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Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine
Belus or Serapis, their gods, or seat

720
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile
Stood fixed her stately highth ; and straight the doors,
Opening their brazen folds, discover wide
Within her ample spaces, o’er the smooth

1725 And level pavement : from the arched roof, Pendent by subtle magic, many a row Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light As from a sky. The hasty multitude

730 Admiring entered, and the work some praise, And some the architect. His hand was known In heaven by many a towered structure high, Where sceptred Angels held their residence, And sat as princes, whom the supreme King

735 Exalted to such power, and gave to rule, Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright. Nor was his name unheard, or unadored, In ancient Greece, and in Ausonian land Men called him Mulciber : and how he fell

740 From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove Sheer o'er the crystal battlements ; from morn To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, A summer's day ; and with the setting sun

718. Alcairo, now called Cairo. Al is merely an article as in Alkoran ; in some words it has retained its place, as in algebra, alkali, alchemy.

720. Belus or Bel, the latter the Aramaic form for Baäl. Serapis, the Egyptian god of the world of the dead.

722. Pile, a poetic expression for any great structure.

732. His hand, etc. This one of the fallen angels became in aftertime the Greek deity Hephaistos, identified by the Romans with their own Vulcan or Mulciber, the Forger. His fall from heaven (Iliad i. 591), as a result of which he was always lame, is a part of Greek mythology.

Dropt from the zenith like a falling star,

745 On Lemnos, the Ægean isle. Thus they relate, Erring; for he with this rebellious rout Fell long before ; nor aught availed him now To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he’scape By all his engines, but was headlong sent

750 With his industrious crew to build in Hell.

Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command
Of sovran power, with awful ceremony
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council forthwith to be held

755 At Pandemonium, the high capital Of Satan and his peers.

Their summons called From every band and squarèd regiment, By place or choice the worthiest ; they anon With hundreds and with thousands trooping came 760 Attended. All access was thronged, the gates And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall (Though like a covered field, where champions bold Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair Defied the best of Panim chivalry

765 To mortal combat, or career with lance), Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,

748. Nor aught availed him now. Nor was it now of any advantage to him to have built the towers of Heaven.

753. Awful, the word as commonly used to-day is almost meaningless : Milton meant full of awe.

756. Pandemonium. The place of all the devils. The name is coined by Milton from tav, all, and daruo'viov, a place of devils, from δαίμων. .

757. Peers ; properly the word means equals, as in 39 : here rather nobility, as in modern English.

760. I. e., not only the chiefs but their followers.

764. Wont ride, were wont to ride ; the construction is now pecul. iar, but not infrequent in older English, being quite regular.

764. Soldan, the word is a doublet of Sultan.

765. Panim, pagan; more commonly used with the meaning Mahometan.

Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees,
In spring-time when the sun with Taurus rides,
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive 770
In clusters ; they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and fro, or, on the smoothèd plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New rubbed with balm, expatiate and confer
Their state affairs : so thick the aery crowd

775
Swarmed, and were straitened ; till, the signal given,
Behold a wonder! They but now who seemed
In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs in narrow room
Throng numberless, like that pygmean race

780 Beyond the Indian mount, or faery elves, Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side Or fountain, some belated peasant sees, Or dreams he sees, while over head the moon Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth

785 Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and dance Intent, with jocund music charm his ear ; At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, 790 Though without number still, amidst the hall Of that infernal court. But far within, And in their own dimensions like themselves, The great Seraphic lords, and Cherubim,

769. Taurus, the Bull among the signs of the Zodiac. The sun comes into Taurus about the middle of April.

774. Expatiate, spread out.

780. Pygmean race. Ancient fables placed the Pygmies in Asia, but modern exploration finds them in Africa.

793. Like themselves. Spirits had the power of changing their appearance (see i. 428) but yet they had, each his own particular form. The point has more than a curious interest. (See Introd.,

p. xxix.)

794. In this line Seraph and Cherub may perhaps mean the chief of the angelic hierarchy.

795

In close recess and secret conclave sat,
A thousand demigods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then
And summons read, the great consúlt began.

797. Frequent agrees with conclave; the meaning is Latin, i. e., crowded.

PARADISE LOST

BOOK II.

THE ARGUMENT.

The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle 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 truth of that prophecy or tradition 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 on this difficult search; Satan their chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake themselves several ways and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. on his journey to Hell gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them, by whom at length they are opened and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven. With what difficulty he passes throughı, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new World which he sought.

He passes

High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,

2. Ormus. An island in the Persian gulf, a famous diamond mart. India was just coming into notice from the trading and settlements of the East India Company.

4. This line may be taken quite literally. The books of travel of Milton's day have descriptions of this accompaniment of eastern coronations.

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