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The vaffals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour

Calls us to penance? more destroy'd than thus
We fhould be quite abolisht and expire.

What fear we then? what doubt we to incenfe
His utmost ire? which to the highth enrag'd,
Will either quite confume us, and reduce
To nothing this effential, happier far
Than miferable to have eternal being :
Or if our fubftance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this fide nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power fufficient to disturb his heav'n,
And with perpetual inrodes to allarm,
Though inacceffible, his fatal throne:
Which if not victory is yet revenge.

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On th'other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane;
A fairer perfon loft not heav'n; he feem'd
For dignity compos'd and high exploit:
But all was falfe and hollow; though his tongue
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Matureft counfels: for his thoughts were low;
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and flothful; yet he pleas'd the ear,
And with perfwafive accent thus began.

I should be much for open war, O Peers, As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd

Main reason to perfwade immediate war,
Did not diffwade me most, and seem to caft
Ominous conjecture on the whole fuccefs :
When he who most excells in fact of arms,
In what he counfels and in what excells
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter diffolution, as the scope

Of all his aim, after fome dire revenge.
First, what revenge? the towrs of heav'n are fill'd
With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable; oft on the bordering deep
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing
Scout far and wide into the realm of night,
Scorning furprize. Or could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all hell fhould rife
With blackest insurrection, to confound
Heav'n's pureft light, yet our great enemy
All incorruptible would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and th’ethereal mould
Incapable of stain would foon expell
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope
Is flat defpair: we muft exafperate
Th'almighty victor to spend all his rage,

And that must end us, that must be our cure,
To be no more; fad cure; for who would lofe,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, fwallow'd up and loft

In the wide womb of uncreated night,

Devoid of fenfe and motion? and who knows,

Let this be good, whether our angry foe
Can give it, or will ever? how he can
Is doubtful; that he never will is fure.
Will he fo wife, let loose at once his ire,
Belike through impotence, or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger faves
To punish endless? wherefore cease we then?
Say they who counsel war, we are decreed,
Referv'd and deftin'd to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse? is this then worst,
Thus fitting, thus confulting, thus in arms ?
What when we fled amain, purfu'd and strook
With heav'ns afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to fhelter us? this hell then feem'd
A refuge from thofe wounds: or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake? that fure was worse.
What if the breath that kindi'd thofe grim fires
Awak'd fhould blow them into fevenfold rage
And plunge us in the flames? or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? what if all
Her ftores were open'd, and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impending horrors, threatning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Defigning or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fierie tempest shall be hurl’d
Each on his rock transfixt, the sport and prey

Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever funk

Under yon boyling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrefpited, unpitied, unrepriv'd,

Ages of hopeless end; this would be worse.
War therefore, open or conceal'd, alike

My voice diffwades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whofe eye
Views all things at one view? he from heav'ns hightli
All these our motions vain, fees and derides;
Not more almighty to resist our might

Than wife to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of heav'n
Thus trampl'd, thus expell'd to fuffer here
Chains and these torments ? better these than worfe
By my advice; fince fate inevitable

Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The victor's will. To fuffer as to do,
Our ftrength is equal, nor the law unjust
That fo ordains: this was at first refolv'd,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and fo doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear
What yet they know must follow, to endure
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
The fentence of their conqueror: this is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our fupream foe in time may much remit
His anger, and perhaps thus far remov'd
Not mind us not offending, fatisfi'd

With what is punish't; whence these raging fires

Will flack'n, if his breath ftir not their flames.
Our purer effence then will overcome

Their noxious vapour, or enur'd not feel,

Or chang'd at length, and to the place conform'd
In temper and in nature, will receive

Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;

This horror will grow mild, this darkness light,
Befides what hope the never-ending flight

Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting, fince 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 cloath'd in reason's garb
Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful floth,
Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake.
Either to difenthrone the king of heav'n

We war, if war be best, or to regain

Our own right loft: him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting fate shall yield
To fickle chance, and chaos judge the strife :
The former vain to hope argues as vain
The latter for what place can be for us
Within heav'n's bound, unless heav'n's lord fupream
We overpower? fuppofe he should relent
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive
Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne
With warbl'd hymns, and to his godhead fing
Forc't halleluias; while he lordly fits
Our envied fov'ran, and his altar breaths

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