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And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne :
Which if not victory is yet revenge.

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd
Desp’rate revenge, and battel dangerous
To less than gods. On th’ other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane ;
A fairer person lost not Heav'n; he seem'a 110
For dignity compos’d and high exploit:
But all was false and hollow; though his tonguic
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low; 115
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful: yet he pleas'd the ear,
And with persuasive aceent thus began :

I should be much for open war, O Peers! As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd 120 Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to case Ominous conjecture on the whole success : When he who most excels in fapt of arms, In what he counsels and in what excels

123 Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter dissolution, as the scope Of all bis aim, after some dire revenge. First, what revenge? the towers of Heav'n are filla With armed watch, that render all access Impregnable; oft on the bord'ring deep Incamp'their legions, or with obscure wing


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Scout far and wide into the realm of Night,
Scorning surprize. Or could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise 135
With blackest insurrection, to confound
Heav'n's purest light, yet our great Enemy
All incorruptible would on his throne

Sit unpolluted, and th'ethereal mould di Incapable of stain, would soon expel 140

Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire
Victorious. Thus repuls’d, our final hope
Is flat despair : we must exasperate
Th’ almighty Victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us, that must be our cure, 145
To be no more ; sad cure ; for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallow'd up

and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night,

Devoid of sense and motion ? and who knows,
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever ? how he can
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, 155
Belike through impotence, or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves
To punish endless ? Wherefore cease we then ?
Say they who counsel war, we are decreed, 160
Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal woe ;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,

What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms ?
What when we fled amain, pursu'd and struck 165
With Heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought
The Deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds : or when we lay
Chain d on the burning lake ? that sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awak'd should blow them into sev'n-fold rage,
And plunge us in the flames ? or from above
Should intermitted Vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us ? what if all
Her stores were open'd, and this firmament 175
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threat’ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hurl'd 180
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport


prey Of wracking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk Under

yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains ; There to converse with everlasting groans, Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,

185 Ages of hopeless end ? this would be worse. War therefore, open or conceald, alike My voice dissuades ; for what can force or guile With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye 'Views all things at one view? he from Heav'n's highth

190 All these our motions vain sees and derides;

Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expellid to suffer here 195
Chains and these torments ? better these than worse
By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust 200
That so ordains : this was at first resolv'd,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And ventrous, if that fail them, shrink and fear
What yet they know must follow, to endure 206
Exile, or ignominy', or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their conqu’ror: this is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our supreme Foe in time may much remit 210
His anger, and perhaps thus far remov'd
Not mind us not offending, satisfy'd
With what is punish’d; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome 215
Their noxious vapor, or inur'd not feel,
Or chang'd at length, and to the place conformid.
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;
This horror will grow mild, this darkness lig
Besides what hope the never-ending flight 221

Of future days may bring, what chance, what change Worth waiting, since our present


appears For happy though but ill, for ill not worst, If we procure not to ourselves more woe. 225

Thus Belial with words cloth'd in Reason's garb Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth, Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake.

Either to disinthrone the King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain 230
Our own right lost : him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife :
The former vain to hope argues as vain
The latter : for what place can be for us 235
Within Heav'n's bound, unless Heav'n's Lord su-

We overpow'r? Suppose he should relent,
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection, with what


could we Stand in his presence humble, and receive 240 Strict laws impos’d, to celebrate his thrope With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing Forc'd hallelujah's; while he lordly sits Our envied Sovran, and his altar breathes Ambrosial odors and ainbrosial flowers, Our servile offerings? This must be our task In Heav'n, 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


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