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By our delay? No, let us rather chuse,

Arm'd with hell fames and fury, all at once
O'er heav'n's high tow'rs to force refiftless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms.
Against the Torturer'; when to meet the noise
of his almighty engine he shall hear
Infernal thunder; and, for lightning, fee
Black fire and horror fhot with equał rage
Among his angels; and his throne itself
Mix'd with Tartarean fulphur, and strange fire,
His own invented torments.

But perhaps
The way seems difficult and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe.'
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 feat : defcent and fall?
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursu'd us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy then;
Th' event is fear'd'; frould we again provoke
Our stronger, fome worse way his wrath may find.
To our deftruétion; if there be in hell
Fear to be worse destroy'd: what can be worse 85
Than to dwell' bere, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd.
In this abhorred deep to utter woe;
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Most exercife us without hope of end,
The vassals of his anger, when the fcourge 90
Inexorably, and the tort'ring 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


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His utmost ire? which, to the height enrag'd,
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

On this side nothing; and, by proof we feel
Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his heavin,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccelible, his fatal throne:
Which if not viétory, is yet revenge.

105 He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd Desp'rate revenge, and battle dangerous To less than gods. On th other side uprose Belial, in act more graceful and humane; A fairer person loft not heav'n.; he seem'd. For dignity compos'd, and high exploit: But all was false and bollow; tho' his tongue Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear The better reason, to perplex and dach Matureft counsels; for his thoughts were low; 115 To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds Tim'rous and flothful; yet he pleas'd the ear, And with persuasive accept thus began.

I should be much for open war, O peers, As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cart Ominous conjecture on the whole success; When he who molt excels in fact of armsy. In what he counsels, and in what excels

125 Miltrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter diffolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. First, what revenge? The tow'rs of hear'n are fill'd



With armed watch, that render all access, 130
Impregnable: oft on the bord'ring deep
Incamp their legions; or, with obscure wing,
Scout far and wide into the realms of night,
Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way
By force, and at our heels ail hell should rise
With blackest insurrection, to confound
Heav'n's purest light; yet our great enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit upolluted ; and th'ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel

Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Vi&torious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope
Is flat despair : we mult 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,

150 Devoid of fense 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 laves 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 1652
With leav'n's ami&ting thunder, and befought.
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, 170
Awak’d, should blow them into sev’nfold

And plunge us in the Aames? or, from above,
Should intermitted vengeance arm agait
His red right-hand to plague us ? what if all
Her stores were open'd, and this firmament

Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors; threat'ning hideous falls
One day, upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempeft shall be hurl'd

18 Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey Of wracking whirlwinds; or forever funk Uirder you boiling ocean, wrapt in chains; . There to converfe with everlasting groansg. Unrespited, umpitied, unreprico'd,

1953 Ages of hopeless end this would be worfe. War therefore, open or conceald, alike My voice diffuades; 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 heightAll these our motions vain sees and derides; 1914 Not more almighty to relift our might Than wife to frustrate all our plots and wilés. Shall we then live thus vile, the race of heav'n? Thus trampled, thus expellia, to suffer here

1952 Chains and thefe 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 unjult 200
That fo ordains : this was at firlt resolv'd,
If we were wise, againft so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear 203
What yet they know muft follow, to endure
Exile, or ingnominy', or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their Conqu’ror : this is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our fupreme foe in time may much remit

His anger; and perhaps, thus far remov'd,
Not mind us not offending, satisfy'd
With what is punith'd ; whence these raging fires
Will facken, if his breath ftir not their flames.
Our purer effence then will overcome

215 Their noxious vapour; or inur'd, not feel; Or chang'd at length, and to the place conform d. In temper, and in nature, will receive Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain ; This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; 220. Besides what hope the never-ending flight Of future days may bring, what chance, what change Worth waiting, fince our present lot 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 eafe, and peaceful foth, Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake.

Either to disinthrone the King of Heav'n We war, if war be best, or to regain

230 Our own right lost: him to unthronie 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.


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