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A solemn council, forthwith to be held
Of Satan and his peers: their summons call'd
By place or choice the worthiest; they anon,
To mortal combat, or career with lance),
New rubb'd with balm, expatiate and confer
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and dance
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: Some advise it, others dissuade: A third proposal is preferred, 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 shall be sent on this difficult search; Satan their chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.
HIGH on a throne of royal state, which far