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Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds

Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high fupremacy,


Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
Too well I fee, and rue the dire event,

That with fad overthrow and foul defeat


Hath loft us heav'n, and all this mighty host
In horrible deftruction laid thus low,
As far as gods and heavenly effences

Can perifh for the mind and fpi'rit remains
Invincible, and vigour foon returns,


Though all our glory' extinct, and happy ftate
Here fwallow'd up in endless mifery.

But what if he our conqu'ror (whom I now

Of force believe Almighty, fince no lefs

Than fuch could have o'erpower'd fuch force as ours)

Have left us this our fpi'rit and ftrength entire

Strongly to fuffer and fupport our pains,
That we may fo fuffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier fervice 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' Archfiend reply'd.

Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable

Doing or fuffering: but of this be fure,
To do ought good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our fole delight,
As bei'ng the contrary to his high will
Whom we refift. If then his providence
Out of our evil feek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,





And out of good ftill to find means of evil;
Which oft-times may fucceed, fo as perhaps

Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb

His inmoft counfels from their deftin'd aim.
But fee the angry Victor hath recall'd

His minifters of vengeance and purfuit



Back to the gates of heav'n; the fulphurous hail
Shot after us in ftorm, o'erblown, hath laid

The fiery furge, that from the precipice

Of heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, 175
Perhaps hath spent his fhafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vaft and boundless deep.
Let us not flip th' occafion, whether fcorn,
Or fatiate fury yield it from our foe.

Seeft thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The feat of Defolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Cafts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the toffing of these fiery waves;


There reft, if any reft can harbour there;


And reaffembling our afflicted powers,

Confult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own lofs how repair,

How overcome this dire calamity,

What reinforcement we may gain from Hope,
If not, what refolution from Despair.


Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That fparkling blaz'd, his other parts befides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monftrous fize,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
Briareus or Typhon, whom the den


By ancient Tarfus held, or that fea-beaft
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th' ocean stream:
Him haply flumb'ring on the Norway foam
The pilot of fome small night-founder'd skiff
Deeming fome ifland, oft, as feamen tell,
With fixed anchor in his fcaly rind

Moors by his fide under the lee, while night
Invests the fea, and wifhed morn delays:





So ftretch'd out huge in length the Archfiend lay
Chain'd on the burning lake: nor ever thence
Had ris'n, or heav'd his head, but that the will
And high permiffion 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 fought
Evil to others; and enrag'd might fee
How all his malice ferv'd but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shown
On man by him feduc'd; but on himself
Treble confufion, wrath and vengeance pour'd.
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty ftature; on each hand the flames
Driv'n backward flope their pointing fpires, and roll'd
In billows, leave i'the midst a horrid vale.


Then with expanded wings he fteers his flight.


Aloft, incumbent on the dufky air,


That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights, if it were land that ever burn'd:
With folid, as the lake with liquid fire
And fuch appear'd in hue, as when the force
Of fubterranean wind tranfports a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the fhatter'd fide
Of thund'ring Ætna, whofe combustible:
And fuel'd intrails thence conceiving fire,

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Sublim'd with mineral fury, aid the winds,

And leave a finged bottom all involv'd


With stench and smoke: such resting found the fole
Of unblefs'd feet. Him follow'd his next mate,
Both glorying to have 'fcap'd the Stygian flood
As gods, and by their own recover'd strength,
Not by the fufferance of fupernal power.


Is this the region, this the foil, the clime, Said then the loft Archangel, this the feat That we must change for heav'n, this mournful gloom For that celeftial light? Be' it fo, fince he Who now as Sov'reign can dispose and bid


What shall be right: fartheft from him is best,
Whom reas'on hath equall'd, force hath made fupreme
Above his equals. Farewel happy fields,

Where joy for ever dwells! Hail horrours, hail


Infernal world! and thou profoundest hell

Receive thy new poffeffour; 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 heav'n.
What matter where if I be still the fame,
And what I fhould be, all but lefs than he


Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at leaft

We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built


Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign fecure, and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition, though in hell:
Better to reign in hell, than ferve in heaven.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,

Th' affociates and copartners of our lofs,


Lie thus aftonish'd on the oblivious pool,

And call them not to fhare with us their part
In this unhappy manfion, or once more

With rallied arms to try what may be yet

Regain'd in heav'n, or what more loft in hell?

So Satan fpake, and him Beelzebub

Thus anfwer'd. Leader of thofe armies bright,
Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foil'd,
If once they hear that voice, their livelieft pledge.
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard fo oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battle when it rag'd, in all affaults
Their fureft fignal, they will foon refume
New courage and revive, though now they lie.
Grov'ling and proftrate on yon lake of fire,
As we erewhile, aftounded and amaz'd,
No wonder, fall'n fueh a pernicious height.
He fcarce had ceas'd when the fuperiour fiend






Was moving tow'ard the fhore; his pond'rous fhield,
Ethereal temper, mafly, large, and round,
Behind him caft; the broad circumference
Hung on his fhoulders like the moon, whofe orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening from the top of Fefolé,
Or in Valdarno, to defcry new lands,
Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe.
His fpear, to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great admiral, were but a wand,
He walk'd with to fupport uneafy steps
Over the burning marle, (not like those steps
On heaven's azure), and the torrid clime
Smote on him fore befides, vaulted with fire.
Nathlefs he fo endur'd, till on the beach
Of that inflamed fea he ftood,, and call'd
His legions, angel-forms; who lay intranc'd
Thick as autumnal leaves that frow the brooks
In Vallombrofa, where th' Etrurian fhades
High overarch'd imbow'r; or scatter'd fedge



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