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great seraphic lords and cherubim
The End of the First Book.
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.
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,
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,
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
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,