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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 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.
TTIGII on a throne of royal state, which far
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
"Pow'rs and Dominions, Deities of Heav'n!
More glorious and more dread than from no fall.
Hath been achiev'd of merit, yet this loss,
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the ThundYer's aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is then no good 30
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction; for none sure will claim in Hell
Precedence; none, whose portion is so small
Of present pain, that with ambitious mind
Will covet more. With this advantage then 35
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in Heav'n, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assur'd us; and by what best way, 40
Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate; who can advise may speak."
He ceas'd; and next him Moloch, scepter'd king, Stood up; the strongest and the fiercest Spirit That fought in Heav'n, now fiercer by despair: 45 His trust was with th" Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength, and rather than be less, Car'd not to be at all; with that care lost Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse. He reck'd not, and these words thereafter spake, 50
"My sentence is for open war; of wiles,
Arm'd with Hell-flames and fury, all at once