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If thence he scape,into whatever world,
Or unknown region, what remains him less
Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape?
But I fhould ill become this throne, O Peers, 445
And this imperial sovranty, adorn'd

With fplendor, arm'd with pow'r, if ought propos'd
And judg'd of public moment, in the shape
Of difficulty or danger could deter

Me from attempting. Wherefore do I affume
These royalties, and not refuse to reign;
Refusing to accept as great a share

Of hazard, as of honor; due alike

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To him who reigns; and fo much to him due
Of hazard more, as he above the rest
High honor'd fits? Go, therefore, mighty Powers,
Terror of Heav'n, though fall'n; 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 refpit, or deceive, or flack 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 faying rofe
The Monarch, and prevented all reply;
Prudent, left, from his refolution rais'd,
Others among the chief might offer now,

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(Certain

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(Certain to be refus'd) what erft they fear'd;
And so refus'd,might in opinion stand
His rivals; winning cheap the high repute

Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they
Dreaded not more th'adventure,than his voice
Forbidding; and,at once, with him they rose;
Their rifing all at once was as the found
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend
With awful reverence, prone; and as a God
Extol him,equal to the Hig heft in Heaven:
Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd, 480
That for the general safety he despis'd

His own: for neither do the Spirits damn'd

Lose all their virtue; left bad men fhould boast

Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,
Or close ambition, varnish'd o'er with zeal. 485
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended;rejoicing in their matchless chief:
As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds
Afcending, while the north-wind fleeps, o'er-spread
Heav'n's chearful face, the louring element 490
Scowls o'er the darken'd landskip snow, or shower;
If chance the radiant fun,with farewel fweet,
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Atteft their joy, that hill and valley rings:
O fhame to men! Devil with Devil damn'd
Firm concord holds, men only disagree

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Of

Of creatures rational; though under hope
Of heav'nly grace, and God proclaming peace,
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and ftrife
Among themselves, and levy cruel wars,
Wasting the earth, each other to destroy:
As if (which might induce us to accord)
Man had not hellish foes enow befides,
That day and night for his deftruction wait.
The Stygian council thus diffolv'd; and forth
In order came the grand infernal peers:

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Midft came their mighty paramount; and seem'd
Alone th' antagonist of Heav'n, nor less
Than Hell's dread emperor,with pomp supreme, 510
And God-like imitated ftate; him round

A globe of fiery Seraphim inclos'd

With bright imblazonry, and horrent arms.
Then,of their feffion ended they bid cry,
With trumpets regal found, the great result:
Towards the four winds, four speedy Cherubim
Put to their mouths the founding alchemy,
By heralds voice explain'd; the hollow abyfs
Heard far and wide; and all the hoft of Hell,
With deafning fhout,return'd them loud acclame. 520
Thence more at ease their minds, and fomewhat rais'd
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers
Disband, and wand'ring, each his several way
Pursues, as inclination or fad choice

Leads him perplex'd; where he may likelieft find 525

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Truce

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Truce to his reftlefs thoughts, and entertain
The irksome hours, till his great chief return.
Part on the plain, or in the air fublime,
Upon the wing, or in swift race contend;
As at th'Olympian games or Pythian fields;
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal
With rapid wheels, or fronted brigads form.
As when to warn proud cities, war appears
Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies rush
To battel in the clouds, before each van
Prick forth the aery knights, and couch their spears,
Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms
From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns.
Others with vaft, Typhœan rage, more fell,
Rend up
both rocks and hills, and ride the air 540
In whirlwind; Hell fcarce holds the wild uproar.
As when Alcides, from Oechalia crown'd
With conqueft, felt th'envenom'd robe, and tore,
Through pain,up by the roots Theffalian pines,
And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw
Into th' Euboic fea. Others more mild,
Retreated in a filent valley, fing,
With notes angelical,to many a harp
Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall
By doom of battel; and complain that fate
Free virtue fhould inthrall to force or chance.
Their fong was partial; but the harmony,
(What could it lefs when Spirits immortal fing?)

Suspended

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Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment

The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet, 555 (For eloquence the foul, fong charms the sense,) Others apart fat on a hill retir'd,

In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high
Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
Fix'd fate, free will, foreknowledge abfolute,
And found no end, in wand'ring mazes loft.
Of good and evil much they argued then,
Of happiness and final misery,
Paffion and apathy, and glory' and shame,
Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy:
Yet with a pleasing forcery could charm
Pain, for a while, or anguish; and excite
Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured breast
With ftubborn patience, as with triple steel.
Another part, in squadrons and grofs bands,
On bold adventure to discover wide
That dismal world, if any clime perhaps
Might yield them easier habitation, bend
Four ways their flying march, along the banks
Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge

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Into the burning lake their baleful streams;
Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;
Sad Acheron of forrow, black and deep;
Cocytus, nam'd of lamentation loud

Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon, 580
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
H 2

Far

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