Page images



And dig'd out ribs of gold. (Let none admire
That riches grow in hell; that foil may best
Deferve the precious bane.) And here let those
Who boast in mortal things, and wond'ring tell
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian Kings,
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,
And strength, and art, are easily out-done
By fpirits reprobate, and in an hour,
What in an age they with incessant 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 ftrange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook:
As in an Organ, from one blast 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

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 Afpbaltus, yielded light
As from a fky. 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 residence,
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


By all his engins, but was headlong fent
With his industrious 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 host proclaim A folemn council forthwith to be held

At Pandamonium, 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 761
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



To mortal combat, or carriere with lance)
Thick fwarm'd, both on the ground, and in the air,
Brush'd with the hiss of rusling 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,
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 state-affairs: fo thick the aery crowd
Swarm'd, and were streighten'd; till the signal giv'n:
Behold a wonder! they but now who feem'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 foreft fide,
Or fountain fome belated peasant sees,


Or dreams he fees; while over-head the moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth


Wheels her pale courfe; they on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear:

At once with joy, and fear, his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
Reduc'd their fhapes immense; and were at large, 790
Though without number still, amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimenfions 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.




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


« PreviousContinue »