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I may assert eternal Providence,
25 And justify the ways of God to men.
Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view,
The dismal situation waste and wild ;
60 A dungeon horrible on all fides round As one great furnace flam’d, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Serv'd only to discover fights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 65 And rest can never dwell, hope never comes That comes to all; but torture without end Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed With ever-burning fofpbur unconsum’d: Such place eternal Justice had prepar'd
79 For those rebellious, here their pris'n ordain'd In utter darkness, and their portion set As far remov'd from God and light of heav'n, As from the centre thrice to th' utmoit pole. O how unlike the place from whence they fell! 75 There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd With floods and whirlwinds of tempelt uous fire, He foon difcerns; and welt'ring by his side One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime, Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd So Beelzebub. To whom th' arch-enemy, And thence in heav'n cail'd Satan, with bold words Breaking the horrid filence, thus began.
If thou beest he; but O how falln ! how chang'd From him, who in the happy, realms of light 85 Cloth'd with transcendent brightness did it outfaine Myriads, tho' bright! if he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprize, Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd 90 In equal ruin: into what pit thou seest From what height fall'n, so much the stronger prov'd He with his thunder: and till then who knew The force of those dire arms: Yet not for those
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
95 Can elfe infiet, do I repent or change, Tho' chang'd in outward lustre, that fix'd mind, And high disdain from fense of injur'd merit, That with the Mightiest rais'd me to contend; And to the fierce contention brought along Innumerable force of spirits armid, That durft dislike his reign, and me preferring; His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos'd In dubious battle on the plains of heav'n, And shook his throne. What tho' the field be loft?' All is not lost; th' unconquerable will,
106, And Rudy of revelge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield, And what is else not to be overcome; That glory never shall his wrath or might: 110) Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace : With suppliant knee, and deify his pow'r, Who from the terror of this arm fo late Doubted his empire; that were low indeed, ': That were an ignominy' and shame beneath IT'S This downfall; since by fate the strength of gods And this empyreal substance cannot fail; Since through experience of this great event In arms not worfe, in forelight much advanc'd, We may with more successful hope resolve 120 To wage by force or guile eternal war, Irreconcileable to our grand foe, Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heav'n.
So spake th’apostate angel, tho’in pain ; 125 Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair : And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.
O Prince, O Chief of many throned pow'rs, That led th' imbattl'a Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
1309 Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual King, And put to proof his high supremacy, Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate; Too well I fee, and rue the dire event, That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
135 Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as gods and heav'nly effences Can perilh: for the mind and spirit remains Invincible, and vigour soon returns,
140 Though all our glory' extinct, and happy state Here swallow'd up in endless misery. But what if he our conqu’ror (whom I now Of force believe almighty, fince no less Than such could have o'erpow'r'd fuch force as ours) Have left us this our fp'rit and strength entire
146 Sirongly to suffer and support our pains, That we may fo fuffice his vengeful ire, Or do him mightier service as his thralls By right of war, whate'er his business be,
150 Here in the heart of hell to work in fire, Or do his errands in the gloomy deep; What can it then avail, though yet we feel Strength undiminish’d, or eternal being To undergo eternal punishment?
155 Whereto with speedy words th' arch-fiend reply'd.
Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable Doing or suff'ring: but of this be sure, To do ought good nerer will be our task, But ever to do ill our fole delight,
160 As-be'ing the contrary to his high will Whom we refift. If then his providence Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil ; 165
Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate: With head uplift above the wave, and eyes" That sparkling blazd, his other parts besides Prone on the flood, extended long and large 195 Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge As whom the fables name of monstrous fize, Titanian, or earth-born, that warr'd on Jove, Briareus or Typhon, whom the den