance read his own dismay,
: none among the choice and prime
Of those Heaven-warring champions could be
So hardy, as to proffer or accept,


Alone, the dreadful voyage; till at last
Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised
Above his fellows, with monarchal pride,
Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake :

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O Progeny of Heaven! empyreal Thrones! With reason hath deep silence and demur Seized us, though undismay'd: long is the way And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant, Barred over us, prohibit all egress. These pass'd, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential Night receives him next Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf. If thence he 'scape into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape? But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, And this imperial sovranty adorn'd [posed With splendor, arm'd with power, if aught proAnd judged of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty or danger, could deter

Me from attempting. Wherefore do' I assume These royalties, and not refuse to reign,

Refusing to accept as great a share
Of hazard as of honour, due alike

To him who reigns, and so much to him due
Of hazard more, as he above the rest

High honor'd sits? Go, therefore, mighty Powers!
Terror of Heaven, though fallen! intend at home,
While here shall be our home, what best may ease
The present misery, and render Hell

More tolerable; if there be cure or charm
To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain
Of this ill mansion: intermit no watch
Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad
Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek
Deliverance for us all. This enterprise
None shall partake with me." Thus saying rose
The Monarch, and prevented all reply;
Prudent, lest, from his resolution raised,
Others among the chief might offer now
(Certain to be refused) what erst they fear'd;
And, so refused, might in opinion stand
His rivals; winning cheap the high repute,
Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they
Dreaded not more the' adventure, than his voice
Forbidding; and at once with him they rose.
Their rising all, at once, was as the sound
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend
With awful reverence prone; and as a God
Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven.
Nor fail'd they to express how much they praised,
That for the general safety he despised

His own for neither do the Spirits damn'd
Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory'excites,
Or close ambition, varnish'd o'er with zeal.

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