Page images
PDF
EPUB

And dig'd out ribs of gold. (Let none admire
That riches grow in hell; that foil may best
Deserve the precious bane.) And here let those
Who boaft in mortal things, and wond'ring tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian Kings,
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, 695
And strength, and art, are easily out-done
By fpirits reprobate, and in an hour,
What in an age they with inceffant toil,
And hands innumerable, fcarce perform.
Nigh on the plain in many cells prepar'd,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluc'd from the lake, a fecond multitude
With wondrous art found out the maffy ore;
Severing each kind, and scumm'd the bullion drofs:
A third as foon had form'd within the ground 705
A various mold; and from the boiling cells

By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook:
As in an Organ, from one blaft of wind,
To many a row of pipes the found-board breaths.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rofe like an exhalation, with the found
Of dulcet fymphonies, and voices fweet;
Built like a temple, where pilafters round
Were fet, and Doric pillars, overlaid
With golden architrave: nor did there want
Cornice, or freeze, with boffy sculptures grav'n;
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo, fuch magnificence
Equall'd in all their glories, to infhrine

715

690

700

710

Belus, or Serapis, their Gods; or feat

Their Kings, when Egypt with Affyria ftrove

In wealth and luxury. Th' afcending pile

} Stood fixt her stately height: and strait the doors.
Op'ning their brazen folds, difcover wide
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof,
Pendent by fubtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps, and blazing creffets, fed
With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky. The hafty multitude
Admiring enter'd, and the work fome praise,
And fome the architect: his hand was known
In heav'n by many a towred structure high,
Where fceptred angels held their refidence,
And fat as Princes; whom the fupreme King 735
Exalted to fuch pow'r, and gave to rule,
Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright:
Nor was his name unheard, or unador'd,
In ancient Greece; and in Aufonian land
Men call'd him Mulciber; and how he fell 740
From heav'n they fabled, thrown by angry ove
Sheer o'er the chrystal battlements; from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A fummer's day; and with the setting fun
Drop'd from the Zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos th' Egean ifle: thus they relate,
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor ought avail'd him now
T'have built in heav'n high tow'rs; nor did he scape

[ocr errors]

720

725

739

745

750

By all his engins, but was headlong fent
With his induftrious crew to build in hell.
Mean while the winged heralds by command
Of fov'reign pow'r, with awful ceremony
And trumpets found, throughout the hoft proclaim
A folemn council forthwith to be held
755

At Pandemonium, the high Capital

Of Satan and his Peers: their fummons call'd,
From every band and squared regiment,
By place or choice the worthiest, they anon
With hundreds, and with thousands, trooping came
Attended: all accefs was throng'd, the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold
Wont ride in arm'd, and at the Soldan's Chair
Defi'd the best of Panim chivalry

761

765

To mortal combat, or carriere with lance)
Thick fwarm'd, both on the ground, and in the air,
Brush'd with the hifs of rufling wings. As bees
In fpring time, when the fun with Taurus rides,
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters; they among fresh dews, and flowr's,

770

"

· Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, (The suburb of their straw-built cittadel,) New rub'd with baulm, expatiate, and confer Their ftate-affairs: fo thick the aery crowd 775 Swarm'd, and were ftreighten'd; till the signal giv’n: Behold a wonder! they but now who seem'd In Bigness to surpass Earth's Giant fons, Now lefs than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room

Throng numberlefs, like that Pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount; or Fairy Elves;
Whose midnight revels, by a forest fide,
Or fountain fome belated peasant fees,
Or dreams he fees; while over-head the moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
785
Wheels her pale courfe; they on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund mufic charm his ear:

At once with joy, and fear, his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
Reduc'd their shapes immense; and were at large, 790
Though without number still, amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great Seraphic Lords, and Cherubim,
In clofe recefs, and fecret conclave fat;
A thousand Demi-Gods on golden feats,
Frequent and full! After short filence then,
And fummons read, the great confult began.

The end of the first Book.

780

795

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK II.

The ARGUMENT.

The confultation begun, Satan debates whether another battel be to be hazarded for the recovery of heaven: fome advise it, others diffuade. A third propofal is prefer'd, 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 fhall be fent on this difficult fearch: Satan their Chief undertakes alone the voyage; is honor'd and applauded. The council thus ended, the reft betake them

Several

« PreviousContinue »