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796

The

great seraphic lords and cherubim
In closs recess and secret conclave sat
A thousand demi-gods on golden scals,
Frequent and full. After short silence then
And summons read, the great consult begae.

The End of the First Book.

4

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK II.

The Argument. I ne consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battel

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 iruth of that prophecy or tradi. tion 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 ou this difficult search: Satan their chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honored and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations led thein, to entertain the ime ill Satan returi. 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 die over to him the great gulf between Heil and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sigh: of this new

world which he sought.
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgcous East with richest hand
Show'rs on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit 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 vigor, 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 Heav'n
Did first create your leader, next free choice,
With what besides, in counsel 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 23
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the Thund'rer'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 claiin in Gell.
Precedence, none, whose portion is so small
Of present pain, that with ambitious mind
Will cover more. With this advantage then 33
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
Çould have assur'd us; and by what best way,
Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate; who can advise, may speak.

40 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 Card 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. 60

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 50 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 chuse, 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 Tort'rer; when to meet the noise Of his Almighty engine he shall hear 65 Infernal thunder, and for lightning see Black fore and horror shot with equal rage Among his angels, and his throne itself Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire, His own invented torments. But perhaps

70 The way seems difficult and steep to scale With upright wing against a higher foc,

75

then;

Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat: descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce Foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight 80
We sunk thus low ? Th'ascent is

easy
Th’ event is fear'd; should we again provoke
Our
stronger, some worse way his wrath

may

find To our destruction; if there be in Hell Fear to be worse destroy’d: what can be worse 85 Than to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd In this abhorred deep to utter woe; Where pain of unextinguishable fire Must exercise us without hope of end, The vassals of his anger, when the scourge

90 Inexorably, and the torturing hour Calls us to penance ? More destroy'd than thus We should be quite abolish'd and expire. What fear we then? what doubt we to incense His utmost ire? which to the highth enragéd, 95 Will either quite consume us, and reduce To nothing this essential, happier far Than miserable to have eternal being : Or if our substance be indeed divine, And cannot cease to be, we are at worst 100 On this side nothing; and by proof we feel Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his Heavin,

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