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What shall be right : farthest from him is best,
Whom reason hath equal'd, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells : Hail horrors, hail 250
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new possessor; one who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n. 255
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater ? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence :

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Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven,
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th'associates and copartners of our loss,

265 Lie thus astonish'd on th' oblivious pool, And call them not to share with us their part In this unhappy mansion, or once more With rallied arms to try what may be yet Regain'd in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?

270 So Satan spake, and him Beëlzebub Thus answer'd. Leader of those armies bright, Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foil'd, If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft 275 In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge

Of battle when it rag'd, in all assaults
Their surest signal, they will soon resume
New courage, and revive, though now they lie
Groveling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, 280
As we ere while, astounded and amaz’d,
No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious height.

He scarce had ceas'd when the superior Fiend
Was moving tow’ard the shore ; his pond'rous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, 285
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening from the top of Fesolé,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,

29 Rivers or mountains on her spotty globe. His spear, to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast Of some great ammiral, were but a wand, He walk'd with to support uneasy steps

295 Over the burning marle, not like those steps On Heaven's azure, and the torrid clime Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire : Nathless he so endur'd, till on the beach Of that inflamed sea he stood, and call'd

300 His legions, Ange! forms, who lay entranc'd Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks In Vallombrosa, where th'Etrurian shades High over-arch'd imbow'r; or scatter'd sedge Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd 305 Hath vex'd the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrow

Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases

310
And broken chariot-wheels : so thick bestrown,
Abject and logt lay these, covering the flood,
Under åmazement of their hideous change.
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded. Princes, Potentates,

315 Warriors, the flow'r of Heav'n, once yours, now lost, If such astonishment as this can seize Eternal Spi'rits; or have ye chos'n this place After the toil of battle to repose Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find

320 To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven? Or in this abject posture have ye sworn To adore the conqueror ? who now beholds Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood With scatter'd arms and ensigns, till anon

325 His swift pursuers from Heav'n gates discern Th’advantage, and descending tread us down Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf. Awake, arise, or be for ever fall’n.

330 They heard, and were abash’d, and up they sprung Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. Nor did they not perceive the evil plight

335 In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;

Yet to their general's voice they soon obey'd
Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Wav'd round the coast, up callid a pitchy cloud 340
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Fharaoh hung
Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nile:
So numberless were those bad Angels seen
Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell

345
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires;
Till, as a signal giv'n, th’ up-lifted spear
Of their great Sultan waving to direct
Their course, in even balance down they light
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain ; 350
A multitude, like which the populous North
Pour'd never from her frozen loins, to pass
Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
Came like a deluge on the South, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.

355 Forthwith from every squadron and each band The heads and leaders thither haste where stood Their great commander; Godlike shapes and forms Excelling human, princely dignities, And pow'rs that erst in Heaven sat on thrones ; Though of their names in heav'nly records now Be no memorial, blotted out and ras'd By their rebellion from the books of life. Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve Got them new names, till wand'ring o'er the earth, 365 Through God's high sufferance for the tri'al of.man,

360

By falsities and lies the greatest part
Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
God their Creator, and the invisible
Glory of him that made them to transform

370
Oft to the image of a brute, adorn'd
With gay religions full of pomp and gold,
And Devils to adore for Deities :
Then were they known to men by various names,
And various idols through the Heathen world. 375
Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last,
Rous'd from the slumber, on that fiery couch,
At their great emp’ror's call, as next in worth
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof. 380
The chief were those who from the pit of Hell
Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durst fix
Their seats long after nex the seat of God,
Their altars by his altar, Gods ador'd
Among the nations round, and durst abide 385
Jehovah thund'ring out of Sion, thron'd
Between the Cherubim; yea, often plac'd
Within his sanctuary itself their shrines,
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites and solemn feasts profan'd, 390
And with their darkness durst affront his light.
First Moloch, horrid king, besmear'd with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears,
Though for the noise of drums and timbrels loud
Their children's cries unheard, that pass'd through fire
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite

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