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ARGUMENT.

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.

^arabtse Host.

BOOK II.

TTIGII on a throne of royal state, which far
**■ Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous east with richest hand
Show'rs on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merits rais'd 5

To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heav'n; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus display'd. 10

"Pow'rs and Dominions, Deities of Heav'n!
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigour, though oppress'd and fall'n,
I give not Heav'n for lost. From this descent
Celestial virtues, rising, will appear 15

More glorious and more dread than from no fall.
And trust themselves to fear no second fate.
Me, though just right and the fix'd laws of Heaven
Did first create your leader, next free choice,
With what besides, in council or in fight, 20

Hath been achiev'd of merit, yet this loss,
Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more
Establish'd in a safe unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In Heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw 25
Envy from each inferior; but who here

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,
More unexpert, I boast not; them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need, not now:
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms, and, longing, wait 55
The signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here
Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny who reigns
By our delay? No, let us rather choose, 60

Arm'd with Hell-flames and fury, all at once
O'er Heav'n's high tow'rs to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the torturer; when to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine he shall hear 65

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