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Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,

245 Our servile offerings? This must be our task In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome Eternity so spent, in worship paid To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue By force impossible, by leave obtain'd

250 Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state Of splendid vassalage ; but rather seek Our own good from ourselves, and from our own Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess, Free and to none accountable, preferring

255 Hard liberty before the easy yoke Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear Then most conspicuous, when great things of small, Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse, We can create ; and in what place soe'er

260 Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain, Through labour and endurance. This deep world Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Sire Choose to reside, his glory unobscur’d,

265 And with the majesty of darkness round Covers his throne ; from whence deep thunders roar Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell? As he our darkness, cannot we his light Imitate when we please? This desert soil

270 Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold ; Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can Heaven shew more i Our torments also may, in length of time, Become our elements; these piercing fires

275 As soft as now severe; our temper chang'd Into their temper; which must needs remove The sensible of pain. All things invite To peaceful counsels and the settl'd state Of order, how in safety best we may

280 Compose our present evils, with regard Of what we are and where, dismissing quite All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.'

He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fill'd The assembly, as when hollow rocks retain

285 The sound of blustering winds, which all night long Had rous'd the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull

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Seafaring men o'er-watch'd, whose bark by chance,
Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest: such applause was heard 290
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd,
Advising peace; for such another field
They dreaded worse than Hell : so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michaël
Wrought still within them; and no less desire 295
To found this nether empire, which might rise,
By policy and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heaven.
Which when Beëlzebub perceiv'd, than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave

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Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A pillar of state ; deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat, and public care ;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood,
With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies : his look
Drew audience and attention still as night
Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake :

'Thrones and Imperial Powers, offspring of Heaven, Ethereal Virtues ! or these titles now

311 Must we renounce, and, changing style, be calld Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote Inclines, here to continue, and build up here A growing empire ; doubtless, while we dream, 315 And know not that the King of Heaven hath doom'd This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league Banded against his throne, but to remain

320 In strictest bondage, though thus far remov'd Under the inevitable curb, reserv'd His captive multitude : for he, be sure, In highth or depth, still first and last will reign Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part

325 By our revolt, but over Hell extend His empire, and with iron sceptre rule Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. What sit we then projecting peace and war? War hath determin’d us, and foild with loss 330

Irreparable ; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsaf'd or sought; for what peace will be given
To us enslav'd, but custody severe,
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,

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But to our power hostility and hate,
Untam'd reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?

340 Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need, With dangerous expedition to invade Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, Or ambush from the deep.

What if we find Some easier enterprise? There is a place

345 (If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven Err not), another world, the happy seat Of some new race call’d Man, about this time To be created like to us, though less In power and excellence, but favour'd more

350 Of Him who rules above: so was his will Pronounc'd among the gods, and by an oath, That shook Heaven's whole circumference, confirm'd. Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn What creatures there inhabit, of what mould,

355 Or substance, how endued, and what their power, And where their weakness, how attempted best, By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, And Heaven's high arbitrator sit secure In his own strength, this place may lie expos'd, 360 The utmost border of his kingdom, left To their defence who hold it. Here perhaps Some advantageous act may be achiev'd By sudden onset; either with Hell-fire To waste his whole creation, or possess

365 All as our own, and drive, as we were driven, The puny inhabitants; or, if not drive, Seduce them to our party, that their God May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370 Common revenge, and interrupt his joy In our confusion, and our joy upraise In his disturbance; when his darling sons,

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Hurld headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss,

375 Faded so soon.

Advise, if this be worth Attempting, or to sit in darkness here Hatching vain empires.'—Thus Beëlzebub Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devis'd By Satan, and in part propos'd; for whence, But from the author of all ill, could spring So deep a malice, to confound the race Of mankind in one root, and earth with Hell To mingle and involve, done all to spite The great Creator? But their spite still serves 385 His glory to augment. The bold design Pleas'd highly those infernal States, and joy Sparkled in all their eyes. With full assent They vote; whereat his speech he thus renews :

'Well have ye judg’d, well ended long debate, 390 Synod of gods! and, like to what ye are, Great things resolvd, which from the lowest deep Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring arms And opportune excursion, we may chance

396 Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light, Secure, and at the brightening orient beam Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air,

400 To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, Shall breathe her balm. But first, whom shall we send In search of this new world? whom shall we find Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet The dark, unbottom'd, infinite abyss,

405 And through the palpable obscure find out His uncouth way, or spread his aery flight, Upborne with indefatigable wings, Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive The happy isle? What strength, what art, can then 410 Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe Through the strict senteries and stations thick Of angels watching round? Here he had need All circumspection, and we now no less Choice in our suffrage; for, on whom we send, 415 The weight of all, and our last hope, relies.'

This said, he sat; and expectation held
His look suspense, awaiting who appeard
To second, or oppose, or undertake
The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,

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Pondering the danger with deep thoughts, and each
In other's countenance read his own dismay,
Astonish'd :

: none, among the choice and prime Of those Heaven-warring champions, could be found So hardy as to proffer or accept

425 Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised Above his fellows, with monarchal pride, Conscious of highest worth, unmov'd thus spake: O progeny of Heaven, empyreal Thrones !

430 With reason hath deep silence and demur Seiz'd us, though undismay'd. Long is the way And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round

435 Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant, Barr'd over us, prohibit all egress. These pass’d, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential Night receives him next, Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of being

440 Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf. If thence he 'scape into whatever world Or unknown region, what remains him less Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape? But I should ill become this throne, O peers, 445 And this imperial sovranty, adorn'd With splendour, arm’d with power, if aught propos'd And judg'd of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty or danger, could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume 450 These royalties, and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honour, due alike To him who reigns, and so much to him due, Of hazard more, as he above the rest

455 High honour'd sits ? Go, therefore, mighty Powers, Terrour of Heaven, though fallen ! intend at home, While here shall be our home, what best may ease The present misery, and render Hell

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