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Omniscient thought.

True is, less firmly arm'd,

Some disadvantage we endur'd and pain,

Till now not known, but known, as soon contemn'd;
Since now we find this our empyreal form
Incapable of mortal injury,

Imperishable, and, though pierc'd with wound,
Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
Of evil then so small, as easy think

The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
Or equal what between us made the odds,
In nature none: if other hidden cause
Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose.'

"He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood
Nisroch, of principalities the prime;
As one he stood escap❜d from cruel fight,
Sore toil'd, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And cloudy in aspect thus answ'ring spake :
'Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right as gods; yet hard
For gods, and too unequal work we find,
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain'd, impassive; from which evil
Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails

Valour or strength, though matchless, quell'd with
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine
But live content, which is the calmest life:
But pain is perfect misery, the worst

Of evils, and excessive, overturns

All patience.

He who therefore can invent
With what more forcible we may offend
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm

Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.'
"Whereto with look compos'd Satan replied:
'Not uninvented that, which thou aright

Believ'st so main to our success, I bring.
Which of us who beholds the bright surface
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand,
This continent of spacious heaven, adorn'd
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold;
Whose eye so superficially surveys

These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till touch'd
With heaven's ray, and temper'd, they shoot forth
So beauteous, opening to the ambient light?
These in their dark nativity the deep

Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;
Which into hollow engines long and round
Thick-ramm'd, at th' other bore with touch of fire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth

From far, with thund'ring noise, among our foes
Such implements of mischief, as shall dash
To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm'd
The Thund'rer of his only dreaded bolt.
Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn
Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair'd.'
"He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
Enlighten'd, and their languish'd hope reviv'd.
Th' invention all admir'd, and each how he
To be th' inventor miss'd; so easy' it seem'd
Once found, which yet unfound, most would have
Impossible: yet haply of thy race [thought

In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one, intent on mischief, or inspir'd
With devilish machination, might devise
Like instrument to plague the sons of men
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Forthwith from council to the work they flew :
None arguing stood; innumerable hands
Were ready, in a moment up they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
Th' originals of nature in their crude

Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and with subtle art,
Concocted and adjusted, they redue'd

To blackest grain, and into store convey'd:
Part hidden veins digg'd up (nor hath this earth
Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone,
Whereof to found their engines and their balls
Of missive ruin; part incentive reed
Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
So all ere day-spring, under conscious night,
Secret they finish'd and in order set,
With silent circumspection unespied.

"Now when fair morn orient in heaven appear'd,

Up rose the victor angels, and to arms

The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood
Of golden panoply, refulgent host,

Soon banded others from the dawning hills
Look'd round, and scouts each coast light-armed
Each quarter, to descry the distant foe, [scour,
Where lodg'd, or whither fled, or if for fight,
In motion or in halt: him soon they met
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow
But firm battalion; back with speediest sail
Zophiel, of cherubim the swiftest wing,
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried :


Arm, warriors, arm for fight; the foe at hand
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud
He comes, and settled in his face I see
Sad resolution and secure : let each
His adamantine coat gird well, and each
Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,
Borne even or high; for this day will pour down,
If I conjecture ought, no drizzling shower,
But rattling storm of arrows barb'd with fire.'
"So warn'd he them, aware themselves, and soon
In order, quit of all impediment;

Instant without disturb, they took alarm,
And onward move embattled; when, behold,
Not distant far with heavy pace the foe
Approaching, gross and huge, in hollow cube

Training his devilish enginery, impal'd

To hide the fraud.

On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
At interview both stood
Awhile; but suddenly at head appear'd
Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud:
"Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold;
That all may see who hate us, how we seek
Peace and composure, and with open breast
Stand ready to receive them, if they like
Our overture, and turn not back perverse:
But that I doubt; however, witness heaven,
Heaven witness thou anon, while we discharge
Freely our part; ye who appointed stand,
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
What we propound, and loud that all may hear.'
"So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce
Had ended, when to right and left the front
Divided, and to either flank retir'd;

Which to our eyes discover'd, new and strange,
A triple mounted row of pillars laid

On wheels (for like to pillars most they seem'd,
Or hollow'd bodies made of oak or fir,

With branches lopt, in wood or mountain fell'd)
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouth
With hideous orifice gap'd on us wide,

Portending hollow truce. At each behind
A seraph stood, and in his hand a reed
Stood waving tipt with fire; while we suspense
Collected stood within our thoughts amus'd;
Not long, for sudden all at once their reeds
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied
With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
But soon obscur'd with smoke, all heaven appear'd,
From those deep-throated engines belch'd, whose
Embowel'd with outrageous noise the air, [roar
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul

Their devilish glut, chain'd thunderbolts, and hail
Of iron globes; which on the victor host
Levell❜d, with such impetuous fury smote,

That whom they hit, none on their feet might stand,
Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell

By thousands, angel on archangel roll'd;
The sooner for their arms: unarm'd they might
Have easily as spirits evaded swift

By quick contraction or remove; but now
Foul dissipation follow'd and forc'd rout:
Nor served it to relax their serried files.
What should they do? if on they rush'd, repulse
Repeated, and indecent overthrow

Doubled, would render them yet more despis'd,
And to their foes a laughter; for in view
Stood rank'd of seraphim another row,
In posture to displode their second tire
Of thunder: back defeated to return

They worse abhorr'd. Satan beheld their plight,
And to his mates thus in derision call'd:


"O friends! why come not on these victors proud? Ere while they fierce were coming; and when we To entertain them fair with open front

And breast (what could we more?) propounded terms
Of composition, straight they chang'd their mind,
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,

As they would dance; yet for a dance they seem'd
Somewhat extravagant and wild, perhaps
For joy of offer'd peace. But I suppose,
If our proposals once again were heard,
We should compel them to a quick result."

"To whom thus Belial in like gamesome mood:
Leader! the terms we sent were terms of weight,
Of hard contents, and full of force urg'd home,
Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,
And stumbled many; who receives them right,
Had need from head to foot well understand;
Not understood, this gift they have besides,
They show us when our foes walk not upright.'
"So they among themselves in pleasant vein
Stood scoffing, heighten'd in their thoughts beyond
All doubt of victory; Eternal Might
To match with their inventions they presum'd
So easy', and of his thunder made a scorn,
And all his host derided, while they stood
Awhile in trouble; but they stood not long;

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